James Balog on Disappearing Glaciers

James Balog on Disappearing Glaciers

“Ice is the canary in the global coal mine.” —James Balog

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2009 Jökulsárlón, Iceland. Destined to melt, an 800-pound chunk of ice glows in moonlight, from the October 2013 National Geographic story “Meltdown.”

Scientist, explorer, artist, and photographer James Balog is drawn to issues of climate change and its effects on mankind. Balog is pushed by a sense of urgency and obligation to document the changing planet. For him, there is no better way to bear witness to the climate change that is happening right now than through a photograph. The Extreme Ice Survey started as an assignment for National Geographic and grew into an ongoing project to document the changing glaciers. His work on glaciers and climate change has since become a documentary, Chasing Ice, and a book. Balog has received the Leica Medal of Excellence and premier awards for nature and science photography at World Press Photo. —Caitlin Kleibeor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

Follow James Balog on his website.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: James Balog
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editors: Kathryn Carlson, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mika Chance, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM