Climate Visuals launches Ocean Visuals at UN Oceans Conference

Climate Visuals launches Ocean Visuals at the UN Oceans Conference in Lisbon, 27 June – 1st July 2022.

The Ocean Visuals project will catalyse a new evidence-based collection of impactful ocean and coastal climate imagery – all equitably accessible to the media, non-profit and education sector in the’ Ocean Super Year’, the run up to COP27 and beyond into the UN Decade of Ocean Science.  

Toby Smith, Climate Visuals Lead, is attending the conference building momentum and seeking new engagement partners to ensure the imminent global open call reaches a wide and truly diverse audience.   Climate Visuals are also contributing expertise to round-tables and events on how climate and ocean action can be accelerated through cross-sector influencing and media engagement.

Register for updates on the Climate Visuals project, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

View and download the Ocean Visuals promotional images.

Turpin Samuel / Climate Visuals

Shifting the sustainability dial through the lessons of D&I

The media industry has shifted the dial in the diversity and inclusion space – but what role does the media and advertising industry have to play in connecting the dots on sustainability?

Climate Visuals lead, Toby Smith, spoke on this panel discussion.

Watch the event recording on the Channel 4 website.

Nature visuals: Diversity in images of England’s natural spaces

Photos of the natural environment do not reflect the social, ethnic or geographic diversity of the country, which may create barriers to some people enjoying and feeling a sense of belonging in  nature. How can we build a better, more inclusive visual language?

Images matter. As people, we need to see ourselves in images relating to the natural environment so we connect with them and see the relevance of them to our lives. The photos we see of natural spaces need to be inclusive, authentic and show people from diverse backgrounds in diverse outdoor spaces. This is also important for connecting people with messages around our big challenges including climate change and biodiversity loss. Experiencing natural spaces in all kinds of ways helps to provide that connection and we know that for some, this is not currently part of their lives.

This matters for climate change too. Spending time in nature is a proven way to engage people with the climate crisis and a lack of inclusive imagery makes it harder to build a diverse climate movement.

Natural England commissioned Climate Outreach to speak with conservation organisations, community groups, online influencers and nature enthusiasts to explore how we can diversify the images of people and nature, resulting in a practical, evidence-based report. Below we highlight its set of six principles, developed to help guide the production of images that showcase the variety of ways that people can connect with and benefit from nature.

Photo credit: Mike Phill /

1 – Use images to tell positive, identifiable stories

Visuals can capture attention, promote interest and motivate engagement. Showing diverse individuals doing fulfilling activities in natural spaces will enhance feelings of inclusion and belonging. These positive representations are critical for reaching out to people who are left out of traditional outdoor narratives

Photo credit: Cheryl Duerden

2 – Create authentic representation, not tokenism

Authenticity is critical to telling an empowering, inclusive story that audiences will connect with. Stock imagery and staged portraits provide a veneer of representation but are not empowering and may backfire if they are perceived as fake or tokenistic. Display real images of diverse individuals enjoying a variety of natural spaces in ways that can connect with them on a personal level.

Photo credit: Joel Redman /

3 – Depict diverse activities in diverse landscapes

The cultural narrative of what it means to enjoy the outdoors is dominated by a narrow subset of landscapes, activities and people. Expand representation to break through harmful stereotypes and embrace new and different visual narratives of spaces, people and activities.

Photo credit: Tasha Thompson /

4 – Connect people to the wonderful diversity of natural places, from urban parks to national landscapes

Most people live in towns and cities and most outdoor experiences occur in urban areas. Yet imagery of natural spaces focuses on the countryside.  We need to show more urban green areas and tell visual stories about people enjoying nature in their everyday, as well as on holidays. This could be walking a tree-lined urban avenue or walking a national trail, a day trip to a city park or to a national park.

Photo credit: Joanne Coates /

5 – Include more real people in images

Images of idyllic countryside tend to dominate the visual story, but they do not fully represent the many reasons people enjoy the outdoors. Broaden the visual narrative and connect natural spaces to peoples’ everyday lives by capturing the many ways people use the outdoors to connect with friends and family, as well as with nature.

6 – Diversify who is behind the camera and the message

Fixing the ‘who’, ‘what’, and ‘where’ of outdoor imagery is only part of the solution. We also need to diversify who is behind the camera and designing the wider communications, in order to provide greater authenticity and empowerment to those being photographed.

A diverse group of individuals are already harnessing the power of social media to shift the outdoor narrative by documenting their own experiences. Learn from these people and work with them to create new visuals.

Principles at a glance

Watch the webinar

Here we present our report and findings and show visual examples while hearing about the practical changes we need to see around nature visuals from photographer Joanne Coates and  Judy Ling Wong CBE, an environmental activist. Watch the Nature Visuals webinar

 

BBC Climate Question: Does climate change have an image problem?

Climate Visuals on display at COP26

Climate Visuals images hung on the walls at  the COP26 Climate Talks in Glasgow last year – overlooking world leaders and delegates.

The photography exhibits featured prominently in some of the most influential negotiating spaces at the conference in the so-called ‘Blue Zone’ (the Leaders Lounge; the main thoroughfare connecting delegate meeting rooms; and the Catering and Coffee area) as well as the ‘Green Zone.’

The exhibits showcased impactful, diverse photography showing what climate change really looks like around the world. The collection was curated from several sources, including:

  • our open call for photography in collaboration with TED Countdown which attracted submissions from photographers in over 150 countries and has resulted in 100 images freely available to global editorial media, educators and campaigners
  • our collaborative web resource on Indigenous media presence, which provides 8 recommendations for the media to achieve a lasting, positive, and impactful media presence for Indigenous peoples
  • images from an upcoming project with Natural England aiming to increase engagement with nature and climate through diversifying representation in English nature imagery

Scottish Power supports Climate Visuals’ COP26 exhibition

As a Principle Partner for  the UN climate conference (COP26) in their home city of Glasgow, Scottish Power is thrilled to be supporting Climate Outreach on their exciting Climate Visuals project.  

“We are absolutely committed to playing our full part in ensuring COP leaves a lasting positive legacy for the world and the people of Glasgow.” said Samuel Gardner,  Head of Climate Change and Sustainability for Scottish Power. “A key part of that must be engaging the public in not only the reality of climate change but the solutions we have to tackle this emergency.” 

Ahead of COP26, Climate Visuals, a project of Climate Outreach,  will be announcing the selected photographers and images from Visualizing Climate Change: An Open Call for Photography.  This initiative challenged global photographers to utilise Climate Visuals’ evidence-based approach to show solutions and narratives and consider the people, places, communities, sectors, and areas of society that are not normally featured in the media or climate change conversations. Submissions were requested to feature the TED Countdown and COP26 thematic areas which both highlight energy as a topic. 

Photo credit: Kunal Gupta / Climate Visuals Countdown

“We’re so incredibly grateful, proud, and excited about the submissions received and embodied in our judge’s final selections.  The exhibition will portray diverse climate solutions, new narratives and voices, and impactful photography—all direct from communities around the world. The impact starts here as the entire collection will be accessible to climate communicators in media, education, and advocacy—all without charge—via our image library system.” Toby Smith, Climate Visuals Programme Lead.

The Climate Visuals exhibition will celebrate the very best in climate change visual storytelling, providing a dynamic window into the response to climate change from communities and businesses from around the world.  Hoping to inspire delegates at COP26 to raise their ambitions and turn them into action that locks us into a decade of delivery and a green recovery from the pandemic. 

All non-profits, campaigners, educators, and editorial publications can access, download and use the collection for free, via a unique QR code embedded in each image at the exhibition. The goal being to help everyone  communicate solutions to the changing landscape of Earth more effectively – providing equitable, free creative content to all COP26 delegates both in person and online.

“At ScottishPower, transforming to a cleaner electric future has been central to our strategy for the last 15 years.  We were the first energy company in the UK to ditch coal and gas and go 100% green.  All the power we generate, enough to power more than 2 million homes, now comes from our 40 onshore and offshore wind farms.  Nor are we standing still, we are investing £10 billion in the next five years to drive forward the infrastructure solutions to the climate crisis, like floating windfarms, solar power plants, battery storage, smart grids, EV charge-points and hydrogen electrolysers.”  Samuel Gardner,  Head of Climate Change and Sustainability for Scottish Power. 

