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Alps 2020 is underway: a final expedition for the photographic-scientific project “On the Trail of the Glaciers”

The aim of “On the Trail of the Glaciers”, a photographic-scientific project created by Fabiano Ventura, is to study the state of health of the Earth’s large glaciers. The project is now on its final expedition: Alps 2020.

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Glacier erosion caused by rising temperatures reveals so much about climate and environmental change, a process that now seems irreversible.

Following 10 years of iconographic research and photographic-scientific work that has brought him to the Karakorum in 2009, the Caucasus in 2011, Alaska in 2013, the Andes in 2016 and the Himalayas in 2018, Fabiano Ventura has set out for his final expedition, this time in Europe. From 24 July to mid-September, his photographic-scientific team will travel along the Alpine arc to replicate photographs from the late 1800s and early 1900s with large-format film cameras. The result will be the largest archive of photographic comparisons of the planet’s most important glaciers, aimed at documenting the Earth’s state of health.

Monte Bianco, Gran Paradiso, Monte Rosa, Bernina, Ortles-Cevedale, Adamello, the Dolomites, and the Julian Alps are the main destinations for the team, made up of photographers, film directors and researchers. In the field, they will meet five different groups of scientists from various research institutions and universities, who will carry out research activities with different methodologies as part of the Alps 2020 expedition.

For this final expedition, preparation work and iconographic research (started over a year ago) has continued despite the complications caused by the current health emergency.  70 photographic archives were visited in over 100 collections, including museums, foundations, geographic societies, and national and civic libraries in all of Europe. 



“This marks the end of a journey that included more than ten years of hard work and great satisfaction, especially for having contributed to knowledge and increased awareness about the topic of climate change. The photos let reality speak for itself. The photographic comparisons, which compare the current situation with that of 100 years ago, express the Earth’s cry of pain. Looking at them, we are forced to listen to it.”
Fabiano Ventura, Environmental Photographer

Along the way, events to raise public awareness on the topic of climate change are planned. From 24 July until 30 August, the exhibit “On the Trail of the Glaciers” will be at the Museo Nazionale della Montagna Duca degli Abruzzi in Turin. At Fort Bard, in Valle d’Aosta, 31 July will mark the opening of the exhibit “L’adieu des glaciers. Monte Rosa: Photographic and Scientific Research”. This exhibit includes a 3-meter fine-art print of an impressive comparison image of the Upsala glacier as a symbol of the state that many of the world’s glaciers are currently in.


“This great effort has involved many people, starting from the sponsors that believed in us.  Enel Green Power, our main sponsor, showed foresight and vision in choosing to share the values of sustainability and environmental protection with us, at the very beginning of this adventure.”
Fabiano Ventura, Environmental Photographer



Enel Green Power sponsors the photographic-scientific project “On the Trail of the Glaciers”, created by Fabiano Ventura with the goal of communicating the effects of climate change by comparing the current state of glaciers with historical photographs from the early twentieth century. Photographic comparison, combined with scientific data, is the perfect tool to show the retreat of the Earth’s largest mountain glaciers. It provides an immediate idea of the important climate variations that our planet is facing and shows us how urgent the actions we must take to limit its consequences are.

With the “Alps 2020” expedition, preceded in summer 2019 by a pre-expedition to the Italian slopes of Monte Bianco, Monte Rosa and the Bernina range, the first long phase of the project comes to an end. The first phase was dedicated to the creation of photographic comparisons and scientific research. A second phase now begins – to spread these findings in schools, museums, and the scientific community. The goal is to communicate, especially to young people, the unequivocal message that nature is sending us.

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