In the charming countryside of gaseous Turkmenistan sits a fiery crater that was created 40 years ago upon the collapse and subsequent burning of a Soviet gas-drilling rig. No one had dared to enter the inferno until 2013, when extreme adventurer George Kourounis rapelled in. This is his story
“Since the 1970’s Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC. His forest has transformed what was once a barren wasteland, into a lush oasis.”
Erm… on second thought, maybe it wasn’t the smartest idea to scale this rock face without any support or climbing gear. But hey, at least I brought my cell phone! Watch the rescue of this hiker stranded on a cliff by the Snohomish County Helicopter Rescue Team, below.
This summer, with the help of Project Pressure and you, Danish Photographer Peter Funch will travel to Washington State’s Mt. Baker for a project that blends both art and science. By recreating famous pictures and postcards from the often photographed mountain, Funch will be documenting climate change and illustrating glacial movement through contemporary photography. Here, we talk to Peter about Expedition: Mt. Baker.
How did this project come about?
It started in 2010 when I was on a job in Greenland. I had to take several low altitude flights over glaciers. It was amazingly beautiful, but underneath my awe was the wrenching notion that these monuments of ice are so fragile – that they may one day flood everything I once knew. This paradoxical feeling led me to photograph them as much as I could and is now driving me to Mt. Baker.
I met the founder, Klaus Thymann, in London over a decade ago. We Danes tend to stick together so it wasn’t long after I moved to London that I met Klaus. We remained friends and kept in touch after I moved to Brooklyn. I heard about it through him and saw it gain momentum with articles by the BBC, the Guardian, and NASA by supporting Project Pressure with scientific data.
What type of work will you be producing?
I will be producing two types of work: one is scientific and the other is artistic. For the scientific work we need to replicate different points of view around the glacier from historical photographs. We chose Mt. Baker because it has a very long and rich history of photographic documentation. These replicated photographs of the glaciers are linked with GPS coordinates so people can go back and reshoot the image again and again. These images form what we call a “comparative timeline”, which is what we use to see how the glaciers will change over time. The more data points, or photographs, we can put in the timeline the more accurately we can extrapolate climatic predictions. This is why this work is invaluable to climatological research… and everyone for that matter.
The other part of the project is for me to create artwork that hopefully gives a more relatable perspective on Climate Change. It didn’t make sense for me to replicate some photographs, pack my bags, and leave. I am an artist and this subject deeply affects me. So not all the images I take will be for research. These images will be based on the collected references such as postcards and the work of Ansel Adams, which I will more or less recreate, but for the purpose of evocative visuals and inspiring a narrative in the viewer. In tandem, I will also be creating RGB Tricolor separation images to evoke changes over time: trees growing, landscapes changing, and, of course, glacial retreat.
“In 1816, Europe and North America were plagued by heavy rains, odd-colored snow, famines, strange fogs and very cold weather well into June. Though many people believed it to be the apocalypse, this “year without a summer” was actually the result of a supervolcano eruption that happened one year earlier over 1,000 miles away.”
Last week in Nepal, Dr. John All fell 70 feet down an icy crevasse while conducting climate research on Mount Himlung in the Himalayas. Luckily he lived, and had his camera with him to document his struggle back to the surface.
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