Indigenous Media Presence

Climate Visuals was commissioned by the Climate and Land Use Alliance to create recommendations of best visual practice for content producers, editors, distributors, agencies and publishers who wish to work with, for, or who are from, the Indigenous and forest communities of Central and South America. It is an openly accessible report to catalyse positive change and connections towards imagery that is transformative, sustainable and impactful around the issues of land use, conservation and climate solutions.

Hosted on Climate Outreach’s website features a detailed research report and literature review which draws richly on new conversations held with Indigenous leaders and photographers, media stakeholders and NGOs in 10 different countries. The online resource, available in English, Spanish and Portuguese, details and illustrate eight new principles prepared by a team of researchers, with inputs from Climate Visuals, If Not Us Then Who, Nicolas Salazar Sutil, Jaye Renold and Leah Rangi.

Find the indigenous media presence project here. 

Indigenous media presence  concerns the communication of cultural, linguistic, political, spiritual and environmental priorities and sensibilities of Indigenous Peoples, particularly regarding the fast-changing conditions of life within Indigenous Territories. There is a rapidly growing appetite for narratives and images of the climate crisis related to endangered forests and Indigenous communities. However, inconsiderate media publication risks simplifying and sensationalising a complex story narrative while also isolating and burdening these communities with a responsibility to protect primary forests. Well-meaning but uncritical production and consumption of imagery in this context presents enormous risks and is also a lost opportunity for self-determination and lasting climate solutions.

The research team set the frame of this project in response to the need for a best-practice guide. We set its geographic scope, of Central and South America, to focus our finite research resources on producing a set of broad yet pragmatic recommendations. These address the common issues identified by members of the diverse communities interviewed and consulted as part of this research process.

The authors recommend that new primary or participatory research be urgently completed into parallel issues faced by Indigenous communities of Southeast Asia or in a global context – recognising that some of our existing recommendations may be applicable once verified.  Further, the authors considered incorporating advice on depictions of charismatic animal life; however, for reasons of scope, the present research focuses on forest protection within the context of land and climate justice from an Indigenous perspective.

We conclude that the challenge and opportunity ahead is not how to simply improve representation but how to achieve a lasting, positive, and impactful media presence for Indigenous Peoples. Existing media representation, although well-meaning, poses significant risks, particularly through stereotyping and sensationalism; as does the continued exclusion of Indigenous Peoples from territorial, political, legal, academic, and other forms of self-determination.

Find the indigenous media presence project here. 

 

Indigenous Media Presence – Commissioning Guide

Find the full Indigenous Media Presence project HERE

A best practice guide and check-list to commissioning and being commissioned for photography of Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities, in relation to our research recommendations, that considers:

  • Fair pay and limited licensing terms
  • Value-based, ethical and risk considerations from our research study
  • Cultural sensitivities

Overall guidance:

Lines of communication should include different languages to support and promote the resilience of native languages.

Publications should look to publish in the language of the people who appear in images or articles and/or share the publication with the communities in their dialect. 

The global media should diversify their pool of translators to allow and promote the resilience of different languages, and prevent dominant languages such as English and Spanish from making the existence of native languages invisible.

When commissioning new photography:

Exploratory research should deeply consider: 

  • What is the story?
  • Who will tell the story and why?
  • How to form connections? 
  • Being open to collaboration

Favour positive stories, which are more empowering for communities. If reporting on negative stories, positive elements of resilience and resistance should be highlighted as far as possible.

Create work with a flexible, transparent and informed approach.

Employ a considered editing approach which continues to be open to collaboration.

Consider the usefulness of sharing, and being open with, content.  

Be transparent and fair with industry-standard fees that reflect the length of licensing. Paying the same rate to photographers regardless of their country of origin and publishing pay rates openly are steps to achieving this. 

Honesty is essential in all interactions with photographers and communities.

Create considered and fair licensing agreements – exclusivity for no more than 3 months is a good industry example when licensing stories.

Even when licensing with exclusivity, communities should receive copies of the images and have the right to use them after publication e.g. for their own social media.

Non-exclusivity can be a more equitable approach to licensing work in the non-profit sphere.

When going on assignment:

Speak with the people appearing in images about any potential risks. Many will be aware of these risks already. Consider together the risks of identifying names, locations and faces of people in images.

Respect communities or individuals who do not want to be photographed. 

Consider the impact of photography on the mental health of the person photographed.

Be collaborative with the editing process, such as selecting photos with the people photographed, and be open to deleting photographs that raise concerns. This creates a more horizontal relationship between the photographer and the person photographed and helps to mitigate problems arising from publication.

All parties involved should be given the opportunity to see the publication before publishing to evaluate potential risks and concerns.

When purchasing or licensing existing work:

Exploratory research should consider:

  • What is the story?
  • Why are these images required to illustrate this story?

Be aware of the cultural context of images and do not de-contextualise images; be sensitive and aware of cultural appropriation. 

Further dialogue is required if and when the story deviates from the original agreement. 

Agree fair, equitable licensing parameters (with whom and how will the work be shared;  in what context) 

Be transparent and fair with industry-standard fees that reflect the length of licensing.

When selling existing work:

Transparency with the community about the destination of work is vital.

Provide cultural context with images.

Make photographs available with a press release/story which provides context for editorial use – licensees must not deviate from that story.

Sensitive documentary photography is rarely suitable for commercial use licensing.

Consider the destination of income from images, such as contribution back to the community.

 

Creating impact: New visual perspectives on the climate crisis

Zoom Webinar, 30 June 2021, 15:30-17:00 BST – Registration Link

This symposium will explore three urgent questions on how to create impactful communications on the climate crisis, in advance of the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 (COP26) to be held in Glasgow, Scotland starting 1 November:

  • How can visual images and stories impact the climate crisis agenda?
  • Are there new global voices and perspectives emerging?
  • How can images improve public engagement ahead of COP26?

Hosted by VII Insider, the symposium is a collaboration between Climate Visuals, University of the Arts London’s Photography and Arts Research Centre, Slideluck Editorial, and the VII Foundation.

This hour-long event will also introduce the Climate Visuals programme, its evidence base, and preview submissions to ‘Visualizing Climate Change: An Open Call for Photography’, which is a partnership with TED Countdown.

The Open Call is accepting submissions until 30th June and will distribute a total licensing fund of US $100,000 directly to photographers – professional and amateur – to build a diverse collection of powerful images of climate solutions from around the world that cover five key themes: energy, transport, materials, food, and nature. In the lead-up to COP26, this collection will be open access to climate communicators and editorial media via the new Climate Visuals library.

Moderator:

Paul Lowe

Participants and Agenda:

Toby Smith, Climate Visuals (15 minutes)

Introduction to Climate Visuals, its evidence base on impact, and the concept behind the ‘Visualizing Climate Change’ initiative

Maria Teresa Salvati, Slideluck Editorial (15 minutes)

A personal selection from the Open Call highlighting new voices and perspectives on climate change 

Nichole Sobecki (15 minutes)

Recent photographic work on the climate crisis 

Moderated Q&A (20 minutes)

Registration Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_VkXcx0XlQFerZhLnSJG6pw

Climate photography: a cool future for India’s dairy farmers?

Join Ashden, Climate Visuals, and LCAW as we use striking photography from rural India to explore the challenges faced by farmers living without access to refrigeration.

Thursday 1 July, 3.30-4.30pm BST

Register now

Around the world, more than 2.3 billion people go without clean and efficient cooling – often damaging their health and ability to earn a living. Proven, practical, and affordable solutions to the problem exist and must be scaled up as global temperatures rise.

Photographer Prashanth Vishwanathan (New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek, Time) will discuss his images of the people at the heart of this story – while Jiten Ghelani, CEO of Promethean Power Systems, will share the inclusive solutions that can help even the most marginalised farmers.

