For four decades James Balog has studied ancient cultural assumptions about the relationship between human nature and the rest of nature. Through innovative imagery, his projects interpret significant aspects of what has changed, what’s survived, and what changes are projected for the future. His photographs and films reveal nature’s dazzling beauty as well as its capacity for destruction. Conversely, as a scientist and an artist, he documents humanity’s actions that are interrupting nature’s traditional patterns and properties to the detriment of both humans and nature. Each of his projects connects to previous as well as subsequent investigations to knit an increasingly whole view of the people versus nature interface.
Finding Earth describes both of the ancient cyclical patterns of the earth’s life forms and the impact of human activity by intent or inadvertence on those forms and cycles. For instance, the clearing of forests for habitation and commerce endangers animal and plant species and can change weather patterns which can lead to prolonged droughts which can trigger hotter and more frequent fires in the remaining forests. Balog’s passion to understand these patterns drives him. His talent is to photograph and film them in ways that not only seduce viewers with nature’s rich varieties and splendor, but evoke questions about what is happening and why.
The exhibition is divided into four sections — Survivors, Transformation, Combustion and Extraction, which reflect his projects over four decades. Singular images related to, but independent of those sections are also included.