When editorial, commercial, and advertising photography team Ackerman + Gruber relocated to Minneapolis three years ago, they were advised by many to embrace the winter if they wanted to enjoy it.
And they listened. Tim began playing hockey and Jenn started cross-country skiing. But they really took the words to heart when they dove into the season headfirst, which resulted in their “Frozen” project. In the collection of portraits and landscapes, the whiteness of winter and snow surround every subject and fill the frame from corner to corner. To make matters more intense, they made the decision to use a 4×5 camera. Tim elaborated on the challenge to stay warm:
“Loading film into the back of a 4×5 camera when the wind is gusting across a frozen lake with temperatures easily below zero is a test in patience and perseverance.”
Although Tim and Jenn had to rely strictly on their winter gear and hand warmers while in the cold, they did have some assistance in other areas. The husband and wife team was awarded $25,000 for the McKnight Photo Fellowship which allowed them to bring their ideas to life. The fellowship included the printing of a limited-edition book of the project, which they’ve recently received. More importantly, it bought them the time to let the photos seek them, rather than them having to seek the photos.
The average temperature in Minneapolis in January is 7°F. If you’re wondering why someone would voluntarily spend so much time in such frigid conditions, Tim let us in on some creative perspective:
“We realized so much of our time in the winter is spent moving quickly from one warm environment to the next (ie: your car to the office, etc) and this project also became an excuse for us to really slow down and actually enjoy the beautiful snow-covered landscape we were surrounded by.”
And if that still doesn’t convince you, let the photographs speak for themselves. Their cold hands and chattering teeth were temporary, while this alluring body of work will live on for all warm days to come.