Oxford School of Photography

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Melting Glaciers, Joe Raedle’s photographs from Greenland

“Climate change is here. We can deny it or we can study it and try to work on ways to understand it,” Getty photographer Joe Raedle explains.

Normally, Raedle can be found working in the center of conflicts like the 2011 revolution in Libya where he was captured and imprisoned for 4 days shortly before fellow photojournalists Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed there. However, Raedle was struck by the destruction caused by a different kind of disaster in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern U.S. coast. In the wake of the flooding and large-scale devastation caused by the storm, Raedle decided to pitch a story on climate change.

“One reason I pitched it was because it wasn’t something I was normally doing. It was very exciting. I didn’t know what to expect,” Raedle notes.

In July 2013, Raedle traveled to Greenland for three and a half weeks to photograph the melting glaciers and the environmental research going on in the ice-covered country. With help from the National Science Foundation, Raedle spent ten days with researchers photographing everything from remote research camps and underground pits to frozen lakes and vast snow canyons.

“It was a beautiful moment to be in that environment where people are trying to understand what is going on and really appreciate the land we walk on.”

Raedle spent the remainder of his time with locals in Greenland, even taking a boat ride over two hours long to attend a wedding in a remote village. Adapting to change is nothing new for native Greenlanders and the melting glaciers have actually brought new resources and opportunities to the area, Raedle discovered. “I thought I was just going to this giant glacier, but there is a whole vibrant country there. It was much more lively and modern than I expected.”    Katie Wood, kwood@denverpost.com

Greenland:  A Laboratory For The Symptoms Of Global Warming

GLACIAL ICE SHEET, GREENLAND – JULY 17:  Water is seen on part of the glacial ice sheet that covers about 80 percent of the country is seen on July 17, 2013 on the Glacial Ice Sheet, Greenland.  As the sea levels around the globe rise, researchers affilitated with the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the phenomena of the melting glaciers and its long-term ramifications. The warmer temperatures that have had an effect on the glaciers in Greenland also have altered the ways in which the local populace farm, fish, hunt and even travel across land.  In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the citys capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Greenland:  A Laboratory For The Symptoms Of Global Warming

QAQORTOQ, GREENLAND – JULY 30:  Calved icebergs from the nearby Twin Glaciers are seen floating on the water on July 30, 2013 in Qaqortoq, Greenland. Boats are a crucial mode of transportation in the country that has few roads. As cities like Miami, New York and other vulnerable spots around the world strategize about how to respond to climate change, many Greenlanders simply do what theyve always done: adapt.  “Were used to change, said Greenlander Pilu Neilsen. “We learn to adapt to whatever comes. If all the glaciers melt, well just get more land.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Greenland:  A Laboratory For The Symptoms Of Global Warming

Sarah Das from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution looks at a canyon created by a meltwater stream on July 16, 2013 on the Glacial Ice Sheet, Greenland. She is part of a team of scientists that is using Global Positioning System sensors to closely monitor the evolution of the surface lakes and the motion of the surrounding ice sheet. As the sea levels around the globe rise researchers affiliated with the National Science Foundation and other organizations are studying the melting glaciers and the long-term ramifications. In recent years, sea level rise in places such as Miami Beach has led to increased street flooding and prompted leaders such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to propose a $19.5 billion plan to boost the city’s capacity to withstand future extreme weather events by, among other things, devising mechanisms to withstand flooding.   (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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