Chasing Ice is a beautiful, remarkable and deeply disturbing film (produced and directed by Jeff Orlowski) of photographer James Balog’s journey from the appreciation of ice as a subject for photographic study to the rapid loss of ice in the Arctic and his setting up the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS). James and his EIS set up cameras at strategic locations in the Arctic and other locations in the Northern Hemisphere which take hourly photographs during daylight to record the retreat of glaciers and the loss of significant amounts of ice. As the Chasing Ice website notes:
“Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.”
The film provides stark evidence of the rapid loss of ice in the Arctic and what this means for world climate: while the photography is beautiful it also provides in the most graphic way a disturbing record of the need for radical change in slowing climate change on a global basis. It does not provide any comfort for the complacent and leaves no room for serious doubt. Perhaps the most remarkable footage comes late in the film, where the EIS team witnesses the breaking up and loss of an area of ice the size of Lower Manhattan (though much thicker than Manhattan is tall).
Landmark Chambers presented Chasing Ice at the BFI on 20 June and was privileged to have one of James Balog’s team, Svavar Jonatansson (the EIS Icelandic Field Coordinator), come to talk about it. For more information see http://www.chasingice.com and for detailed data go to http://climate.nasa.gov