James Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey publications and the absent stop motion photographs

Peck, Julia (2014) James Balog’s Extreme Ice Survey publications and the absent stop motion photographs. In: Image-Movement-Story, Practice as Research Symposium,, 4th June 2014, University of Roehampton. (Submitted)

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Abstract

James Balog, director of the Extreme Ice Survey and dedicated to documenting the melting of some 200 glaciers, has successfully raised awareness of climate change. The stop motion photographs his team has produced, which have featured in the documentary film Chasing Ice (Jeff Orlowski, 2012), has demonstrated the significant reduction of ice on the surface of the earth over a relatively short period of time. Yet these photographs sit within his larger body of output that relies upon the conventional aesthetics associated with Balog’s time at National Geographic. The publication Ice: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers (2012) focuses on the visual wonders of ice formations and include a few ‘before and after’ photographs from the stop motion sequences. In contrast, his earlier book Extreme Ice Now (2009) takes a stronger campaigning approach, albeit without substantially drawing upon the full potential of the stop motion ‘before and after’ sequences. This short paper will argue that Balog seems encumbered by his visual training and context, and fails to realise the critical potential of his stop motion work. This perhaps says something about the hegemony of the publishing contexts (National Geographic and Rizzoli art publishers), the expectations of his audience and his own desire to be recognised as an artist. Using Buell’s argument (2004) that audiences have learned to look at representations of environmental apocalypse, and live with them in an uneasy and partial way, Balog’s output will be shown to be a partial and necessarily incomplete response to the effects of climate change on glaciers.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: James Balog, glaciers, stop-motion, environmentalism, climate change
Subjects: T Technology > TR Photography
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Art and Design > Photography
Research Priority Areas: Being Human - Past, Present & Future
Depositing User: Julia Peck
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2016 10:05
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2017 18:17
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3305

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