While the Fires Burn A Glacier Odyssey

Daniel Schwartz

Terrestrial and aerial photography combine with historic documents and computer-modeled drawings to capture the world’s shrinking glaciers across four continents


In 2009, Daniel Schwartz began a photographic art project documenting visible evidence of the disappearance of glaciers around the world, intending it as a catalyst for reflections on climate history and the relationship between glacial cycles and human lifespan in the context of natural ecology and human progress.

The project’s geographical field of interest extends from today’s Alpine cryosphere to areas of prehistoric glaciation in what is now the great plain of Switzerland, to as far afield as Pakistan (Karakoram range), Uganda (Rwenzori range), and Peru (Cordillera Blanca)—all of which demonstrate dramatically shrinking glaciers at differing stages. Schwartz has traveled widely over many years and has created new views of rarely photographed glaciers, such as those in equatorial Africa.

Combining spectacular close aerial photography with archival documents in more than 160 photographs, Schwartz links art and science and continues an interdisciplinary tradition with roots in early eighteenth-century Switzerland, the birthplace of glaciology. These beautifully detailed photographs define new ways to examine glaciers as a functional archive of human presence, and to consider human intervention in natural history.

The film “Beyond the Obvious—Daniel Schwartz. Photographer” follows Schwartz during the final stages of “While the Fires Burn.” Information at http://www.goldeneggproduction.ch/portfolio-item/beyond-the-obvious-en/#tab-id-3


Daniel Schwartz


Daniel Schwartz is a Swiss photographer. He is the author of Travelling Through the Eye of History, Delta: The Perils, Profits and Politics of Water in South and Southeast Asia, and The Great Wall of China.