Is Mother Nature in Tears?

Mother Nature in Tears, Austfonna Ice Cap in Svalbard, Norway, 2009, by Michael S. Nolan, Digital ph

In a world where we’re constantly inundated by disturbing imagery of environmental destruction, what kind of image still has the power to make us stop and think, to be moved into action, to sear itself into our consciousness? This is precisely the question that visitor contributor, Elizabeth Rose, addresses in a recent click! story.

For Elizabeth and many others, nature photographer and lecturer Michael Nolan’s photograph, Mother Nature in Tears, has been precisely the kind of image that pierces emotions. Incidentally, this photo which pictures an iceberg with a seemingly human face crying, has inspired many but has also stirred up ire in many members of the public who insist that Nolan’s image is a fake.

What follows are excerpts of a post by Nolan on his blog reputing the notion that his image was fabricated in any way:

“Sometimes an image just seems to be too good to true! The image above has caused quite a stir around the world in so many ways. When I took the image early in the morning on July 16, 2009 from the bow of the National Geographic Explorer I was struck by the unmistakable likeness of the face of a woman crying ….

The image was picked up by one of my best stock agencies in the U.K. and the face was likened to Mother Nature. I loved the stylized look of the waterfall as it formed the pool of tears, and think it is strikingly similar to what a thoughtful yet mournful Mother Nature might appear to look like, and what better place to appear than on the face of the largest (by area) retreating ice cap in all of Europe?

Of course folks on one side of the climate change issue took it as a sign, while folks on the other side of this same issue were sure the image was fabricated. "Photoshop Experts" started weighing in on how the image was manipulated or downright faked all together. From my perspective as the photographer who took the image I am amazed at what strong sentiments this image has provoked, and the ensuing attacks on the authenticity of the face ….

Is this Mother Nature in Tears? If you want it to be then I say absolutely!

Is it a sign of climate change? Of course, the ice cap is retreating and has been for many years now.

Is this a beautiful stylized look of a woman's face in the Austfonna ice cap? This thought is exactly what moved me to create the image.

Was the image fabricated, manipulated, altered, or down right faked? Absolutely not ….

I encourage everyone to go and experience Mother Nature for themselves, wherever (and however) you can find her! Perhaps she will change your life, as she has changed mine. I have hope for even the most ardent unbelievers. The beauty is all around you, you just have to open your eyes (and heart).”

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