To explore the Arctic alongside Acacia, follow @acacia.johnson on Instagram.
Muddy-breasted penguins, blubbery crabeater seals and jumbles of whale bones are everywhere, but in the still, icy world of Acacia Johnson (@acacia.johnson), spotting a person is a game of Where’s Waldo. Mostly there are just clues, like the footprints in slush, a lone flag, a tiny boat. “It’s very far removed from civilization. It’s just completely pristine. Nobody owns it,” Acacia says from a boat in the middle of Antarctica, where she is spending three months as an expedition guide. “Polar regions are a place where I feel most alive. The first time I came here, I was so profoundly moved that I knew it was going to be my life for some period of time.” The 25-year-old photographer spends roughly half of the year on the water, leading passengers on wildlife tours and lecturing on basic photography. “It’s a much more vibrant place than people might envision,” she says. “Every day feels like waking up on almost a different planet. It can’t possibly be part of this earth. It’s too good to be true.”