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McKenzie Funk

McKenzie Funk is a founding member of the global journalism cooperative Deca and the author of Windfall: The Booming Business of Global Warming (Penguin, 2014), the winner of a 2015 PEN Literary Award. His writing also appears in Harper’s, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Outside, and the New York Times Magazine. He is a 2012 Knight-Wallace Fellow and 2016 Open Society Fellow.


Photograph by Aaron Huey

An Anchorless Space

Winter 2017 | Photography

Everybody wants to assign the most obvious ideas to images. The most obvious idea about melting ice is human folly. It’s the destruction of the environment. It’s all the things we’re doing wrong. But these images aren’t a commentary on global warming. I didn’t think about global warming once while we were up there. I didn’t really think about people at all.

Sometimes ice melts and refreezes. Glaciers freeze and thaw. The Ruth Glacier is shrinking, but not as visibly as some glaciers in other parts of Alaska or other parts of the world. The dark stuff in the frames is silt that blows off the surrounding terrain. It gets covered by snow, then the snow melts. Over time, stripes form. Over time, the glacier crushes in on itself and curves in on itself as it heaves and breaks and bends. The ice pushes off the walls of the gorge toward the center, and rock accumulates in a long, black band. A medial moraine.  It’s natural.