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James Balog

James Balog
James Balog I Photo credit: Jeff Orlowski

James Balog
Full visit: April 19-23, 2022

  • Founder, Extreme Ice Survey 
  • Founder, Earth Vision Institute  
  • Renowned environmental photographer
  • Documentary filmmaker
  • Author
  • ADW-PAL term: 2020-26
  • Subject Area: Humanities
  • Faculty host: Michael Goldstein (Director, College Scholar Program; Professor, Dept. of Psychology) 
  • Faculty co-host: David Lodge (Director, Atkinson Center for Sustainability) 

James Balog is the Founder of the Extreme Ice Survey and Earth Vision Institute. 

 For 40 years, as a photographer, Balog has broken new conceptual and artistic ground on one of the most important issues of our era: human modification of nature. 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. 

His 2018 film The Human Element is an innovative look at the intersection of humanity and the rest of nature. It has received numerous awards and been screened worldwide. 

To reveal the impact of climate change, Balog founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) in 2007. It is the most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted. The project was featured in the internationally acclaimed documentary Chasing Ice  and in the 2009 PBS/NOVA special Extreme Ice. One YouTube video clip from Chasing Ice has received more than 58 million views. Chasing Ice  won an Emmy in 2014 and was shortlisted for the Academy Awards. It has been screened at the White House, U.S. Congress, Great Britain’s House of Commons, the United Nations, and major international science and policy conferences, including COP-15 in Copenhagen and COP-21 in Paris. 

Balog is the author of eight books. His images have been collected in dozens of public and private art collections—and extensively published in the world’s magazines, particularly National Geographic. 

Many organizations have given Balog their highest accolades, including The Heinz Foundation, American Geophysical Union, Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, the Crown Prince of Dubai, Duke University, and the universities of Alberta, Missouri, and Colorado.