arts & entertainment
Is it possible to see firsthand how man is changing nature? The answer can be found in a new exhibition at the Vero Beach Museum of Art entitled Changing Nature: A New Vision. Photographs by James Balog. You have probably seen some of his groundbreaking work and not known who photographed them or how his remarkable photos were taken.
For almost 40 years, James Balog has photographed the beauty of our natural resources as well as the devastating impact of climate change on the earth and its inhabitants. His projects explore the environmental and biological consequences of human behavior and has focused on interlocked events of melting glaciers, rising seas, warming oceans, polluted air, uninhabitable temperatures and the destructive forces of increasingly ferocious hurricanes, floods and wildfires.
His exhibition includes photos that alter people’s perception of endangered wildlife by photographing them in non-natural settings. Another series explores the increasing dependence of humans on technology and our increasing detachment from nature. One photograph at the Museum features a giant sequoia tree from top to bottom accomplished by stitching together a series of shots taken from a distance as he was suspended by a rope.
Balog has provided data and visual evidence on climate and environmental change, particularly data generated by the Extreme Ice Survey, which he created in 2007 to document and measure the retreat of glaciers around the world. His time lapse photography of rapidly retreating glaciers and calving brings to life the undeniable effects of climate change. His 2012 documentary, Chasing Ice, received a 2014 Emmy Award for Outstanding Nature Programming.
An avid mountaineer with a graduate degree in geography and geomorphology, Balog is equally at home on a Himalayan peak or a whitewater river, the African savannah or polar icecaps.
This exhibition features more than 80 of Balog’s photographs. It is organized into thematic sections to reflect his projects over four decades. His photos are dynamic and thought-provoking, but they must be seen in person to absorb the emotional impact of his work.
The Vero Beach Museum of Art is located at 3001 Riverside Park Drive in Vero. For more information visit vbmuseum.org or call (772) 231-0707.