They will be joined by experts in cooling and climate storytelling to talk about the growing danger of heat stress around the world, solutions to this problem, and how inclusive communications focused on the lives of those most at risk can accelerate progress.

This event is presented by the Ashden Fair Cooling Fund (supported by K-CEP) – an initiative bringing affordable, sustainable cooling to those most at risk around the world. Please join us for a fascinating session, particularly relevant to anyone interested in cooling, climate, or development, in India and beyond.

The panel:

Host: Ellen Dobbs, Programme Manager, Ashden
Climate and development photographer Prashanth Vishwanathan
Jiten Ghelani, CEO of Promethean Power Systems
Toby Smith, Senior Programme Lead at climate photography consultancy Climate Visuals

Climate Visuals Newsletter

Dear Climate Visuals users and photographers,

This is your chance to help us find more photographers and enter your own images into our ‘Visualising Climate Open Call’! Once closed, our judges will convene to select 100 images, each to receive a $1,000 fee, creating an incredible, accessible collection of climate images and global stories.

Shaban Mwinji, a community scout ranger, in Ukunda, Kenya. Standing in a restored Mangrove Forest by Mikoko Pamoja. Mikoko Pamoja is a community-led mangrove conservation and restoration project based in southern Kenya and the world’s first blue carbon project. It aims to provide long-term incentives for mangrove protection and restoration through community involvement and benefit. Photo Credit: Anthony Ochieng / TonyWild / Climate Visual Countdown

 

We’ve received thousands of incredible images from every corner of the world – with some in this mail – but know there are more incredible images and stories of climate solutions and we’d love to see them!  Our final collection will be featured in an exhibition at TED Countdown Summit and COP26 and made accessible to the global editorial media, climate campaigners, and communicators.

 

Heihe, China (23rd December 2017): Taking the future for a test spin in one of the coldest regions on earth. This is the site of winter testing for a number of electric-car manufacturers, as this prototype of Chinese Slovenian joint venture APG Elaphe. Photo credit: Matjaz Krivic / Climate Visuals Countdown

 

This is your opportunity to contribute or share an opportunity to help address climate change using photography.  Share our submissions link, call on Twitter, Instagram or  LinkedIn

My wife and son visiting a melon garden in a glasshouse in Bogor, Indonesia. Sustainable farming such as these have become even more common during this pandemic. We took our son to this place for educating him on fruits and vegetables and how to grow them as online education put a stop to many school-organised field trips.
Photo credit: Pramod Kanakath / Climate Visuals Countdown

 

Finally, if you have already uploaded images – make sure you click ‘Complete Entry’ and have received the on-screen confirmation. Your images must be both uploaded and fully submitted into the system. 

 

Thank you and good luck!

 

Toby Smith

 

Visualizing Climate Change: An Open Call for Photography

Visualizing Climate Change: An Open Call for Photography

We're thrilled to launch ‘Visualizing Climate Change: An Open Call for Photography’ with TED Countdown to source, license and promote 100 powerful and diverse images of climate solutions from around the world.

In the lead-up to COP26, we will be supporting climate change photographers,  communicators, organisations and campaigners who have long struggled to create, access or afford quality visual content. 

This initiative will distribute a total licensing fund of US $100,000 directly to the photographers - professional and amateur - whose images are chosen by our independent jury.

In time for this and other new projects and partnerships, we've also launched a brand new Climate Visuals image library. The new site provides a more advanced search functionality including keywords, country, theme, date, license type and source. Users can also now register in order to see and access content that is ‘rights ready’ for their profile and needs, as well as save, download and collaborate on their image selections across multiple lightboxes. 

Submissions open:    1  June

Submissions close:     30 June

To receive the latest updates register now at Climate Visuals and ‘opt-in’ to our newsletter.

New Climate Visuals library

Welcome to the new Climate Visuals website and image library

Welcome to the new, expanded and improved Climate Visuals website and image library - a unique and trusted source of evidence and images for over 350 climate change and environmental groups, journalists, educators and businesses.   

Since our launch in 2016, our collection has grown to host over 1,000 Creative Commons and rights managed images - all content that embodies our evidence-based 7 Climate Visuals principles.   These guidelines and exemplary images help ensure photographers, commissioners and editors can find and select photography that goes beyond illustration towards positive impact. 

In April we relaunched our image library to maximise user and search functionality, creating new digital architecture to underpin four new major projects and partnerships for 2021 and COP26. The system is a customised word-press interface and digital asset management (DAM) platform provided by Capture  and gratefully funded by the KR Foundation

After registration, library users can now see and access content that is ‘rights ready’ for their profile and needs -  searching in combination by keywords,  country, theme, causes, impacts, solutions, date, license type and source.  Users can also save, download and collaborate on their image selections across multiple light boxes and share selected images directly to social media. 

Over the next six months, we plan to grow the library substantially with new partnerships and contributors, whilst rolling out customised climate-change keywords and vocabulary. This strategy and search tool will make our content even more accessible but also enable us to target and support both emerging and urgent climate narratives with the best visual content.   Our Climate Visuals research and full reports can now be found on the main Climate Outreach website, freeing up the Climate Visuals news pages for accessible summaries and news from across visual media. 

New York Climate Week Event: Climate Visuals Documenting Solutions

The power of imagery to communicate the urgency of acting now

In one of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication‘s most popular webinars, Toby Smith, our Senior Programme Lead for Visuals and Media, discusses how visual people-centred narratives and positive solutions drive strong climate communications.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year: a call for action

Wildlife Photographer of the Year: A call for entries and action

As the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition retires its Earth’s Environments, Creative Visions and Black and White categories, Competition Manager Gemma Ward shares what’s new for this year.

Three new categories will be introduced for Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Natural Artistry, Wetlands – The Bigger Picture and Oceans – The Bigger Picture. It is hoped that they will create a call for action for the competition and shine a light on some of the world’s most vital ecosystems.

Inspired by new strategies from both the Natural History Museum and the competition, Gemma believes that these new categories will help to ‘engage the public with climate issues and also attract the images that are telling these important stories and which have a strong message’.

‘We have also simplified the titles of the Wildlife Photojournalism and Wildlife Photojournalist Story Award categories to Photojournalism, to make it clear that the coverage is environmental in the broadest sense and not restricted to wildlife conservation and welfare issues’ Gemma explained.

‘There are so many crucial stories to be told and there’s more and more of these images being awarded.’

Ecosystems in focus

Following the museum’s declaration of a planetary emergency in January 2020, Gemma wanted to expand on how the competition engages the public in climate issues.

‘My initial thought was to have a climate change category,’ she says, ‘but then when I did some research, I found that actually it’s a very hard topic to photograph. There are very few photographers actually shooting climate change and we could potentially just have a category of flooding, droughts and fires.

‘They’re important pictures and we have our photojournalism category for them, but really I felt like what we needed to do was to delve deeper and this is where the focus on Oceans and Wetlands, as new categories for the competition, has come from.

 Sewage surfer was a finalist in the 2017 Wildlife Photojournalism category.
Photo credit: Justin Hofman

‘These ecosystems are in need of a critical call for action for their protection’ Gemma says, ‘because both are seriously under threat, and Wetlands are disappearing pretty quickly, and so hopefully this will shine a spotlight on them and bring more awareness to their vital role in tackling climate change.

‘I think a lot of people don’t know much about them and the importance of them, this is where the competition and the photographers work together.

A new perspective

As Wildlife Photographer of the Year looks towards its fifty-seventh year, Gemma considers the growing popularity of conservation images among the public. She says, ‘What’s interesting is that the exhibition visitors are loving the wildlife photojournalism categories, so hopefully these new categories will fall into their hands as well because they obviously appreciate these important stories and this will provide more of that in the exhibition.’

 Palm-oil survivors won the 2017 Wildlife Photojournalism category.
Photo credit: Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski

Outside of the exhibition, conservation and photojournalism have also shone through in the People’s Choice Awards. Gemma explains, ‘For the last few years it’s the conservation images, voted for by the public, that have made the top five, and 10 years ago it would have always been the cute and cuddly or the pretty portraits, and so there is a real shift in the public’s perception and interest in conservation photography.’

