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.
Were you previously aware of Project Pressure?
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.