As contentious debates about the impact of global warming drive on, something unique is occurring in the coastal areas of Alaska.
Rather than rising sea levels and diminishing coastlines, the land in southeast Alaska is rising out of the ocean at an accelerated rate. This phenomenon is known as "post-glacial rebound " or "isostatic adjustment", and is a direct result of global warming. The region was once covered by vast glaciers and ice fields, which massively deformed and submerged the coastal landscape. As global temperatures rise, the weight of glacial ice is rapidly melting away, and previously buried land is bursting forth into view.
This series is composed of photographs of the extant Alaskan landscape paired with photo-sculptural pieces representing the nascent landscapes to come. The photo-sculptural pieces were created through manipulating silver gelatin emulsion paper and sculpting it into rough approximations of the existing underwater topography. Dry chemistry was then applied directly to the emulsion and washed over with water; as the water flows around ridges and through valleys, it simulates trails and pools that are reminiscent of glaciers, glacial melt waters, silt deposits and the new risen muddy tidal flats.
This project serves as a reminder that the natural world often fails to conform to our polarized understanding of human-environmental interaction. As political battles rage over the possibility of coastal inundation, these pieces speak to the even greater complexity of nature. The contrast of the potential topographies of the future with the natural landscapes of the present challenges the simplified arguments on both sides of the climate change debate. The pieces seek to expand the discourse, while grounding it in the concrete and complex reality of our Earth.