An example of changing glaciers. Top: West Rongbuk Glacier, 1921; courtesy of the Royal Geographical Society. Bottom: West Rongbuk Glacier, 2008; courtesy of GlacierWorks
David Breashears’ new exhibit, Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalaya, has opened at the Everest Base Camp and at the MIT Museum. A collaboration between GlacierWorks—which Breashears founded—and the MIT Museum, the exhibition features the photographs of world-famous mountaineer and filmmaker David Breashears, and displays them alongside matched archival photographs taken over the past century by some of the world’s greatest mountain photographers. The exhibition seeks to reveal the changes that have taken place in the Himalayas over the last century.
The exhibit opened at the Everest Base Camp on April 10, 2012, and will remain until May 10, 2012. Here the exhibit is set against the backdrop of Mt. Everest and the Khumbu glacier, and gives visitors the chance to see the changes of the past century while admiring the still-vast beauty of the Himalayan landscape. The exhibit opened on April 13 at the MIT Museum, and will be on display until March 17, 2013.
MIT Museum director John Durant views the exhibition as "connecting image-makers, scientists and the public, to debate the messages—about climate, about environment, about water. What can we learn from these images? What do we not know? Can the images themselves guide future research?"
Breashears has been mountaineering for over 32 years, and has done 45 expeditions into the Himalayas, and has reached the summit of Mt. Everest five times. He released the film Storm Over Everest four years ago, returning to the site of a storm that resulted in the deaths of five climbers. Breashears has come to know the region as few photographers have before. “I want to share my knowledge,” said Breashears.
Breashears is the founder and Executive Director of GlacierWorks (glacierworks.org), a non-profit organization that seeks to share the changes occurring in the Himalayas through art, science, and adventure. GlacierWorks collaborated with the MIT Museum and the Asia Society to create this exhibition, and sent out a press release highlighting the effect glacial melting has on people: “The snow and ice stored within this resplendent arc of nearly 50,000 high-altitude glaciers are vital sources of water for the major rivers of Asia. Although the exact consequences of changing glacial melt cannot be known, any disruption to the water supply will inevitably present myriad challenges to the millions of people living downstream.” To create this exhibit, GlacierWorks undertook 10 expeditions to the Himalayas, retracing the steps of pioneering mountain photographers to capture new photographs of the same regions, to compare the exact differences over time.
More info can be found here.