Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The California Academy of Sciences Presents Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
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Polar Bear, Bernard Harbor. Image © Subhankar banerjee.
Polar Bear, Bernard Harbor
Photograph © Subhankar Banerjee

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About the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge Exhibit

In the far northeastern corner of Alaska, a pristine wilderness known as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge pulses with life, even in the depths of a white subzero winter. Until recently, most images of this vibrant ecosystem were captured only during the brief summer seasons when weather conditions permitted more comfortable photography - leaving many to imagine the area as largely frozen, barren and lifeless during the rest of the year. However, physicist-turned-photographer Subhankar Banerjee has now shattered any such assumptions by recording four seasons of abundant life in the refuge with a series of stunning photographs. In early 2000, Banerjee left his job at Boeing, raided his savings, and began a two year photographic journey of the region, enduring blizzards, bitter cold, and a trek that totaled 4,000 miles to capture polar bears, musk oxen, the rare buff-breasted sandpiper, and dozens of other species that thrive in the refuge throughout the year.

A spectacular tour of endangered wildlife, tremendous terrain, otherworldly skyscapes, and isolated Inuit villages, Academy officials worked with Banerjee to develop this exhibit, titled Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land, to make these images more widely available to the public. Banerjee wrote captions to accompany the exhibit's forty-nine large format photographs, based on material from his book of the same title.