Watch Photojournalist Katie Orlinsky Get Her Spark Back Through Dog Sledding

National Geographic’s Short Film Showcase once again tells about a photographer finding inspiration in extreme conditions, this time with Katie Orlinsky documenting dog sledding in Alaska.

National Geographic once again inspires in another compelling photography-centric installment of its Short Film Showcase. This time, we learn about the story of photojournalist Katie Orlinsky, who was in turn inspired to tell a fascinating personal story of dog sledding in the Alaskan wilderness.

When you’re a photographer whose passions and motivations lie within documentary work, the mission lies within the power of photography to incite emotions and ideas to the viewer. For photojournalist and National Geographic photographer Katie Orlinsky, her goal has always been to capture intimate moments within extreme circumstances. To be able to capture images that have a universal quality and can make people feel something, a sensibility attuned to both the mind and heart is a must.

However, after covering conflicts and losing some personal connections, it was easy for Katie to become cynical and disillusioned while doing her work. “I was still shooting but my heart wasn’t in it. I deep down really hoped that it wasn’t forever and something would come around that got me going again.”

What did it for Katie was something unexpected, most likely even for her. She traveled to the Alaskan wilderness to document dog sledding through the life of musher Kristen Knight Pace, who was preparing for her first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The National Geographic short film by Erin Sanger in turn tells Katie’s own adventure of finding her spark again through personal and professional self-discovery.

If there’s a theme or unifying factor in Katie’s work, she says it’s about people living their lives in an extreme situation. This time, she realized it didn’t have to be about conflict or something miserable, but it was still compelling and inspiring for her nonetheless.

“I’d really like to to tell the story of one person and what it takes to run this race,” Katie explained on her choice to put the focus on Kristen. Through this story, she wanted to show people how women like Kristen are making their own marks and completing their own races at the most challenging conditions. Despite not being familiar with mushing or the Iditarod race, we can see she was able to capture the essence of Kristen’s story.

Check out this National Geographic Short Film Showcase installment to learn about the story of Joshua Holko’s nature photography in the Arctic.

Screenshot taken from the video