This shift has been felt within the photography community as well. ‘A lot of wildlife photographers have felt that they wanted to do more storytelling pictures and that’s how a lot of conservation photographers have come about,’ Gemma adds.

With the natural world in crisis and ecosystems across the world facing destruction, it has never been more important to create advocates for the planet. Wildlife photographers are an important piece of that puzzle.

Is photography sufficient to communicate the climate emergency?

The third episode of the symposium ‘Visualizing Climate Change’,  jointly hosted by The Photography and the Archive Research Centre at the London College of CommunicationUniversity of the Arts LondonClimate VisualsSlideluck Editorial and the VII Photo Agency.

In our analysis and process discovery of how to effectively visualise climate change, we want to start from contemporary and documentary photography as our core medium to disseminate content around the current climate emergency. Furthermore, we want to draw new perimeters of knowledge around visualization and engagement, either by questioning the medium itself, or by using new disciplines and visual arts that go beyond photography.

Aware of the power of visual communication, there’s also a need to move the arts and humanities beyond the usual spaces and channels, as well as giving contemporary photography a social role. Considering the current global crisis, we want to reflect on ways to discover and produce new paradigms for communicating effectively, causes, consequences and solutions for climate change for the present and the future, leading to a long term cultural transition by unifying arts, ecological sustainability and social justice.

Schedule

Start Time: 15:00 GMT / 16:00 CET / 10:00 EST 26th November 2020

End Time: 17:00 GMT / 18:00 CET / 12:00 EST 26th November 2020

Moderation by Paul Lowe

  • Introduction Maria Teresa Salvati (10 mins)
  • Presentation of the Everything is Connected projects (50 mins)
  • Kublaiklan (10 mins)
  • Shado Magazine (10 mins)
  • Monica Alcazar-Duarte (10 mins)
  • Roundtable (30 mins)

Register here

Maria Teresa Salvati, Slideluck Editorial

Maria Teresa Salvati, founder and director of Slideluck Editorial will present the results and the current ramification of disciplines involved in the ‘Everything is Connected’ call launched back in February. The call focused on climate change, and specifically had the intention to force a reflection on the inextricable connection between human action and the climate crisis and so, on the impact each of us has in carrying out with the way we live; and, not less important, on how the climate emergency is also tethered with the unjust world we live in.

The ten selected projects make us travel everywhere in the world, and through personal gazes, documentation, creativity and inspiration, they try to define new meanings of “connection”.

‘Everything is Connected’ is also an experimentation around participatory narrative, which puts together unusual targets, different media and disciplines, with the aim to reach new and wider publics, hoping to create empathy and inspiring positive actions by touching heart and eyes, and seeing the connection between planetary health and human health.

 Isadora’s project project explores the human presence on the white continent, bringing out the absurdities & contradictions of the human species.
Photo credit: Isadora Romero

Rica Cerbarano, Kublaiklan

Kublaiklan collective explores widely accessible ways of interacting with photography and investigates contemporary visual culture through site specific installations, curatorial, educational and editorial activities.

“Through the eyes of children” is a project by Kublaiklan. In the occasion of the ’Everything is connected’ call, the curatorial collective has developed a version of it on the topic of climate change and environmental issues.

Kublaiklan’s goal is to encourage reflection on the use and perception of images today. How do we look at the images we are surrounded by everyday? To what extent is our gaze filtered by our social beliefs? And above all: is photography enough to express and illustrate the issue of climate change? Starting from these questions, “Through the eyes of children” is a project conducted with children aged 6 to 12, working with the idea of their unfiltered gaze; and, above all, this project wants to underline the ambiguous nature of images and the importance of involving children and young people as active participants in the discourse on visual education.

Hannah Robathan / Isabella Pearce, Shado Magazine

Shado Magazine is a multimedia platform driving change at the intersection of arts, activism and academia. We aim to create a culture-led system change through uniting the work of those working at the frontlines of social, political and cultural change, platforming those with lived experience.

Our response to the theme ‘Everything is Connected’ has been to focus on reframing conversations around climate change as climate justice: that is, recognising that the climate crisis is a social justice issue.

For this to happen, people who have historically been left out of the climate conversation need to be at the forefront of any discussion. This focuses on those who are disproportionately impacted by the physical impacts of climate change – but who, in a twisted irony, are the people who have contributed the least to the crisis yet are impacted the most.

Monica Alcazar-Duarte

Monica Alcazar-Duarte is a British-Mexican multi-disciplinary visual artist. In her projects she seamlessly mixes images and new technologies, such as Augmented Reality, to create multi-layered work. In recent years Monica has mainly focused on the human relationship with Nature and our current use of technology and science as an attempt to gain control over it. Through the use of interactive images Monica’s work engages audiences in the process of producing meaning through seemingly disconnected narratives.

Alcazar-Duarte’s work confronts our obsession with speed, growth and a better future, and highlights our collective failure in accepting Nature’s evolutionary systems and its slow but incremental change.

The Lit x Climate Visuals: flash fiction and poetry competition

In August 2020, The Literary Platform asked aspiring fiction writers and poets to submit their response to one of four photographs.

Our Climate Visuals team work with a range of photographers to document the changes, impacts and responses to climate change. Our aim is to inspire visual communicators across the world, to move away from clichéd images of polar bears, melting ice caps and factories, to catalyse a new – more compelling and diverse – visual language for climate change. Together, with The Lit, we selected four images from four different photographers, exploring a variety of regions and communities around the world, and their relationship with the changing climate.

The aim of the competition was to showcase some of the ways in which different disciplines and media cross-pollinate. We are therefore delighted to share the winning and shortlisted entries below.

The work of six winning writers – responding to each of the photographs through storytelling or poetry – was originally published in Issue 3 of The Lit.

Solmaz Daryani, from The Eyes of Earth (The Death of Lake Urmia), Iran

The Eyes of Earth (The Death of Lake Urmia), Iran
Photo credit: Solmaz Daryani
  • Lake Urmia – located in the northwest of Iran – was once the biggest salt lake in the Middle East.
  • Lake Urmia was once home to many birds, ducks, pelicans and flamingoes, as well as a popular destination for visitors.
  • During the past 20 years, climatic changes, intensive agriculture and dam construction have combined to transform the lake; approximately 80% of the lake has disappeared.
  • The Noah’s Ark was once the biggest pleasure boat on the lake.

Solmaz Daryani; Instagram: @solmazdaryani, Twitter: @SolmazDaryani

 

Greg Kahn, from 3 Millimeters, Maryland, USA

Vanishing forests, growing marsh, and ‘For Sale’ signs in front of homes. 3 Millimeters, Maryland, USA.
Photo credit: Greg Kahn / Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient
  • The Eastern Shore of Maryland is a short drive from Washington D.C. Its position means it was one of the first landed shores for colonial settlers.
  • Sea levels here are rising twice as fast as the global average.
  • Gradient sea walls, vegetation re-nourishment and education are among the efforts seeking to preserve natural habitat and homes in some locations along the coast; in other places along Chesapeake Bay the rising sea levels are irreversible.
  • Property values have fallen sharply in the most vulnerable areas, some have retreated from homes as the marsh land expands.

Greg Kahn, Instagram: @gregkahn, Twitter: @GregKahn

 

Aji Styawan, from Drowning Land, Demak Regency, Indonesia

  • The majority of the small islands among the 17,000 which make up the archipelago nation of Indonesia are only one meter above sea level.
  • In Demak Regency, Indonesia, local residents will spend around 5 to 10 million rupiahs a year to elevate their homes.
  • The ocean now engulfs thousands of hectares of land in some villages; farmers have become fishermen, as villagers have adapted to survive in different ways.
  • In a flooded public cemetery, the residents buried here are submerged by the rising sea that now surrounds their former homes.

