James Balog

Global Perspectives Guest Speaker

For 35 years, photographer James Balog (“BAY-log”) has broken new conceptual and artistic ground on one of the most important issues of our era: human modification of our planet’s natural systems. An avid mountaineer with a graduate degree in geography and geomorphology, James is equally at home on a Himalayan peak or a whitewater river, the African savannah or polar icecaps.

To reveal the impact of climate change, James founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), the most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted. He and the EIS team are featured in the 2012 internationally acclaimed, award–winning documentary Chasing Ice and in the 2009 PBS/NOVA special Extreme Ice. Chasing Ice won an Emmy, a major Sundance award, a top prize from the Environmental Media Association, and 35 other film industry accolades.

Chasing Ice was shortlisted for the 2013 Academy Awards. It has been screened at The White House, the U.S. Congress, the U.K. House of Commons, and the United Nations. It has been the subject of features on the NBC Evening News, ABC Nightline, and The Late Show with David Letterman, Moyers & Company on PBS, Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, and Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR.

James has been honored with many awards, including, in recent years, the Heinz Award, the Duke University LEAF Award, the Rose-Walters Prize at Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism, an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree from the University of Alberta, the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) League Award, and the American Geophysical Union Presidential Citation for Science and Society. James served as a NASA representative at the 2009 United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP15) in Copenhagen and will have a significant role at the upcoming COP21 in Paris. James has been a keynote speaker at an environmental philosophy conference in Istanbul sponsored by the Ecumenical Patriarch of the 23 million-member Greek Orthodox Church.

Mr. Balog is the author of eight books; ICE: Portraits of Vanishing Glaciers was published by Rizzoli International in 2012. Among his other titles are Tree: A New Vision of the American Forest (2004) and Survivors: A New Vision of Endangered Wildlife (1990), hailed as a major conceptual breakthrough in environmental photography.

James’ work is in dozens of public and private art collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Corcoran Gallery, the Denver Art Museum and the Gilman Paper Company. It has been extensively published in most of the world’s major pictorial magazines including The New Yorker, National Geographic, Life, and Vanity Fair. National Geographic showcased EIS in major features in 2007, 2010 and 2013.

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