Meet 15 People Who Brave Freezing Temperatures To Live On The Arctic Circle

Life On The Line PhotosCristian BarnettHans Bengtson, better known as ‘Vild Hasse,’ lives in Jokkmokk, Sweden, near the Arctic Circle.

Since we’re in the midst of a hot summer here in the States, it’s easy to forget that there’s anything but sweaty, scorching weather elsewhere on earth.

Just take a step inside the Arctic Circle, though, and you’ll quickly find that’s just not true.

The Arctic Circle, one of the main lines of latitude on any globe, demarcates where the Arctic begins and ends. North of here, the sun can stay up for 24 hours during the summer and hide below the horizon during the winter, plunging inhabitants into darkness.

And it’s cold. Average temperatures in the summer hover around 50 °F and in the winter, they have been documented as low as 136°F.

While the Arctic is not very populated, people do live there. Photographer Cristian Barnett wondered who these people were, so he decided to document and photograph them. He was particularly intrigued by those who lived on or near the invisible, dotted line of the Arctic Circle. Starting in 2006, Barnett made 11 trips to 23 towns, all within 35 miles of the Arctic Circle. His series, titled Life On The Line, will be released as a book later this year.

“The Arctic Circle is much more than just hunters and polar bears,” says Barnett. “There are many thriving modern settlements where you’re more likely to meet a hairdresser than a reindeer herder.”

Barnett told about 15 of the people he photographed. You can see more of his beautiful work on his site.

Benjamin, Enoch, and William, are excited about their new wheels, which means freedom and independence, especially in Fort Yukon, Alaska. The town was officially founded by the Hudson's Bay Company, famous for their wool blankets, though the area had been inhabited by indigenous people for thousands of years prior.

Standing outside her father's multi-story log cabin in Fort Yukon, Alaska, Chasity Herbert is proud to appear in her newly won Miss Fort Yukon sash.

Maria Manninen is a fashion student in Rovaniemi, a large city in Finland only six miles south of the Arctic Circle. Even though it's outside the borders of the Circle, it still gets pretty cold. The lowest temperature every recorded here was −54 °F.

Anatoly Gushkin, a student from Zhigansk, Russia, is seen here 'tricking', a form of acrobatic martial arts. Zhigansk is reportedly the first settlement within the Arctic Circle, founded in 1632.

With his ship frozen in the Lena River in Zhigansk, sailor Vladimir Egorevich Kuchev uses the opportunity to apply a fresh coat of paint. Fishing, hunting, and cattle breeding are the main occupations in Zhigansk.

Maria Ivanova, seen here in traditional Yakut dress, is holding a rifle used for practice shooting in the forest after a family picnic in Zhigansk. There are over 500,000 Yakut people in the world today, with a vast majority of them living in Northern and Eastern Russia.

Daniel Szwarc is a Polish missionary priest at the Roman Catholic Mission in Repulse Bay, Canada. Here, he is seen standing at an alter made from an Inuit sledge.

Matti Härkönen builds a fresh ice house in his garden in Sonka, Finland, each year. Due to his bad back, this year's was smaller than usual.

Hans Bengtson, known to everyone in town as 'Vild Hasse' (Wild Horse), is a self-proclaimed 'master of glibness and a sausage poet.' He sells a wide range of culinary delights from the mountains at the winter market in Jokkmokk, Sweden. The market has been happening without fail every year in Jokkmokk for over 400 years.

Karl-Erik Vesterberg, a trapper who takes pride in his work, is seen here at the Jokkmokk winter festival in Jokkmokk, Sweden. Temperatures can dip below -40 degrees Fahrenheit during the festival, so Vesterberg's pelts will certainly come in handy.

Roger Møen is seen here enjoying a happy moment with his cattle in Træna, Norway. His cows are one of the most northernly-located herd of Hereford cattle in the world. Træna is a remote and beautiful island in the Arctic Circle, 33 miles off the coast of Norway.

Handyman Ivar Sigthorsson tries out a new face mask to protect against the bitter winter cold while hanging Christmas lights in the northern Icelandic town of Raufarhöfn. Since it is the most northern town in the country, Raufarhöfn has the longest summer days and shortest winter days in all of Iceland.

Pavia Ludvigsen, seen here, is certainly an interesting figure walking around Sisimiut, Greenland in his full length leather coat and cat ear headphones. Sisimiut is 47 miles north of the Arctic Circle and has a population of only 5,598 people, which still makes it the second most-populous town in Greenland.

Sisters Dorthe and Ellen are seen here celebrating their niece's first day at school in Sisimiut, Greenland. Glass beads first arrived in Greenland in the nineteenth century as trade items, and they have been used in decorative clothing ever since.

Children all over the world love to build play houses and Olga, from the Yamal Peninsula, Russia, is no exception. Here, she has made a miniature 'Chum,' a traditional tent used by nomadic Nenets people. Traditional ways of life on the Peninsula are being threatened by the exploitation of the world's largest natural gas reserves, which exist below the ground there.

Want to see more beautiful photos of interesting people? Check these out.

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