Horses competing in El Raid race in Jose Pedro Varela, Uruguay face 60 miles of paved road, a perilous journey for even the most resilient of animals. Running at an average speed on twenty miles per hour, the horses are followed by a rush of trucks, from which their handlers, known collectively as a “stud,” douse their steaming bodies with hose water. Dehydration, exhaustion, and overheating are very real dangers, and the animals are checked by veterinarians during a single hour’s rest period. Despite these precautions, horses are lost to the race; in the 2012 season, five Raid horses died.
For his breathtaking series Penguinscapes, photographer Gaston Lacombe traces a colony of 250,000 penguins along the Esperanza research base in the Antarctic Peninsula’s Hope Bay. In summer, the penguins come ashore to hatch and care for their nestlings, often venturing onto the base itself. In his arresting aerial landscapes, Lacombe offers us a glimpse into the shockingly verdant terrain of Antarctica, an extraterrestrial wilderness whose appearance metamorphoses daily depending upon the activities of its native penguins. As this ethereal watercolor expanse becomes saturated with soft pinks and greens, we are reminded of the profound delicacy of these creatures who depend upon the landscape for generations to come. We spoke to Lacombe about his visit to the Esperanza base, his passion for wildlife, and the future of the penguins.