The 11-member Women’s Euro-Arabian North Pole Expedition team, composed of women from the Arab world and the West, was led by veteran polar explorer Felicity Aston. She conceived the expedition to create greater dialogue and understanding between women from Western and Arab cultures and to inspire all women to reach beyond societal expectations. Thousands of women responded to a global call for applications. Most of the team had never stepped foot in a polar environment. I’m the director of Exposure, a documentary about their endeavor. Since 2016, my team and I have shadowed theirs on training expeditions in Iceland and Oman and every grueling step of the way to the North Pole. Film productions and expeditions require years to organize and take a toll before a single frame of principal photography is shot. The photos here not pulled from the film were shot by climber and visual artist Renan Ozturk, who was with the team in the days leading up to the expedition. (He was hired by one of the expedition's sponsor's, Kaspersky Labs.) The year 2018 was one of the worst in recorded history for Arctic sea ice. After three years of hooking and crooking the budget together, we spent the weeks before the expedition scouring NASA satellite images and weighing the odds of whether we could even launch, much less make it to 90 North.
Photo: In spring 2017, the team trained in the Rub’ al-Khali Desert in Oman, where sunset offered relief from the day’s soaring temperatures. The Arabian Peninsula was nearly 130 degrees hotter than what the team would face at the North Pole.