'Trying to Stay Light' is a short film by photographer and filmmaker Philip Lee Harvey, shot in Norway. The film is a series of visually spectacular, moody maritime landscapes of the Norwegian Arctic coast. I have provided a poem which gives the film its title as an oblique commentary on the film's themes. The film has been nominated for several independent film awards including the European Cinematography Awards, the Paris Short Film Festival and the Rome Prisma Independent Cinema Awards.
The poem was written while I was writer in residence on an international paleo-climate research expedition mounted by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), aboard the research vessel the RRS James Clark Ross to the coast of western Greenland. It explores lightness and darkness - the spectral, elongated diurnal light regime of the Arctic in summer, but also the metaphorical nature of lightness. We are failing to tread lightly in the world, our footprint, actual and symbolic, in carbon, is destroying fragile environments. The poem also speaks to our present moment of unprecedented global suspension and uncertainty caused by the first global pandemic in a century.
All images © Philip Lee Harvey