A Thing of the Past
A thing of the past these are coming to be...glaciers that is.
The following work began long before I was born, I am just using it in a new manner given the current nature of their subjects and the political climate regarding environmental research. The glaciers of the Sierra Nevada were few in numeration once "discovered" by white settlers and explorers like John Muir in the 1870's, and have dwindled since then in dramatic fashion. In late 2017 I was looking through research piles and records, and decided to use the reports and imagery from some of the studies done from 1932-1949. Scanning and printing out digital negatives to produce traditional silver gelatin prints, before applying my hand in the Mordancage process to these images brought back to life.
Mordancage attacks sensitized silver (dark tones and shadows) which is highly exampled in the "Tributary" section of my "Downstream" project. Here I am using the process to due the same; communicating decay, fragility and the passage of time in these respected locations. The new EPA and US Interior Department has made it's position on climate research and conservation very clear, as they value both in such low regards, that the corrosive process reflects the current respect by our administration.
This process does not affect highlights so greatly, so areas of not yet exposed earth remain protected from the Mordancage by the glacier itself, mimicking the hanging presence of life that still remains here up high in California. These glaciers, like Lyell and Maclure being the largest left, help provide the Tuolumne River with water flow into the late summer and fall until the seasons change bringing forth precipitation, and temperatures to hold that power in the peaks for months to come. Glacier decay in California is extreme, as it is in the rest of the nation, like Montana for example ( Glacier National Park has lost 83% of its glaciers in the past two century's) .
What is so important about California, is that it feeds much of the nation, and keeps us from collapsing. Without a thriving crop system in the Central Valley, we are forced to rely on grains and meat more from other states and imports from other countries, which will dramatically increase prices at the market, and offer less variety and job shortage. Its a fragile balance, and it starts in the peaks of the Sierra Nevada.