Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Chasing Ice, dir. Jeff Orlowski, st. James Balog

Rather than using reams of data, endless stats and organigrams, environmental photographer James Balog, gifted with the most extraordinary eye for the kind of detailed breathlessness only found in the remotest of locations, decided to assemble a collective of creatives and technicians in order to document the visible and worrying retreat of glaciers and gradual decline of the icy Greenland, Iceland, Alaska and Canada shorelines. The sheer scale of Balog's EIS (Extreme Ice Survey) project is overwhelming, battling as they must to anchor DSLR-containing, gale-, avalanche-, and -40 degree-proof boxes to cliff faces so they can capture their 8000-per-year image quota. Any layman who's ever used memory cards or iPhoto will know what a daunting task even the simple stuff can be. But for an environmentally alarmist documentary, Chasing Ice surprisingly soft-peddles the puritanical lecturing - and for good reason; the beautiful images Balog and his team capture, not of the stereotypical Apple-white designer bergs against azure skies, but grungier, unprocessed grey-blues of the natural ice, coupled with the visceral time-lapse of diminishing bluffs, speak a thousand Ted-Talk words. The future's grim indeed, but essential viewing such as this may yet gather critical public-consciousness mass in regards to the acceptance of irrefutable climate change.