several layers of lake ice footage is layered over each other to create an otherworldy blue landscape with varying transparencies using a drone video camera
Lake Ice 2

Starting in the fall of 2015, Lincoln Schatz has stood on the shores of Lake Michigan; composing photographs that study the lake’s surface, the distant horizon line and the sky that sits above them both as they all shift over time. The photographs that are included in the Lake Series have meticulously studied the same subject day after day, year after year, finding within the rule-set, established at the beginning of the project, an immense natural world full of difference, subtlety and change. Over the course of the winter of 2018, on some of the most unforgiving days of that season, Schatz deployed an autonomous flying vehicle (or drone) with an attached video camera and began to film for what would become, Lake Ice.

Drone Video Filming for Lake Ice

This period of aerial film work has produced a completely new understanding of the body of water that sits before him during his daily pilgrimages. Proving once again how elusive and difficult it can be to categorize exactly what a lake is. From these aerial recordings that scanned a frozen landscape in various states of forming & deforming comes a new short film by Lincoln Schatz entitled, Lake Ice, entirely filmed using a remotely controlled drone video camera. With Lake Ice we are able to turn our understanding of what a lake is on it’s head. We are given a way of experiencing a landscape that is utterly foreign to us. Alien, deceptive in it’s subject matter and confounding in terms of scale and material, showing us the unrelenting nature of winter on the Great Lakes.

Ice on the Lake

large pieces of lake ice float in a dark green Lake Michigan, layers of ice overlaid on top of one another
Lake Ice 5

Sheets of ice form, freeze and thaw, a cycle that repeats over the course of winter. Every piece of ice is constantly forming, breaking apart or reforming, endlessly in flux until they disappear fully into the lake, all of these processes result in changes to the shape, size, texture, crystal structure, thickness and opacity of the ice with each progressing day.

As monumental as these ice buildups can be they are as equally fleeting and fragile in nature, perhaps an analogy for the ecological period we live in today. Lake Ice shows that what can appear permanent and unmovable, merely by scale, weight or material can disappear overnight without a trace. 

A behind the scenes photo and more information about the filming process can be found here.