When Westword chatted with Boulder photographer James Balog many years ago, he was making waves with his bold, staged portraits of endangered species, photographs that seemed to expose their inner animal souls. By then, though, Balog had already started another chapter, photographing polar bears in their natural habitat with a primitive Holga camera. Next, he mused, he’d maybe move on to landscapes or plant photography. “Quests are what drive me or pull me,” he said. “Sometimes I think that if I didn’t have that, I’d just sit in a corner, shrivel up and die.”
Eventually, Balog did move on, to landscapes of the most dramatic kind: He embarked on the Extreme Ice Survey, a painstaking and eerily beautiful documentation of the effect of global warming on Arctic glaciers that became the subject of a controversially chilling environmental film, Chasing Ice, as well as a coffee-table tome published by Rizzoli.
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Now the visual fruits of Balog’s EIS labor, in still images and time-lapse video, will go on display in ICE: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers, which opens today at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, 1513 Boulder Street. From 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 9, Balog will be there for a public reception and book signing; the show runs through December 14. For more information, visit cpacphoto.org or call 303-837-1341.
Wednesdays-Saturdays; Sat., Nov. 9, 5:30-7 p.m. Starts: Nov. 7. Continues through Dec. 14, 2013