James Balog has been a leader in photographing, understanding, and interpreting the natural environment for three decades. An avid mountaineer with a graduate degree in geography and geomorphology, James is equally at home on a Himalayan peak or a whitewater river, the African savannah or polar icecaps.
To reveal the impact of climate change, James founded the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS), the most wide-ranging, ground-based, photographic study of glaciers ever conducted. National Geographic showcased this work in the June 2007 and June 2010 issues. The project is also featured in the 2009 NOVA documentary Extreme Ice and in the feature-length documentary Chasing Ice, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, winning the award for Best Cinematography for a U.S. Documentary.
EIS has been recognized with the Heinz Award, the Missouri School of Journalism's Honor Medal for Distinguished Service, the Aspen Institute's Visual Arts & Design Award, and the Galen and Barbara Rowell Award for the Art of Adventure. James has received the Leica Medal of Excellence, the International League of Conservation Photographers Award, and the North American Nature Photography Association's "Outstanding Photographer of the Year" award. He was named "Photographer of the Year" for 2011 by PhotoMedia magazine.
James is the author of seven books, including Extreme Ice Now: Vanishing Glaciers and Changing Climate: A Progress Report, published by National Geographic Books in 2009. ICE: Portraits of the World's Vanishing Glaciers will be released in the fall of 2012.
Among James' other books are Tree: A New Vision of the American Forest (2004), Wildlife Requiem (1984), Anima (1992), and Survivors: A New Vision of Endangered Wildlife (1990), which was hailed as a major conceptual breakthrough in nature photography. His work has been extensively published in most of the world's major pictorial magazines, including the New Yorker, National Geographic, Life, American Photo, Vanity Fair, Sierra, Audubon, and Outside, and is in dozens of public and private art collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, the Corcoran Gallery, the Denver Art Museum, and the Gilman Paper Company.
In 1996, James was the first photographer ever commissioned by the U.S. Postal Service to create a full sheet of stamps. The documentary A Redwood Grows in Brooklyn (2006), by David Holbrooke, explores his thoughts about art, nature, and perception.
James lives in the Rocky Mountains, above Boulder, Colorado, with his wife, Suzanne, and his daughters Simone and Emily.