January 17, 2007

Same Place, One Year Ago


It seems The BAG’s Winter ’07 coverage wouldn’t be complete without paying visual respects to the season that wasn’t.

If you’ve mostly been reading about the globe’s warmest December on record, or the fact New York City had its first December without snow since the 1890’s, the visual media is now catching up in a hurry.  As a logical way to tell the story, Stern offers a 15 page photo gallery juxtaposing scenes in specific places this January as compared to last.  The comparison, above, is from Munich.

As part of the flurry, The NYT also has a story this morning — with the image featured on the front page of today’s International Herald Tribune — about how newly emergent land masses in Greenland are overworking the cartographers.

Besides your weather report, and your take on whether it’s an El Niño anomaly, a greenhouse effect, or some combination of the two, I’d be interested in your thoughts on the dynamics of these (kinds of) images.

Just like it doesn’t feel right outside (as I move around Barcelona in a sweater), it is troubling to witness what wants to be a black-and-white photograph turning back into color, or observing jutting brown rocks appearing to angrily throw off their glacial blankets.

Still, given fear’s reputation as a motivator, paired with the emotional power of photography, one could argue this winter (or lack of one) represents a gift to global warming activists, and that the approaching “dead of winter,” from a pictorial viewpoint, stands to represent the sweet spot.

(image: Michaela Rehle/Reuters. January 2006/7.  stern.de)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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