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To reach new horizons in research and photography you have to go the proverbial extra mile.

Bringing light into darkness

The story behind the employer brand photo

The northern lights gleam mystically against the night sky, while a lone tent glows, surrounded by nothing but snow and ice, no more than a tiny point in the middle of nowhere. The image is one of the motifs of our Employer Brand. It stands for the promise “Passion to innovate | Power to change” – as well as for the motivation and will to strike out into unexplored territory.

For 19 years Kevin Smith has been living in the city of Anchorage in Alaska and is a self-described “northern lights junkie.” When the weather forecast is right and neither his wife nor his daughter have any objections, the 54-year-old tosses his camera bag onto the back seat of his van and rumbles along the snow-covered roads, heading for secluded parts: the colorful veils of the northern lights glow with particular intensity when there is no light from towns to brighten the otherwise pitch black sky.

 

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Anchorage, Alaska

Our Employer Brand Photo came about in one of these secluded parts. “It was a winter’s day, late in the evening, with no wind, close to the Isabel Pass in Alaska’s west, and it was 35 below,” Smith recalls. Just after he had pitched his tent, the sky around him began to explode in shimmering colors. “It was simply awesome,” he raves. “I lay on my back in the snow and couldn’t take my eyes off it.”

the light of an aurora can extend
up to 640 kilometres
from earth

Info

  • What you need to know about northern lights

    The aurora borealis, known commonly as northern lights, is a colourful display of light in the sky. It was named after the roman goddess of dawn Aurora. It is predominantly seen in the far northern regions. Aurorae are caused by cosmic rays or solar winds interacting with the upper atmosphere. The charged particles from those events enter the earth’s atmosphere and cause the pretty lights in colours of greens, pinks, yellows, blues, and reds. You can mostly see them at night and between September and the middle of April, because the nights are darker and the lights more visible therefore.

At first glance, the picture seems not to fit with us at all – but only at first glance. Because we, as an innovative company, aim to improve living conditions around the world through our research. And, very often, the work of our researchers is like the expeditions of the pioneers, forging a path into previously uncharted regions.

“The image calls up not only the human longing for freedom, nature and the passion of discovery,” says Christine Knebel from Corporate Branding who leads the "Employer Brand" project together with Farsana Jakubi, responsible for Global Talent Acquisition. It also represents the willingness of every individual to go a step further, to go the proverbial extra mile and discover new horizons.

The picture comprises two components: silent, untouched nature, and the human, striking out into this unexplored wilderness with the aid of innovative technologies – for me, that is what research is really all about.

Photographer Kevin Smith has a further argument for the picture and its connection to us: “On top of that, the northern lights are a perfect example of how fascinating chemical reactions can be.”

He is proud that Bayer chose his picture for its Employer Branding initiative. “It illustrates the company’s philosophy, and I think it’s great that they chose a nature shot,” he says.

  • Polar lights are a phenomenon known to all northern regions. Our Norwegian colleagues see them regularly.

“We can identify perfectly with this picture because we know the northern lights in our region, too,” adds Johanna Saarinen, head of Talent Management Nordic Region. “And of course, it is easy to link the creation of the image to our work at Bayer: When it comes to the development of new products, research demands persistence and courage. The same is true in our production facilities, when existing technologies advance or new ones are introduced. Or in other areas, too, where a small adjustment made to a process can sometimes have a huge impact,” says Saarinen. But one first has to have the nerve to take that step, to go that extra mile and be rewarded like “northern lights junkie” Smith.

Johanna Saarinen

Of course, it is easy to link the creation of the image to our work at Bayer: When it comes to the development of new products, research demands persistence and courage. The same is true in our production facilities, when existing technologies advance or new ones are introduced.

Join us, if you share our passion and commitment to change our world for the better. Because we invent solutions that will create a sustainable future for our planet.

Photo check

  • Name:
    Northern Lights Glow In The Sky Above A Backpacking Tent At Twilight Alaska
    Range In The Distance Winter Isabel Pass Richardson Highway
  • Photographer:
    Kevin Smith
  • Location:
    Alaska, USA

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Sep 2, 2016   Copyright © Bayer AG
URL: https://career.bayer.us/opencms/opencms/en/whybayer/values-stories/bringing-light-into-darkness/