Aji Styawan Instagram: @ajistyawan, Twitter: @adjiestyawan

 

Sophie Gerrard, The Flows, Caithness and Sutherland, Scotland

The Flows, Caithness and Sutherland, Scotland.
Photo credit: Sophie Gerrard
  • Flow Country is a peatland in the far north of mainland Scotland. Peatlands, a rare and unique habitat across the globe, hold almost 30 per cent of all terrestrial carbon.
  • Scotland’s peatland is widely considered to be the largest expanse of blanket peat bog in the world and the principal terrestrial carbon store in the UK.
  • In the Flow Country, incentives to make productive use of the peatland led to extensive forestry which dried and degraded the ecosystem.
  • Canes are used to create dams that maintain water levels in the Flow Country, helping restore the natural habitat.

Sophie Gerrard Instagram: @sophiegerrard, Twitter: @sophiegerrard_

Winning poet

Michaela Moclair for Abrasion

Winning fiction writer

George Harrison for Holding Out

Shortlisted poets

Clare Dwyer for Flow Country

Keiran Potter for Stolen Sugar

Shortlisted fiction writers

Clare Elwell for Salt Lakes

Sinead Price for Captain of the Sea

Climate Visuals Countdown: Open call for photography by TED Countdown & Climate Visuals

We’re delighted to announce that the Climate Visuals programme has partnered with TED Countdown – a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action – to launch an open call for photography.

Climate Visuals Countdown is a photography initiative created by TED Countdown and our Climate Visuals programme.

The open call in 2021 will source, license and promote 100 powerful images of climate change taken by both professional and amateur photographers from around the world. The final 100 images will be selected by an independent jury, and this initiative will distribute a total licensing fund of US $100,000 directly to the chosen photographers.

 

 Family in Demak Regency, Indonesia, in their flooded home
Photo credit: Aji Styawan / Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

Further details on the initiative will be announced in early 2021. Submissions will support the overall TED Countdown objective – to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. As with TED Countdown, the photography initiative will have five sub-themes that will be phased in during 2021: energy, transport, materials, food and nature.

The call for entries will ask photographers to submit work that embodies the Climate Visuals’ evidence base on how photography can most effectively maximize storytelling, increase engagement and encourage positive behavior change.

To make sure you don’t miss details about this call for photography as they are announced, sign up to the Climate Outreach newsletter!

Getty Images partners with Climate Visuals to launch guidelines helping brands and businesses use visuals which incite change

We’re delighted to announce Getty Images has partnered with our Climate Visuals programme to launch guidelines helping brands and businesses use visuals which incite change. Read Getty Images’ full press release below about this partnership and new research showing climate and sustainability are still a top concern despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

NEW YORK – October 7, 2020: Getty Images has today unveiled new research which shows that climate, and sustainability more broadly, are still key issues for people even amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The findings have been revealed in a second wave of research for Visual GPS, completed in conjunction with global market research firm YouGov.

The updated Visual GPS research reveals that 81% of people globally expect companies to be environmentally aware in all their advertising and communications. Even despite Covid-19, nearly all points on sustainability remained similar, if not higher than from previous data taken before Covid-19:

  • 91% of respondents today said they believe the way we treat our planet now will have a large impact on the future, compared to 92% from July 201
  • 69% of respondents today said they do everything they can do reduce their carbon footprint, an increase from 63% from July 2019
  • 85% of respondents today are worried about air pollution, compared to 84% from July 2019

”It is surprising and heartening that despite the huge change to people’s lifestyles and consumer behavior brought about by Covid-19, the environment and sustainability remain as important to people as they ever were. While interest in the environment waned in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the environment has become inextricably linked to wellness during the Covid-19 crisis.” – Dr Rebecca Swift, Global Head of Creative Insights at Getty Images

Visualising sustainability guidelines

In response to the Visual GPS research, Getty Images has partnered with Climate Visuals, the world’s only evidence-backed program for climate change photography, to present Visualizing Sustainability Guidelines. The guidelines below are linked to curated imagery of example content and give brands and businesses practical recommendations on how to find and use fresh and relevant visual content to communicate their commitment to sustainability and inspire their audiences to action.

Businesses have sustainability experts and/or Diversity & Inclusion experts but visual content relating to environmentalism and sustainability should not be separated from visual content that is inclusive and diverse. Representational strategies should extend to sustainability.

Climate change affects everyone across the globe, so intentionally include representation across ethnicity, class, age, sexual orientation, gender identification, religion and culture. Empower and feature all underrepresented voices. Break stereotypes of every kind.

Familiar images of melting icebergs and industrial chimney stacks can be popular symbols for signifying climate change, but they lose currency with repeated exposure. In addition to the classic symbolism, try expanding your scope with visuals that illustrate new sustainable concepts such as “circular economy”, “reusable” or “energy efficiency”.

Brands, eager to overcome the sense of helplessness many consumers feel, should focus on visual content that helps visualize the concrete actions, positive steps, outcomes and real solutions that will pave the way to a better, more sustainable future.

Content should reflect authentic stories, including both the positive and negative aspects of outcomes and activities of individuals, communities and businesses who are innovating and collaborating to achieve sustainability. From those who are making small lifestyle changes, to industries who are driving innovative sustainable initiatives and new technologies.

Creative content should show authentic individuals having real impact on a local level. Visuals highlighting individuals and groups at their best, relative to sustainability issues, personalize the stories for your target audience. Think about every aspect of the visual – whether it be an image, video or illustration – plastic straws, disposable coffee cups and plastic bags are elemental but undermine the sustainable message.

”In partnering with Getty Images on these new guidelines, we aim to  help brands and businesses take an evidence-based, solutions-focused approach to the climate crisis, visualizing the actions, objects, and ideas that are paving the way to a greener future.” – Toby Smith, Senior Program Lead: Visuals & Media at Climate Visuals

For more information on Visual GPS please visit https://creativeinsights.gettyimages.com/en/trends/sustainability

We’re supporting the Global Climate Strike

As an organisation dedicated to widening engagement with climate change, we’re fully behind the FridaysForFuture movement. Young people have demonstrated the power they have to drive public and political sentiment to back transformative climate action.

In turn, Climate Outreach has supported the movement by providing a training for its national representatives in how to hold effective climate conversations.

We welcome the opportunity to show solidarity with the young activists during the Global Climate Strike on September 20th and are enabling all our staff to support the strikers in whichever way feels appropriate to them. Staff taking part in the strike may for example be offering to support anyone wishing to gain confidence in talking climate – a key action in driving change.

Climate Outreach believes that climate change needs to be turned from a scientific reality into a social reality if we are going to take the necessary steps to safeguard our communities and environment. Public engagement is the key element for building social, political and economic change and requires action across the political and tactical spectrum.

Change often requires disruption. We note that protest movements have often played a critical role in historic system change and the furtherance of human rights – albeit using a wide range of tactics. As an organisation, Climate Outreach recognises and follows the law in all aspects of its operations.

New York Climate Week Event: Climate Visuals Documenting Solutions

 

The images that define climate change need to be both illustrative and impactful – narratives must move from causes and impacts to real solutions.

For this New York Climate Week webinar: Climate Visuals: Documenting Solutions,Toby Smith, will present the 7 Climate Visuals Principles; an accessible evidence based guide to climate change imagery that can maximise the power of storytelling, increase impact, engagement and ultimately encourage positive behaviour change.  Joining Toby will be Nana Kofi Acquah. Nana is a Ghanaian photographer working across Africa with direct experience of how solutions and positive, participatory narratives can catalyse long term climate and development action.

 
16th July 2019, Kpatua, Ghana Oxfam built a solar powered pump in Kpatua to help over families become more resilient during dry seasons. Apart from community memberscoming to the pump twice a day, all year round, during the dry season, women use the water from the pump to farm vegetables for sale.
Photo credit: Nana Kofi Acquah

Toby and Nana are currently working together on a project with Ashden to document sustainable cooling solutions in Ghana and India. They will draw on their rich experience, expertise and examples of visual storytelling in a facilitated webinar format with space for audience questions, participation and discussion.

Call for Diversity, equity and inclusion specialist(s)

 

This position is now closed

We are seeking Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) specialists to provide advice on 3 projects under the Climate Visuals programme on a contract basis. These roles are suitable for DEI specialists who are available to work on an ad hoc basis.

