The Glaciers of Patagonia, Inside a Gallery

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Frank Thiel, Perito Moreno #19

Patagonia has the third largest ice cap in the world. German photographer Frank Thiel’s show at the Sean Kelly gallery brings this dramatic landscape to New York City.

When Thiel first saw the immense glaciers 15 years ago, he thought they were “overwhelmingly beautiful.” And in 2011 he decided to make them the subject of his first digital photography project, “Nowhere is a Place” (a reference to the book by Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux). Eleven large prints now hang in three rooms of the Hells Kitchen gallery.  

They are all photographed from a central perspective that makes it “easier for the viewer to step into the image,” said Thiel. Not only their size, but their age, was a source of awe. “The ice that you see is between 8,000-12,000 years old, so they are older than any creature living on this planet," he added. "From people’s reactions they immediately put this in relation to their own lifetime and start speaking about mortality and the endlessness of life and all these very important questions.”

But the glaciers are not immortal, noted Thiel: “For me it’s important to show the fragility and drama that is actually happening in Patagonia and other parts of the world because of our climate changing.”

Listen here to German photographer Frank Thiel's tour of “Nowhere is a Place.”