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Esther Horvath

Esther Horvath is photographer for the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, contributor photographer for National Geographic and a Nikon Ambassador. Her work focuses on documenting climate research in the polar regions.

Esther is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and a member of the Explorers Club.

She won the first prize in the World Press Photo Award, Environmental Single Category 2020.

Esther received the 2020 Ranger Rick Photographer of the Year Award from the National Wildlife Federation in the USA for her work to inspire a love and understanding of wildlife and the natural world in young children.

In 2022, she received the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography in New York for her work in raising awareness of conservation, environmental justice and climate change.

Esther is a TED speaker and is actively involved in public speaking, visual science communication in form of books and international exhibitions and education.

She was born in Hungary and received her Masters in Economics from the University of Western Hungary. In 2012, following her passion for photography, she moved to New York City to attend the International Center of Photography, where she graduated in documentary and photojournalism. After living in New York City for 6 years, Esther moved to Germany in 2018, where she is based now.

Since 2015, Esther has dedicated her photography to the polar regions, documenting 22 scientific expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as behind-the-scenes science stories. She follows the work of several scientific groups working to better understand the changing polar regions.

We all know that the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is melting and that the Arctic is the fastest changing environment on our planet. But who are the scientists providing the vital information on climate change, and how do they work and live in the most remote and harsh environment on our planet? This is what really interests Esther. She wants to show the full research story behind our climate data.

By documenting the work and life of scientists who deliver important data, Esther hopes to help make a difference in how people understand what actually is occurring, and in collaboration with scientists, help raise public awareness regarding these fragile environments.

In 2019-2020, she documented the MOSAiC expedition in the Central Arctic Ocean, the largest scientific expedition ever undertaken in the Arctic Ocean. Her photo documentation of the expedition has been published by Prestel Verlag as “Expedition Arktis” (German edition) and “Into the Arctic Ice” (English edition).

Esther’s work has been featured in National Geographic, The New York Times, GEO, Stern, TIME, The Guardian and Audubon Magazine among others.


Stars of Polar Night

Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard is the northernmost community and an international scientific settlement with 10 nations, where the entire village is dedicated to climate and environmental research, with one goal in mind: to understand the changes in the Arctic and the impact of climate change on humanity. Here, for more than four months of the year, the Arctic winter is dominated by the darkness of the polar night.

The stories in ‘Stars of the Polar Night’ show the daily life and work in the polar night in this unique outpost of humanity. They tell the story of how, despite the harshest environmental conditions, including blizzards and temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius, scientists search for insights that will contribute significantly to a better understanding of how our planet is changing. It also shows daily life in the village, which can only be reached by boat or plane and where tourists are not allowed to stay.

Svalbard is the epicentre of global warming, where average winter temperatures have risen by 6°-8° Celsius since 1991, according to long-term atmospheric observations by the Alfred Wegener Institute at the French-German Research Base AWIPEV. This increase is much faster than anywhere else on the planet.

Ny-Ålesund was founded in 1917 as a mining settlement from which several historical polar explorations began. In 1963 the mining village was closed and in 1967 it was transformed into a research settlement, led today by the Kings Bay AS, a company owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment and the Norwegian Polar Institute.

The Arctic plays a key role in climate change, and Ny-Ålesund is one of the world’s most important bases for polar research.

The exhibition includes a series of portraits entitled “Women of Arctic Science”. Featuring the life, motivation and work of female role models, the portrait project aims to inspire and empower the next generation of female scientists and explorers.