This brief includes responsibilities for 3 different projects. We are not expecting one specialist to advise 3 projects. We are looking for the right candidate for each project with relevant skills and knowledge built from academic, professional or personally developed experience.

If you are interested in this role, please send your CV with details of 2 referees to recruitment@climateoutreach.org. In your email please specify the project(s) you are interested in and your price quotation. We are unable to pay above the budget indicated under each project. If you are shortlisted, we will get in touch with you with detailed project briefs and expected deliverables. We are looking to fill these roles as soon as possible, therefore we will close applications as soon as the positions are filled.

Contract type: Consultant contract (Asap in Sept 2020 to 30 Apr 2021). With the right candidate, we see this advisory role extending into other areas of work at Climate Outreach subject to funding

Works with: Climate Visuals Team and Climate Outreach Project Manager

Hours of work: Flexible, various pipeline projects requiring periodic inputs from Sept 2020 to Apr 2021

Available for meetings with at least 3 hours overlap between 9am to 6pm GMT/UK time as the Climate Visuals team work during these hours.

Location: Remote, providing advice primarily to UK/EU-based teams

Pay: Please see below for project budget envelopes

Climate Outreach is a team of social scientists and communication specialists working to widen and deepen public engagement with climate change. Through our research, practical guides and consultancy services, our organisation helps other organisations communicate about climate change in ways that resonate with the values of their audiences. Climate Visuals is a programme by Climate Outreach and it is the world’s only evidence-backed programme for climate change photography.

Climate Visuals is committed to ensuring that the entire programme is inclusive and equitable to everyone. The main focus of this role will be to work with the Climate Visuals Lead, project managers and external collaborating partners to ensure design and execution of projects are equitable and inclusive to a diverse range of audiences. Climate Visuals works with professional & amateur photographers, media specialists, academics, researchers, influencers, climate change organisations and communicators from a diverse range of communities from across the globe.

We are looking for a passionate Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) specialist/s to advise on ensuring that the projects detailed below are equitable and inclusive.

Diversity and inclusion

We are looking for passionate Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) specialists to advise on ensuring that the projects detailed below are equitable and inclusive. Climate Outreach is committed to providing equal employment opportunity in all of its employment programs and decisions. We recognise that a diverse and inclusive movement is critical to solving climate change, and that we must ensure that those directly impacted – particularly those who have been excluded in the past – are at the centre of the movement for change. We do our best to make staff positions accessible to all potential team members, regardless of race, colour, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, assigned gender, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation or identity, religion or creed, veteran status, and marital or parental status. We strive to recruit team members and consultants from communities most impacted by climate change or impacted by other kinds of environmental, social, and economic injustice. We therefore strongly encourage applications from people of colour, women, LGBTQ people and members of marginalised communities.

Person specification (for all projects)

Essential

– Passion for photography and storytelling through imagery.

– Confidence to challenge, disrupt and adapt systemic or established practices with a view to implementing positive change.

– Advocate for equal rights and inclusiveness.

– A passion for climate change engagement, and an interest in learning Climate Visuals’ key principles and in advocating them to others.

– Good computer skills, visual literacy and familiarity with programmes in G Suite and online picture research.

– Excellent at time and task management.

– Verbal, written and presentation skills.

– Understanding of diversity of communications through direct publishing, traditional media, online and social media.

Desirable:

– Experience of issues regarding photographic and media representation.

– Experience in working with the media, non-profit or communication organisations.

– 3 years’ experience in project consultation on diversity, equity & inclusion.

– A masters level qualification in the subject of diversity, equity & inclusion or in a similar/equivalent subject. Alternatively, studying for a similar qualification or doing research work on a similar subject.

Project briefs

Project 1

Budget £1,480

Project period: from September 2020 to April 2021

The ultimate purpose of this project is to connect global media and communications professionals with the most appropriate, impactful and effective imagery on climate change, including those regarding the issues of climate solutions, land use and conservation.

Climate Visuals is producing a co-authored report investigating how the 7 Climate Visuals Principles (CVPs) can be applied or extended to depicting forests, lands, and indigenous rights as climate solutions at a global level, with a particular focus on Brazil and Indonesia. Starting with the original Climate Visuals research and updated evidence from the 2020 “Visualising Climate Hackathon”, the white paper will explore best photographic practice for depicting in a global context:

  • Natural climate solutions, forests and deforestation
  • Indigenous communities and their relationship to climate and environmental issues
  • Land use and land rights issues

The methodology will include, but is not limited to, extending the evidence base of Climate Visuals using the new report, before curating substantial photography collections from major online image libraries. Final deliverables will be agreed following this first phase of the project, and may include producing a public ‘search-engine’ user guide.

Responsibilities / deliverables:

  • Advise on participatory research and drafting process with indigenous peoples, including desk research, online stakeholder interviews and roundtables, and presentation within an accessible format.
  • Advise on curation of substantial photography collections reflecting: land use, land rights issues, forests, deforestation, natural climate solutions, indigenous communities and their relationship to climate and environmental issues.
  • (Subject to definition of final deliverables): Advise on the creation of an online best-practice guide to the use of search engines to identify the most appropriate, impactful and effective imagery.
  • Participate in the evaluation of the overall project to identify learnings to inform future project practices.

Person specification:

Essential 

  • Understanding of diversity and inclusion issues that indigenous communities in Brazil and Indonesia face, particularly in relation to climate and environmental issues.
  • Understanding of wider diversity, inclusion and representation considerations, including risk issues, in the photographic depiction of land use and land rights issues; forests, deforestation and natural climate solutions; and indigenous communities and their relationship to climate and environmental issues.
  • Experience in guiding the design phase of participatory research (desk research, interviews, collaborative reviews) to ensure inclusiveness and meaningful participation of underrepresented communities.
  • Knowledge in drafting accessible and inclusive online instructional materials or guides.
  • Experience in working with multiple partner/stakeholder projects across time-zones and languages.
  • Experience of online outreach work or digital inclusiveness.

Desirable 

  • Awareness of land use, land rights issues, forests, deforestation and natural climate solutions in Brazil and Indonesia.

 

Project 2

Budget £2,170

Project period: from September 2020 to February 2021

In collaboration with a major Climate Change and Communication Foundation, Climate Visuals will design and run an ambitious global, public, accessible photography project to catalyse, stimulate, curate and select images to support a major programme of events and public engagement in Climate Change issues. This project will run in the year prior to COP26, with a view to significantly influencing the availability and uptake of imagery by key communications organisations and media outlets. The project seeks to catalyse, find, reward and raise the profile of diverse and representative local photographers from across the globe.

Responsibilities / deliverables:

  • Provide steering advice and methodological review to maximise the inclusivity, accessibility and geographic reach of the overall project design.
  • Review the online Climate Visuals resources and photographic briefs to maximise the accessibility and inclusivity of these materials.
  • Advise on the creation of an independent, diverse and representative judging panel and on the accompanying back-end digital systems to ensure equality and transparency.
  • Assist in identifying appropriate PR organisations to partner with from professional and amateur photography circles.

Person specification

Essential: 

  • Understanding of diversity and inclusion issues at a global level with particular attention to the needs, interests and systemic barriers that photographers (across all levels of expertise) face in producing and publishing images related to climate change.
  • Experience of online outreach work or digital inclusiveness.
  • Knowledge in drafting accessible and inclusive instructional materials, guides, terms and conditions.
  • Experience in a global digitally-based contest design, including jury selection.
  • Experience in working with multiple partner/stakeholder projects.

 

Project 3 (subject to funding agreement)

Budget £2,450

Project period: from September 2020 to December 2020

Climate Visuals is working to increase and diversify audience engagement with natural spaces in England to better represent contemporary users and uses of the natural environment in England, by providing an evidence-based and representative image library that will enable efforts around engaging people with the natural environment to be more impactful. Through doing so, it will also increase and diversify public engagement with climate change issues.

