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melissa schäfer fredrik granath fredgranath motherbear arctic polar bear tales


We are photographer Melissa Schäfer and producer Fredrik Granath. Partners in life, work and all. We are based in Stockholm, Longyearbyen and the world.


We do this work because we feel it is important. But also because we love it. We love life in the field, the long spells wintertime on the pack ice and around the frozen fjords. It is a work which is as much life as it is work. Our goal is to capture the truth, and perhaps some of the essence of Arctic life. We want to get under the skin, get close to our subjects. Because when we're able to do that, what is behind and between the photographs becomes more important than the photos themselves. And a story is created, where all the images connect, and add up to something bigger than the individual shots. 

Photo by Madita Kahlert_edited.jpg



From her early childhood days in Hamburg, Germany, Melissa has viewed the world through her camera lens. With a background in creative and portrait photography she has always had a unique eye for the surroundings. A deep love for the Arctic and polar bears as well as a strong commitment to nature and the environment is a foundation for all her work. In 2020 Melissa and Fredrik published their book “Polar Tales” worldwide in English. It has also been published in German as “Das Königreich der Eisbären” and Swedish as “Bortom isbjörnens rike”. Melissa is the founder and editor in chief of “Mother” magazine, and has been published by The New York Times, National Geographic, GEO as well as many others.

fredrik granath fredgranath fred arctic polar bear motherbear producer



Producer Fredrik Granath works together with his partner, photographer Melissa Schäfer, and their Motherbear Productions, documenting the nature and wildlife of the Arctic. The focus is on the life of the polar bear and its role in a changing climate. Fredrik is a leading expert on field work and production in the polar regions. He has assembled a unique expertise of working under the most extreme conditions and is specialised in polar bears. Since 2001 Fredrik has been working around the Arctic on his own projects, and also as a producer for other film- and photographic projects, including work for film studios and the National Geographic. He has been published in the New York Times, GEO, Vanity Fair and many others, and co-authored the book “Polar Tales” with Melissa Schäfer. Together, with their Motherbear Productions, they also organise expeditions in the Arctic.

nanuk pingo melissa fred fredrik dogs


Our little girl Nanuk was born in May 2016 and she's been our boss since then. We adopted Pingo from Svalbard in 2021, when he retired from a long and successful career as sled dog at Basecamp Spitsbergen.


There are many things we can do as individuals for our environment and future. One is to join others and let our voices be heard together. Parts of our profits are donated to great organizations like these.

sealegacy arctic motherbear nicklen
greenpeace arctic motherbear
panda world wildlife fund nature

We at The Motherbear work for a better future on this planet. Working with photography around the world, we do leave footprints. Traveling far and often we can’t avoid emitting some extra greenhouse gases. We calculate all unavoidable carbon emissions created during our work, and we carbon offset (climate compensate) as much as we possibly can. Our goal is to over-compensate, to give more than we take to our planet. This is mostly done through ATMOSFAIR.

Atmosfair Climate compensation
Gold Standard Global Goals
United Nations Framework Climate Change




  • Instagram - Black Circle


  • Instagram - Black Circle


carl zeiss arctic polar bear
sony alpha arctic polar bear
Sony Alpha A1 ambassador
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