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Sven Glacier / Spitsbergen / Norway / 06.09.2019

Over the last 10 years, the Sven glacier has shrunk by three meters. It’s becoming thinner and fading away. It’s melting. As with most glaciers on earth. Not all. There are those whose masses are increasing. For growth, there must be more snowfall in winter than meltwater in summer. Sven is fading away. Too little snow and rising temperatures are killing Sven. Located between the mountains in a quiet place with a beautiful view from its ridge, it doesn’t give the impression of suffering. It’s beautiful. And yet it is dying. Everything is beautiful on Spitsbergen. Although we can only see a tiny bit of land, sea. We went under the ice cap, deep down. We saw Sven from the inside, he’s made of sapphire ice. In places, black from the earth, cloaked in stones and rock. It melts and water flows out of its interior. Water like blood. Cloudy, full of minerals, cold gushes out of the glacier through veined channels hollowed out in the ground. Life-giving water, thanks to which, somewhere else, in other climes, flowers bloom, palm trees grow and the grass grows green. Spitsbergen once had a subtropical climate. Maybe it remembers. Maybe it works like cellular memory.

Flores Island / Indonesia / 02.2006

We’ve been travelling for 24 hours. First by ferry. Then by bus. We’re on the way to see three colourful lakes in the crater of Kelimutu volcano. It’s raining. We had to leave around three in the early morning to make it before sunrise. We’re blanketed in a dark, dense fog. We took a narrow path to the very top of the observation point. It’s dark all around us, but daybreak is on the way. Perhaps sunrise has begun. Yes. It has brightened up sufficiently to see. In truth, you can’t see anything. There’s a thick fog. All you see is fog. We are waiting. The wind is our hope. The wind that would dispel the fog so we could see three lakes. Green, black and blue. We are waiting. Hope is said to perish last. We’ll wait a little while longer; for sure the fog will soon be gone. We’re staring at the point where the lakes are said to be. Something is brightening. You can see something. Something like a flicker of green. And then that thick milkiness again. I think we saw it. Fortunately, I’ve taken photos. I’ll blow them up and see what I saw. We are still waiting. The end. We’re on the way back. The fog won’t pass quickly. Going back, I wonder if I’d seen those lakes or not. Are they there or not? Disappearing lakes. They reveal themselves only to the chosen. Well, unless they’re not there at all. We stop on a hilltop where there’s a beautiful vista of the island. The sun is behind the clouds. It’s now midday and far from the lakes. And yet it was worth it. The journey has compensated for the disappearing lakes. It was the process that proved more important, not the goal.
Glaciologist Jakub Małecki, the unaware perpetrator of Excess Luggage, holding the photo on a glacier he has been studying for 10 years.
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Each photograph used during the journey stops being luggage, changes its destiny, takes on a new life. It creates a unique travel sack with a story in the background. Always just one. One shot, one sack. Luggage (no excess)

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