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Thorsten Milse takes ‘Polar World’ to Russia and Germany

Thorsten Milse takes ‘Polar World’ to Russia and Germany

© Thorsten Milse

March 2013

Canon Ambassador Thorsten Milse is bringing a slice of the Arctic and Antarctic to Russia and Germany – thanks to exhibitions of his long-term ‘Polar World’ project that have been produced in conjunction with Canon and GEO Magazine.

© Thorsten Milse

Thorsten Milse's 'Polar World' exhibition on show in the GUM shopping mall, Moscow, Russia.

Speaking to CPN, Thorsten Milse hopes that his stunning images of penguins, ice floes and polar bears – on display in Moscow’s GUM shopping mall near Red Square until 25 March 2013 and set to be exhibited at the Oder Centre in Schwedt, Germany, from 8-20 April 2013 – will touch the hearts of shoppers and remind them of the need to curb global warming.

Thorsten Milse explained to CPN: “For me, the message for these pictures is clear: it’s about conservation. I hope that my images will tell people that the world is a fragile place. If the ice goes, then animals like polar bears and penguins will struggle to survive. It’s as simple as that. In maybe 10 or 20 years, who knows, this world might not exist anymore – and that’s really scary.”

© Thorsten Milse

Emperor penguins gather. Taken on a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II with an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens at 120mm; the exposure was 1/200sec at f/16, ISO 100.

He added: “We all blame global warming for the melting ice, but in fact there is much more to it than that. Not only is the earth temperature rising, but man continues to look for oil and these fragile places are where he goes. I want my pictures to remind the world that these beautiful animals are our responsibility to protect and encourage.”

Thorsten Milse’s ‘Polar World’ exhibition is being organised by GEO Magazine in association with Canon, who printed the 130x90cm photographs on Canon’s range of large format printers, using Canon paper and inks. Milse, a long-term Canon user, started his ‘Polar World’ project back in 2004 with an EOS 10D and over the next six years returned to the area regularly with EOS-1Ds and later EOS-1Ds Mark III DSLRs. His coffee table book ‘Polar World’, featuring nearly 300 photographs from the six-year project, was published in late 2011.

“The ‘Polar World’ project was really successful for me,” he recalled. “I’d like to go back again now with my EOS-1D X and EOS 5D Mark III [DSLRs] and take some new photographs. With the large format prints, I was still really impressed at how good the quality of the photographs was.”

© Thorsten Milse

Polar bear with cubs, Canada. Taken on a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II with an EF600mm f/4L IS USM lens with an EF1.4x Extender (effective focal length 840mm); the exposure was 1/250sec at f/8, ISO 200.

Reaction from Russian shoppers in Moscow’s GUM mall has been very positive, Thorsten Milse explained: “I made several journeys for the ‘Polar World’ project on a Russian icebreaker ship and that has really interested the local people in Moscow. Two Russian TV stations and several newspapers were interested in the photos and the story behind the project.”

Thorsten Milse continues to work in the Polar regions, most recently with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on a study of Greenland’s coastline last year and retains a real affection for the landscape. “There is something really special about the place,” he reflected. “I just hope that we can keep the awareness and the strong message that we all have a part to play in its survival. These exhibitions are a really good way of doing that.”

Biografia: Thorsten Milse

Thorsten Milse

Born in 1965 in Bielefeld, Germany, nature photographer and Canon Ambassador Thorsten Milse trained as a graphics designer, but then decided to pursue a full-time photographic career. Thorsten specialises in landscape and wildlife photography with a strong focus on conservation and endangered species.


Adelie penguins are among the most southerly distributed of all seabirds. Taken on a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III with an EF300mm f/2.8L IS USM lens with an EF1.4x Extender (effective focal length 420mm); the exposure was 1/800sec at f/8, ISO 200.