Aaron Huey is a photographer whose evocative and richly textured work has graced Mountainfilm’s gallery walls more than once. This short piece profiles his work at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home to some 300 Lakota Sioux Indians. It’s a dark world of poverty and violence but one in which Aaron has allowed himself to be deeply drawn. Why? So that he can give voice to a people’s unspoken pain and suffering and the injustice that caused it and sustains it.
Expedition to the End of the Worldis both a literal and figurative journey for a group of adventurers identified mysteriously as “A Captain,” “An Artist” and “A Marine Biologist.” Along with several others, they sail a three-masted ship — much like pirates — deep into a fjord in Greenland. The water channel, iced over for millenia, is open to exploration only now because of the warming planet and melting glaciers. The film features stunning cinematography that captures a totally remote world untouched by modern human hands and tells an epic story of brave sailors who encounter polar bear nightmares, Stone Age playgrounds and entirely new species. The suggestion of piracy is not lost on the crewmembers, one of whom, when encountering the possibility of being attacked by a polar bear, says, “We are petty bourgeois anarchists; we don’t follow orders. Give me the gun.” Expedition teeters between the nihilistic view to pursue fun because we’re facing imminent doom and the optimistic perspective that if we recognize the situation, we should do something about it.