Aug 07, 2020 11:34 AM EDT
A project of ‘before & after’ photographs of glaciers in Patagonia shows the dramatic impact of global warming in the past century. Images taken in the year 1913 were replicated with their present-day equivalent, exposing the damages wrought by climate change.
Cristian Donoso dedicated the past 24 years to show these effects. For his 2018 Postcards of Ice project, he collaborated with Alfredo Pourailly to track down the locations first photographed by Alberto de Agostini, an early 20th-century explorer, to reveal the changes in the landscape. The comparative pictures of Patagonia show the drastic loss of ice from 1913 to the present.
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Donoso’s Realization and Mission
Donoso started his mission in 1996, as he was exploring the Patagonian mountain wilderness. Here, he began to work towards drawing attention to global warming’s impact. Donoso told CNN that if one is in an expedition, a secure connection with nature is needed, and the senses must be fully opened because one’s survival is dependent on it.
He says that one becomes intensely aware of nature with it, and one marvels at it, with the soul communicating an extraordinary experience.
Having realized that, he has since gone to over 50 expeditions worldwide to photograph our planet’s current state and compare these with the past. The Postcards of Ice project of Alfredo Pourailly De La Plaza and Donoso brought them to the Cordillera Darwin located in Tierra del Fuego.
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Bahía Onelli Parque Nacional Los Glaciares Patagonia Argentina Luca Galuzzi 2005
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Taking Comparative Pictures
They searched for the locations photographed by Alberto de Agostini from over 11,000 images taken by the explorer who frequented the glaciers regularly. In Agostini’s photos, one can see jagged ice flows dominating the photos; by 2018, much of the ice has either been severely reduced or disappeared altogether.
Patagonia’s environment is harsh; it has the most significant ice in the entire southern hemisphere that is not part of Antarctica-comparing the modern images with those of Agostini’s 1913 pictures, climate change’s terrible impact is seen.
Donoso never thought the results would be as dramatic as they were. Humans have profoundly impacted many places, places that we haven’t yet understood, explored, photographed, or charted. The duo hopes that the photos will inspire tackling climate change, to preserve our only home.
The Postcards project is a long-term endeavor, with a second comparative set of pictures planned for various Tierra del Fuego glaciers. The duo will take these in an expedition funded by the Rolex Explorer Grants.
Currently, Donoso is on a journey he took by kayaking. It is entitled “Forgotten Footsteps,” and it builds on his 2018 project’s success. It will retrace Rockwell Kent’s exploration of Tierra del Fuego’s landscape in the early part of the last century. Donoso’s expedition began last January.
Donoso made sure that his expeditions have a minimized carbon footprint. He accomplishes this by using transportation modes that have a low impact on the environment. Such ways include sailing and kayaking.
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