Ice Visions: Photographs by Erik Hoffner

Ice Visions | Photographs

By Erik Hoffner

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Introduction by Erik Hoffner

Our world is wild by nature, destroying and creating anew in a process that may seem random but in practice is measured, methodical, and impressive. My inspiration stems from seeking out these wilds to understand and express their untamed nature, savage indifference, and orderly beauty.

Ice Vision photograph by Erik HoffnerMy “Ice Visions” series documents ephemeral formations created by ice fishermen in partnership with elemental forces. The holes that fishermen cut in a lake refreeze overnight, creating fertile ground for nature’s wild artistic side. These perfectly augered circles become worlds at once interstellar and cellular: in the morning light, with tiny bubbles from below fixed almost magically in place among new inches of ice, these scenes come to life as eyes, galaxies, stars, or mitochondria when rendered in fine detail in black and white.

For the past 20 years during clear winter weather, I’ve grabbed my skates and cameras and hit the ice before an approaching storm front can hide under layers of fresh snow what nature has created overnight.

ARTerrain Gallery by Erik Hoffner
Ice Visions | Photographs

All images in this gallery were created on Upper Highland Lake in Goshen, Massachusetts, on January 15, 2018. Images may not be copied or otherwise used without express written consent of the artist. Click image to view in larger size.


About the Artist

Erik HoffnerErik Hoffner is a freelance photojournalist and fine art photographer whose work has appeared in publications ranging from The Guardian to The Washington Post to The Sun. His photography has been exhibited at galleries throughout New England and as far away as the New Mexico State Capitol. As an editor for Mongabay, he works to keep 36 million global readers informed of the latest developments in conservation news and science. Previously, he was a columnist, photographer, and podcast host for Orion. An exhibiting member at the Vermont Center for Photography and a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Erik lives in Western Massachusetts.

Find more of Erik’s work at, or on Instagram and Twitter via @erikhoffner.

View “Ghost Nests,” photographs by Erik Hoffner also appearing in, as well as his Recommended Reads.

“Ice Visions”will be on exhibit at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center in Brattleboro, Vermont, from October 23, 2020 through March 6, 2021, in conjunction with the Vermont Folklife Center.

All images by Erik Hoffner. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, art, commentary, and design since 1998.