As an initial step, we will run a stakeholder roundtable in November 2020 to convene senior representatives from UK nature-related organisations and communication teams to test our ideas around users and uses of the natural environment and the degree of representation within the current available image library, and also to scope out how best to approach this work, considering outreach, methods and appetite to be involved.

Responsibilities / deliverables:

  • Design, convene, coordinate, deliver and report on a stakeholder roundtable to explore current diversity issues in UK nature-related photography and assess future directions for collaboration.
  • Contribute fresh ideas on the subject of natural environment users and improving representative images in the space of natural environment.
  • Advise on improving representation of photographers and imagery from BAME communities in the photography sector, with specific emphasis on climate change and biodiversity loss.

Person specification:

Essential

  • Experience in designing, convening and facilitating accessible stakeholder roundtables, ensuring meaningful participation and documentation.
  • Understanding of diversity and inclusion issues for BAME groups in equitably accessing natural spaces in England.
  • Understanding of diversity and inclusion issues more widely within photography considering both issues of representation and the industry structure. .
  • Understanding of the interests and barriers for UK-based stakeholders in making use of representative, contemporary imagery to promote increased public access to natural spaces and awareness of climate change and biodiversity loss.
  • Understanding of the barriers photographers from BAME communities face within climate change campaigning space.

Enter The Climate Visuals Photography Award

The images that define climate change shape the way it is understood and acted upon. However, polar bears, melting ice and arrays of smoke stacks don’t convey the urgent human stories at the heart of the issue. Based on international social research, Climate Visuals provides 7 principles for a more diverse, relatable and compelling visual language for climate change.

We want to recognise existing and outstanding imagery with impact at our inaugural Climate Visuals Photography Award.  Entry to our competition is free, democratic, has ethical terms and conditions and a healthy £1000 cash prize.   We are looking for  photographers – amateur or professional – who have successfully engaged audiences with climate change,  its causes, impacts, and/or solutions.

Photographers will be judged on how well their photography embodies the 7 principles of visual climate change communication. The judges will also consider how effectively and widely their images have been published, shared, exhibited or innovatively presented.

A maximum of 5 photographs can be submitted. However, they will be scored individually. All photographs submitted will be randomised as single images amongst all other entries and entrants before judging.

Who should apply?

Anybody is welcome to apply – professional or amateur photographer. Applicants must be over the age of 18.

Interested in applying? 

Have a look at the application form, T&Cs and FAQs

Climate Visuals Photography Award Judges

Nicole Itano is the new Executive Director of  tve. Prior to that, she was WWF-UK’s Director of Media and Content, headed Save the Children UK’s creative team, and also spent a decade in international journalism where she reported from more than 50 countries for many of the world’s leading media outlets.

Kirstin Kidd is a Picture Editor at the Economist. She has over 10 years experience working on print magazines, book and online sector.  This includes New Scientist Magazine where Kirstin worked on long-term, in-depth picture research, as well as the fast-paced news agenda that required both commissioning and sourcing photography.

Eric Hilaire is the Environment, Science and Global Development Picture Editor at The Guardian. Previously, Eric lived in Hong Kong, where he began his career as a newspaper picture editor.

Toby Smith is the Climate Visuals Programme Lead and Media Liaison. He has 12 years experience as an award-winning Environmental Photographer who focuses on building innovative, global stories through collaboration and publication in leading editorial outlets.

 

 

*This is one of 4 categories being celebrated at Climate Outreach’s Climate Communication Awards.

Global Climate Solutions Imagery from the Ashden Winners

The Climate Visuals image library is built on the evolving evidence of what makes impactful,  not just illustrative, climate change photography.  A rapidly growing collection of over 1200 images are referenced from a broad range of sources and agencies, with a balance between Rights Managed and Creative Commons licensing types to suit different budgets and usages. 

Thousands of communication professionals access the library every month sourcing images for their campaigns, websites, reports and posts on social media. The images are organised into climate causes, impacts and solutions with accompanying text both captioning and placing the context of the image but also expanding on which of the seven Climate Visuals Principles are in action

 

Birmingham residents using free bikes provided by The Active Well-Being Society, 2017 UK Ashden Award for Clean Air in Towns and Cities.
Photo credit: The Active Well-Being Society / Ashden

The wider climate narrative and global media needs ongoing support to move the needle away from negative stories of causes and impacts to one of optimistic and realistic climate solutions. Explored in depth within our editorial  ‘Why Can’t The Media Visualise Climate Solutions?’  recent efforts to expand the library have since focused on identifying and filling content gaps while prioritising unpublished solution stories.

 Solar panel installation. Renewable Energy 4 Devon –  2009 Ashden Award winners
Photo credit: Andrew Aitchenson / Ashden 

Ashden, a non-for-profit based in London has a mission ‘to accelerate transformative climate solutions and build a more just world.’ Since 2001 the annual Ashden Awards have recognised over 225 global organisations tackling climate change, energy access, efficiency and storage.  All of their winners are clearly catalogued and profiled online which has, behind the scenes, included the building of an incredible, inclusive, diverse and positive photography archive, both with direct commissioning and soliciting or adopting visual content from the winners themselves. Climate Visuals Programme Lead, Toby Smith, was invited to dive into the archive with a view to making the collection a public resource.

“Ashden has long been unearthing, verifying and championing diverse, real-world climate solutions through the organisations and people driving them forwards. Their enormous photography archive is an absolute treasure trove of honest,  narrative-based, visual content that was desperate to be made public.  There was no question or hesitation of an immediate partnership between Climate Visuals and Ashden to host, launch and make their work accessible within our library to support wider climate communication efforts worldwide.”

Toby Smith, Climate Outreach, Visuals and Media Programme Lead

 Woman stood next to her crops in her greenhouse. GERES NGO – 2009 Ashden Award winners.
Photo by: Martin Wright / Ashden 

Ashden Director of Communications Jo Walton said: “Powerful images are a crucial weapon in our fight against the climate crisis. So we are delighted to work with Climate Visuals to share revealing, thought-provoking and inspiring images of climate solutions in the UK and around the world. Like Climate Visuals, we believe that great change starts with great storytelling. And we’re delighted to the tell the stories of front line climate innovators – true heroes leading us towards a low-carbon future”

Climate Visuals have edited over 170 quality images from an archive of over 2000, carefully enriching every frame with detailed factual or contextual captions and supplementary information of how it measures against our research into impact. The Ashden collection is now available on the Climate Visual Library and is technically a Rights Managed collection.  However, Ashden are kindly allowing unrestricted download of images from their Flickr pages, granting permissions for free usage and publication of the content so long as it is ‘for public good and in context of climate change and/or climate solutions.’  Users of the images should also clearly credit the images in the format ‘Photo by:  Photographer Name / Ashden’.

“The next stage of our Climate Visuals collaboration will tackle the urgent need for sustainable cooling in an ever-warmer world. We look forward to producing a series of moving and insightful images illuminating this crucial challenge.” 

Craig Burnett – Senior Communications Officer – Ashden

 Women harvesting crops outside shaded nets. Rajastan Horticulture Development Society – 2014 Ashden Award nominees.
Photo by: Ashden

The Environmental Sublime

Symposium, Visualizing Climate Change:

Episode 2: The Environmental Sublime

The event is hosted jointly by The Photography and the Archive Research Centre at the London College of CommunicationUniversity of the Arts LondonClimate VisualsSlideluck Editorial and the VII Photo Agency.

The ‘sublime’ is a concept and cultural practice that has influenced the western understanding, engagement, representation, ethic, and aesthetic in art since the seventeenth century. Throughout history, the role of the sublime has influenced how citizens aesthetically view images of pain and horror as interesting and ‘beautiful’, as long as the spectator is safe from danger.

The proliferation of image-making and sharing in the past years have made viewers more accustomed to seeing images of destruction, violence or ice-melting, with the risk of letting the spectators consume the story aesthetically rather than politically.

Has the role of the ‘sublime’ and aesthetics changed in documenting and visualising pain, horror and danger, over the years? Through examples and the witnessing of contemporary photographers, we’ll try to understand and raise questions, hoping to identify a balance between content, ethics and aesthetics, and the fundamental need for documentary photography visualising climate change, to engage, create empathy and inspire positive actions.

