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Greenland Ice Sheet, 14 July 2008, Bubbles of Ancient Air, Possibly 15,000 Years Old, Are Released as the Ice Sheet Melts from ICE: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers
The theme of the 2017 Photo-Futures class was climate change, and human interconnectedness with the natural world and the current crisis of that relationship was at the heart of the photographic projects by nine photographers that students considered for acquisition into the Snite Museum’s permanent collection.
Challenged with selecting a contemporary photograph that helps visualize the complex issue of climate change, students ultimately recommended the Snite Museum purchase James Balog’s Greenland Ice Sheet, 14 July 2008, Bubbles of ancient air, possibly 15,000 years old, are released as the ice sheet melts, from ICE: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers. This striking image makes particularly visible one of the many consequences of global climate change: as glaciers retreat due to warming global temperatures, the ancient history they safeguard irretrievably melts away, too. Justifying their selection, students explained, “Water traps air within it when it freezes, creating bubbles that scientists use today to sample the chemical composition and temperature of prehistoric era air. And these ice cores are melting at alarming rates due to our warming climate. These vanishing glaciers take their stories with them. The bubbles of air that give us an insight into the atmosphere of our ancient past and the stories and incredible knowledge they contain will not exist for much longer if we continue to deny and ignore the ability of our actions to fundamentally change our environment. Not only do these microscopic pockets of air provide evidence of the changing climate, but they demonstrate how the very thing that sustains our life - air - is changing as well.”
from Calendar of Events, January-August 2018
Selected by PhotoFutures 2017 students: Carlos Celis Rivero ND '18, Caroline Cox ND '20, Sarah Harper ND '20, Sophie Lillis ND '18, and Danielle Partyka ND '18.