Cemetery • Spitsbergen



• image code: SOT05
• a solargraphy of Taubanesentralen, Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen
• exposure time 55 days
GPS location 78°12’08.5″N 15°35’31.2″E

The cemetery in Longyearbyen was almost destroyed by a landslide a few years back. There are only a few people buried here. Eleven of the deceased buried here were actually casualties from the Spanish Flue. This is something that in the light of todays Covid19 pandemic can bring some people to a worry, as the bodies never decompose because of the cold conditions, the permafrost they are buried in. When this starts to melt, the story is that this flu virus could actually come back to life. Late 1990’s scientists have performed extensive research on some of the bodies and eventually determining that the virus had come from birds.

These days nobody is buried on Spitsbergen. Families and children do live there however just as dying, being born is illegal on these islands.

If you buy a fine art print or limited edition of this image, 10% of the profit will be donated to APECS. This is an organisation which supports early career scientists in their research. Many members of APECS helped me in creating the images in the Touch base project. We all depend on future science. By donating some of my earnings I can do something back to support them.


Mark Haanstra & Oene van Geel have created a music album named after the photo series, Shapes of time. Each photo was an inspiration for a music composition. Shapes of time is also a performed with the photographs translated to animated backgrounds.

Extra info

The image will be printed onto Hahnemühle Natural Line Fine Art Paper based on hemp and using the Epson Sure Color Printing technique.


Shapes of time, album
Shapes of time, project
SEES Scientific expedition
Dutch arctic station