Evgenia Arbugaeva’s portrait of Greta Thunberg for Time’s Person of the Year is a celebration of courage

Evgenia Arbugaeva’s portrait of Greta Thunberg for Time’s Person of the Year is a celebration of courage

13 December 2019

After galvanising millions across the globe to demand action on the climate crisis, it comes as no surprise that Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has been named Time’s Person of the Year. Shooting the iconic cover portrait however, was none other than Russian photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva.

Arbugaeva met Thunberg in Lisbon during a rare break in the eco-warrior’s schedule, before the activist left for Madrid to join protests outside the UN climate conference.

“When Time asked me to photograph Greta, I was thinking how can I make a portrait that combines gentleness and at the same time courage. How do I capture the intense, focused gaze inwards as well as outwards, which I feel is characteristic of Greta,” Arbugaeva told the magazine.

The cover recalls Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Rineke Dijkstra’s timeless beach portraits. Perhaps above all, Arbugaeva’s interest in capturing our fragile environment made her the best photographer for the shoot.

Growing up in the Russian Arctic, Arbugaeva has previously explored the relationship between mankind and nature by making her remote hometown the subject of her work. Tiksi is a moving series for which Arbugaeva reimagined her home — which she left 19 years prior — through the eyes of a teenage girl. See more images from the photo story here.

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