The Last Arctic People (1990-2018)
Far above the Arctic Circle on the Taymyr Peninsula in north central Siberia live the Dolgan people. Only 250 of these nomadic herdsmen remain in this isolated area where snow covers the ground ten months of every year and the harsh winter temperatures can drop below -76°F.
French photographer Francis Latreille spent several seasons with the last of these Asiatic nomads sharing the seasonal moves of their immense herds of reindeers. He also endured the terrible isolation of the lonf Polar nights and the struggles of their day-to-day existence. « Initially, I thought human beings could not subsist in such temperatures, live for three months in complete darkness with no electricity, with only a small woodstove to cook and heat their dwellings. It would be so simple to choose a more comfortable way of life, to forget customs, and to move to town as so many others have done. I was intrigued. What human feelings can survive when you spend all your time and energy on survival? »
Remarkably, what he discovered was an astonishingly happy and serene community and tells his photographs tell their story.
Latreille set up his studio near the Arctic Ocean in the village of Novorybnoyé. As a backdrop, a simple canvas brought from France was hung from the balcony of the house or put up on ice blocks.
France , 1948 -
French photographer and painter Francis Latreillle was born on January 8, 1948 along the banks of the Loire River in the village of Poilly les Gien. At the young age of 19, he made the decision to leave the peaceful Loire Valley. He had a cause – the Six-Days War in Israel – which he wanted to cover. This decision would change the course of his life. He went on to participate in the creation of Best magazine and was on staff for several years at the French daily France-Soir. Another turning point came in 1995 when he accompanied activist/explorer Jean Louis Etienne’s expeditions to the North Pole, Antarctica, Patagonia, Spitzberg, Greenland and Siberia. He has become passionate about those regions most threatened by global warming. In 1997 he was awarded a Award. Since 1998 he has been participating in the Mammuthus Siberian expedition retrieving and preserving a 20,000 year-old mammoth found frozen in the tundra by "mammoth hunter" Bernard Buigues. He was also a member of the Tara expedition in the Arctic. Francis Latreille publishes his reports and photographs in National Geographic, Life, Time, Newsweek, Geo, Paris Match, and Figaro Magazine.
World Press Photo 1997
Scoop International Festival, Angers, France, 2000
Chevalier de l'Ordre du Mérite, France, 2006
2000 Mammouth, Editions Robert Laffont
2002 Mission Banquise. Editions du Seuil / 7° Continent
2003 Dolgans les derniers nomades des glaces. Editions Hors collections
2005 Tara, un voilier pour la planète. Editions Guérin
2006 Paradis blanc. La Martinière
2006 Die Arktis. Knesebeck
2006 Le Grand Nord raconté aux enfants. La Martinière jeunesse
2006 Wonders of the North Pole. Abrams
2006 White Paradise. Abrams
2007 The Arctic. Abrams
2008 Le pole Sud raconté aux enfants. La Martinière jeunesse
2008 Tara, 500 jours au gré de la dérive arctique. Gallimard
2010 L’Hermione une frégate pour la liberté. Gallimard
2011A le découverte des pôles. La Martinière jeunesse
2012 Les Pôles. La Martiniere
2013 Expédition Mammuthus. La Martinière
Tara, Maison Agnès B, Paris, 2013-2014
Festival de la Photo animalière de Montier, 2014
La Gacillly, 2011
Etonnants voyageurs, Saint-Malo, 2009
Espace Photographique Arthur Batut, 2007
Palais de la Découverte, Paris, 2000
The Conquest of the Poles: 150 years of Photography in the Arctic and Antarctic. Hôtel de Sully, Paris, 1997