Chasing Ice and the Power of Landscape Photography

Tonight, I went to see Chasing Ice, a documentary created about James Belog’s landscape photography and video on global warming and the impact it’s having on our glaciers and planet. Actually, I should say that we are having on our glaciers. I would probably say it is in my top 5 all time favorites when it comes to the documentary genre. It was striking. Unlike movies, unfortunately, I haven’t done as good of a job generating my favorite documentaries list, but here are a few that come to mind:

Race Across America (RAAM) : A film about one of the longest solo bicycle races on our planet

Waiting for Superman : This reviews the charter school movement, and more specifically the inequity of our educational system and the impact of unions

Gasland : A film by Josh Fox that reviews Fracking and its environmental impacts

One of the things that documentaries do so well is that they tend to use landscape photography to aid in the visual storytelling of their theme. It isn’t that fictional movies don’t do that, but they are, of course, much more focused on the character development when it comes to theme development. James’ pictures can make us think and when you add video to that talent, it is breathtaking.

Rainbow Glacier, Haines, AK
Rainbow Glacier, Haines, AK

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been into landscape photography; I love guys like Ansel Adams, Steve McCurry, and recently, this local photographer name Bill Zollinger.When I take pictures, much of them are on the landscape. Travelers that share their scenic photography while telling stories of their adventures do a better job, to me, in getting to what they gained. My house is decorated with landscape photography. By keeping nature close to me visually, and locking in my examinations that I have with it, I feel like I contemplate it more, which I think is important.

Tonight’s movie made a comparison of James Belog’s work with that of Ansel Adams because of their similar missions of using photography to educate and remind us of our fragile connection with nature. James has the added bonus of advanced technology in his favor, but I really didn’t know about his work until the buzz from this film started happening. I look forward to reviewing more of it.

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, AK
Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, AK

I don’t know if tonight’s movie will make me stop taking planes; clearly, with regards to my lifestyle, that is the most damaging thing that I do to Mother Earth. I don’t know if I’ll start becoming more of an environmental activist either, but I do know that his work struck me this evening and it made me think about what and how I am giving back. It is important that we all, in some way, give back to our planet and to the human condition.

I encourage you to check the film out! While you’re at it, make sure to thank Mother Earth for enduring our severe brutality.

Mendenhall Ice
Mendenhall Ice

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