Purity (Norway, 2022)
Raw Ingredients (Sweden, 2022)
Ephemeral Dragon (Iceland, 2021)
To Catch a Sunbeam (Argentina, 2023)
Equatorial Ice (Ecuador, 2022)
Accelerating Breakdown (Iceland, 2021)
Brittle Flow (Argentina, 2023)
Transition to Icefall (Ecuador, 2022)
Scandinavian Noir (Sweden, 2022)
Portal to Another World (Norway, 2022)
A Cauldron of Aquamarine (Norway, 2022)
The Weathermaker (Norway, 2022)
I, like many people, have always found glaciers to be icons of all that is wild and beautiful about our planet. When I think of a glacier in the abstract, I envision a far-away mountain, standing bright at the very rim of the world, unapproachable and unsullied by the messiness of humanity, a wondrous place of myriad shapes and patterns and every possible permutation of blue. Sadly, the rapid, accelerating, and near ubiquitous melting of the world’s mountain glaciers shows just how much a fiction it is to think of glaciers as a place apart. Today I, like many people, equally see glaciers as icons of catastrophe as we march, seemingly helpless, toward the abyss of human-induced climate change. When I venture towards a glacier with my camera, I wish my work could simply be a celebration of their incomparable beauty. Unfortunately, given the plausibility that each of the places photographed here could be ice-free in just a few more generations, it is increasingly a lament for what we stand to lose in our steadily warming world.
I am a college professor who researches glacier change. While the project description above hints at the deep emotional pain that can accompany this work in a time of rapid climate change, it is the beauty of these places that keep me motivated to read one more paper, climb one more step, pursue one more analysis, and write one more word. While some of these images are from places that I have been fortunate to visit for my own enjoyment, several are from places where I conduct my work. What do I like about this project? That it gives me a chance to exercise the creative part of my brain while still pursuing the analytical questions that drive my work. What do I feel could be improved? I don’t think I have yet found a way to truly express the emotional impact of these places in a single photograph.
My objective for this project is to spark a strong emotional response on the part of the viewer, one that mixes a sense of awe about the beauty of glaciers with a sense of foreboding about how close we are to destroying these places. From an artistic standpoint, I hope to convey something more than just, “wow, what a cool picture”. I want to convey what it is like to be there, to peer into a crevasse, to step across a frozen meltwater puddle, to gaze across the ice as the sun first clears the surrounding mountain ridge. More than anything else, I hope this project represents a unique vision rather than just faithful reproductions of others’ photographic styles. That’s the hard part, of course, and the part I’m least certain about.
I will submit this project to the 2023 NLPAs, the first time I have ever entered a photography contest. There are two more images in this collection than are permitted by the contest rules, so first and foremost, I’d appreciate hearing your opinion in which images to cut. Second, I’d appreciate feedback on the ordering of the images. I’ve tried to group these in pairs sharing some common aesthetic theme. Would you suggest ordering these any differently to achieve a stronger unified theme?
Additional Details: NLPAs.