Home » A photographer captures glacier melt over the years


Mona Miri holds many titles in the art world. As photo editor and photo art director of photography for Boston Magazine, she is charged with overseeing all of the photography from cover to cover of each publication. She also is a regularly contributing photographer. Even with those accomplishments, she’s perhaps most well known for her work on changing landscapes. Her ICE PROJECT is one such work, highlighting the melting glaciers as a result of climate change. 

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The ICE PROJECT is a compilation of five photographs that reflect the change in glacier spread and depth over a period of time. The project also reflects Miri’s passion and focus on the environment through her practice as a sustainability photographer. 

Related: Antarctic sea ice melt phenomenon explained in new research

Each image is described in detail by the photographer. As an overview, the first two and fifth photographs are diptychs. They are intended to show the before and after landscape of different areas. Two national parks are represented in the work: the Glacier National Park in Montana and Chugach National Forest in Alaska. Furthermore, the series previously exhibited in celebration of Earth month.

“In June 2019, ICE #1 from ICE PROJECT was accepted as a finalist in the Earth Photo London, which was exhibited at the Royal Geological Society in London with a traveling exhibition for one year in England’s National Forests,” Miri said.

Two black and white photos left to right: A valley full of ice, a canyon area with its rocks covered in snow

ICE #1

Grinnell Glacier in Montana has seen excessive melting glaciers in the past decade. The glacier is melting so fast that it is one of the most visibly affected by climate change occurring in a U.S. Park. Soon enough, Glacier Park, hence the name, will have no more glaciers because of warming temperatures. 

In this image on the right, taken in 2017 at Iceberg Lake in Grinnell Glacier, you can see the receding icebergs and the receding mouth of the glacier, which now is relatively a lake. The image on the left, taken in 1910 by John Morton, in collaboration with University of Montana image archives, shows the peak of Grinnell looking down at the mouth of the glacier. It is visible the contrast of melting glaciers in the before and after comparison.

Two photos left to right: A black and white photo of a river between mountains and an area covered in light blue snow and glacial

ICE #2

Portage Glacier in Alaska’s Chugach National Forest is another glacier that has seen rapidly changing effects of climate change in the past 100 years. The image on the left was taken in 1939 from the archives of the U.S. Geological Survey. It shows the terminus, or mouth, of the glacier as it appeared during this time. On the right exhibits the front of the glacier in 2017. Since 1939, the terminus and the mouth of the glacier has receded more than three miles from where it used to be in 1939. 

A valley of glacial amidst dark-colored mountains

ICE #3

Portage Glacier, a close-up image, shows the glacier runoff from the hanging glacier. This is caused when there is excessive and rapid melting. It is also a normal process where the glacier water helps habitation during the summer months. In 2019, Alaska recorded the hottest summer on record, which resulted in excessive melting in the region. 

A blue glacial melt beside some dark colored mountain

ICE #4

Another close-up view of Portage Glacier and glacier runoff from the receding hanging glacier. 

Two photos left to right: A view of a pool of glacial melt, an area covered in snow

ICE #5

Portage Glacier in 1958 is seen on the left photo taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It shows the glacier and Portage Lake filled with icebergs and ice. The glaciers already started retreating from the 1930s. Portage Glacier once ended on land, on the other side of what it is now Portage Lake. 

About Photographer Mona Miri

Miri began her career as a fine art landscape photographer. She has always been drawn to changing landscapes. In addition to the environmental series, her portfolio includes natural scenery, industrial landscapes and urban elements. Her work was featured in The Boston Globe, L.A. times, Improper Bostonian Magazine, PDN Magazine, Digital Photographer Magazine U.S. and U.K., CMYK Photography Magazine and more. Her photography has also been included at the Copley Society of Art Gallery (CO|SO) in Boston. In addition to being recognized in print, her self-portrait, Reflect, received the JoAnne Gonzalla Award for Excellence in Art and received an Environmental Stewardship Award from Sterling Planet.

According to her bio, “In January of 2009, she showcased her Sustainable Photography work sponsored by the city of San Francisco at the Somart Cultural Center. Currently residing in the Fort Point artist community, she has been exhibited at the FPAC gallery, at the Envoy Gallery and has been involved in open studios since 2015.” 

As a photographer, Miri’s work on the ICE PROJECT highlights changes that seem to happen too slowly for the human eye to consume. She converts it into an easily digestible, and impactful, statement about the irreversible damage of climate change. 

+ Mona Miri Photography

Photography by Mona Miri Photography 



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