James Balog's latest work, the Extreme Ice Survey, captures the twisting, soaring forms of threatened wild ice.

Why you should listen

To see the natural world through James Balog's lens is to see it as an artist would -- through fresh eyes, as if for the first time, with no preconceived notions. His photos of jungle animals, for instance, are arresting in their directness, simplicity, even sensuality. His subjects assume the same weight and importance as a human portrait sitter, and demand (as a human subject would) that the viewer engage with them rather than simply spectate.

His newest work is no less powerful, no less engaging -- and it carries an urgent message. For several years, Balog has been going up north to shoot the half-alive ice of the mammoth glaciers for his Extreme Ice Survey, a look at the shocking effects of abrupt climate change in Alaska, Greenland and Iceland. Soaring, dripping, glowing and crumbling, arctic ice under Balog's eye requires the viewer to engage.

A new Nova/PBS TV special and a new book, Extreme Ice Now, are helping him spread the word that this glorious world is degrading at a speed we couldn't imagine until we saw it through his eyes.

What others say

“Each new series by James Balog represents a quantum leap in creativity, which takes us deeper into the ultimate mystery of humanity's relationship to the natural world.” — James Nachtwey, photographer and TED Prize winner

James Balog’s TED talks

James Balog on the TED Blog
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Global Issues

On our must-see list: James Balog’s “Chasing Ice”

November 26, 2012

Photographer James Balog grew up skeptical about climate change. But in 2005, he headed to Iceland on assignment for National Geographic and found himself captivated by the spectacular beauty of the icy landscape and devastated by how it was quickly changing before his eyes. Balog had an idea: the Extreme Ice Survey, a network of […]

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New-wave campaigning for climate change

October 9, 2009

On Saturday, October 17, president Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives will conduct his national cabinet meeting … 20 feet beneath the surface of the Indian Ocean. The president and his ministers will carry out the full monty under the sea with wetsuits, compressed-air tanks and even waterproof pens and paperwork to persuade world leaders of […]

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