Chasing Ice

Chasing Ice

Director: Jeff Orlowski


National Geographic photographer James Balog was a climate change skeptic before he saw for himself the immense recession of glaciers he had photographed on separate occasions. This moment of realisation led Balog to set up the extensive “extreme ice survey” (EIS) project, placing high quality time-lapse cameras near 22 different glaciers in remote locations to capture their extraordinary decline over several years. The EIS depicts glaciers receding hundreds of metres in short spaces of time. We witness a section of the Greenland ice sheet the size of Manhattan completely cave in on itself – this is nature self-destructing like you have never seen before.

But of course, it’s not nature itself that is creating the conditions for this destruction. It is humankind. When Balog comes to terms with the fact that we are all responsible for the melting Arctic, his mission becomes letting the world know. We are taken on an exciting and perilous journey as he and his team scale ice-faces and cliffs in Iceland, Greenland, and Alaska in order to find the perfect spot for the delicate, laboriously installed camera equipment.

The camerawork in this movie is like nothing I have ever seen before. It captures the scale and beauty of the Arctic in a very intimate way. We are privy to a viewing of glaciers in remote areas that will never look the same again, and the disintegration of ice that has been in place for millennia.The raw photographic evidence that Balog presents makes climate change as real as it can get before it comes tapping at our own front door.

Screening at Rialto Cinemas on Tuesday August 14 at 6.15pm at 8pm, and Wednesday August 15 at 2pm.
This article first appeared in Issue 19, 2012.
Posted 4:49pm Sunday 5th August 2012 by Sarah Baillie .