This symposium will explore strategies that combine a distinctive visual strategy with a campaigning ethos and examine how audiences might respond to work in spaces outside of mainstream media alone.

  Carbon Pigment Inkjet-Prints from 6 x 6 negatives, 2015. Triptych, 1/5. 112,5 x 337,5 cms. Exhibition view «Daniel Schwartz. Glacier Odyssey», 2018. Courtesy: Bündner Kunstmuseum, Chur, Switzerland, and Calle Services Management Ltd, Zurich.
Photo credit: Daniel Schwartz / VII.  Rhone Glacier. Switzerland. 3 September 2014.

Schedule

Moderation by Paul Lowe

  • 16.00-16.15 CEST Introduction by Maria Teresa Salvati
  • 16.15-16.35 Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure
  • 16.35-16.55 Simon Norfolk
  • 16.55-17.15 Daniel Schwartz
  • 17.15-17.35 Solmaz Daryani
  • 17.35-18.00 Panel discussion

Klaus Thymann/Project Pressure

Danish born Klaus Thymann is a multi-award-winning photographer, filmmaker, writer and creative director. He has developed an original viewpoint having worked across a wide range of subjects and media, utilising a cross-disciplinary skill-set combining journalism, image-making, mapping, documentary and exploration with a focus on contemporary issues and climate crisis. Delivering original content and installations across multiple platforms for Institutions, brands, NGOs and media.

Project Pressure is a charity with a mission to visualize the climate crisis. We use art as a positive touch-point to inspire action and behavioural change. Unlike wildfires and flooding, glaciers are not part of the weather system and when looking at glacier mass loss over time, one can see the result of global heating. This makes glaciers key indicators of the climate crisis and the focus of our work.

Since 2008 Project Pressure has been commissioning world-renowned artists to conduct expeditions around the world for the purpose of creating an exhibition visualizing the climate crisis. The artists represented in the exhibition have taken on the role of investigators of Earth’s increasingly unstable environment – creating eye-opening work that endeavours to incite social and political change. The projects were developed and executed with scientists to ensure accuracy, resulting in work from every continent on the planet.

Project Pressure has pioneered innovative, new technological strategies and forged partnerships with the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In 2011, Project Pressure was recognized as an official contributor to the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers (GTN-G).

With more than 30 countries and territories visited, Project Pressure has generated reoccurring media coverage in The Guardian, BBC, NY Times, CNN, Le Monde, Wired and National Geographic amongst many others.

 Photo credit: Simon Norfolk / Klaus Thymann. Shroud, 2018.

Simon Norfolk

In October 2014 Simon Norfolk traced the previous glacial area of Lewis Glacier, Mount Kenya, using fire to show the 1965 glacier extent. The result are comparative images representing the historic as well as the current glacial front. In utilising a dramatic juxtaposition of elements alongside a simple message, Norfolk produced highly potent artwork. This series was the winner of the Sony World Photography Award 2015 (landscape category).

In an attempt to preserve an ice-grotto tourist attraction at the Rhône Glacier, local Swiss entrepreneurs wrapped a significant section of the ice-body in a thermal blanket. In their collaborative work, Simon Norfolk and Klaus Thymann address financial issues as driving forces behind human adaptation to the changing climate. The title Shroud refers to the melting glacier under its death cloak. In addition, a thermal image time-lapse film was created, showing how glaciers compare to the surrounding landscape by only reacting to long-term temperature changes, as opposed to weather fluctuations.

Daniel Schwartz

The presentation will briefly retrace my personal journey of thirty years on humanity’s troubled path of progress, a process to become manifest in the climate crisis. While the Fires Burn. A Glacier Odyssey, begun in 2009, published in 2017 and being the main topic of my presentation leads from the relics of Holocene glaciation in Switzerland into the milieu of the Anthropocene, to collapsing glaciers on three continents. This project is the counterpart and continuation of Delta. The Perils, Profits and Politics of Water in South and Southeast Asia (1997). The early photojournalistic documentation turned out to be »a visual “j’accuse”« (Financial Times). The more recent project on the agony of the cryosphere lead to a “glaciology in pictures,” and a synthesis of scientific observation and artistic action. Here, for the first time, the “explanatory,” geometrically true aviatic perspective shapes the photographic image. Its terrestrial counterpart is the new media experience of exploration on foot and by bicycle (symbolizing a technological advance that is also environmentally sound), which thus become instruments of “walkscapes” and “bikescapes.” These works, viewed in conjunction with the textworks and as a supplement to the (photographically reproducible) landscapes situated firmly in the present, yield an “anticipatory review”: They home in on events and occurrences archived in glacial time that transcend geological strata and human memory spans, and by calling to mind prehistorical glaciation afford a foretaste of the next ice age, some 15,000 to 50,000 years hence. It is in the nature of glaciers to advance and retreat. Today, however, glaciers can lose their gate faster than a child learns to talk, and that can feel like a personal loss. The collapse of the stagnating ice of glaciers, whose reaction to climate change is delayed, means a collapse of the time frozen within it all over again. Not just my own lifetime since those days in the deltas a quarter of a century ago, but also the timespan punctuated by conferences, treaties, and protocols, during which greenhouse gas emissions actually rose by 40 per cent and politicians proved themselves incapable of taking concerted preventative action, while a million fires burn.

Solmaz Daryani

Solmaz is a self-taught Iranian documentary photographer based in Tabriz, Iran and Newcastle, UK. Her personal work explores the connections between socio-economic drought, climate change migration, water crisis, and the environment in her native Iran. She has a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science from Islamic Azad University in Tehran, Iran.

Through her work, she seeks to connect documentary photography and fictional storytelling, by exploring personal narratives that reveal characters and scenes in the communities that she is drawn towards. Her work has been published in National Geography Magazine, Foreign Policy Magazine, Polka Magazine, L’OBS Magazine, British Journal of Photography, Le Monde Magazine, Woman Paper Visa journal, Dutch geography schoolbook de Geo, Télérama Magazine, One World Magazine, The American Scholar Magazine, Emerge Magazine, Kel12 Magazine, Le Point Magazine and other publications.

In 2015, she received the IdeasTap and Magnum Photos Grant while working on the long-term project The Eyes of Earth, an investigation into the environmental and human impact of the drying of Lake Urmia which is one of the most unfortunate environmental disasters of Iran.

Climate Change and the Female Gaze

 

At this time of crisis, it is important to acknowledge the gendered nuances of the impact of climate change, and how women are playing leading roles in affirmative climate action.  This symposium brings together a range of women producing work that is challenging the stereotypes of the visual representation of climate change.

The event is hosted jointly by The Photography and the Archive Research Centre at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, Climate Visuals and the VII Photo Agency. It will include presentations from Nichole Sobecki from the VII Photo Agency, Eva Sajovic and Corinne Silva from Picturing Climate and Maria Teresa Salvati from Slideluck Editorial.

The Climate Visual’s evidence demonstrates that within the criteria for effective climate change visualization there is the need to have images that are emotionally powerful, and mostly representing real people, showing real emotions. Now more than ever we need to be aware of how much we are connected; not only in passively enduring the consequences of climate change and its catastrophic effects but also in the tangible possibility and hope that if we act the other way around, we can impact positively in reversing the trend. The story is making us see how vulnerable we all are.

The effects of the unjust planet we have created are forcing a further reflection on accepting the idea that we are so intrinsically connected with everything, and that we are inextricably part of nature, and in this, we are therefore part of the global problem, as well as the potential solution. As a consequence, it seems important to create empathy with the viewers.

In what ways can creative and personal interpretations of the connections between the self, to others, to animals, to the world around us, the Earth, be inspiring and thought-provoking from a visual storytelling perspective? Is this new perspective of visualizing climate change opening to a softer, kinder, more empathetic gaze, moving from the stereotypes of landscape and environmental photography mostly depicted by men?

Schedule

14.00 GMT / 15.00 BST / 16.00 CET / 10.00 EDT – Start

16.00 – 16.15 CET

Introduction by Maria Teresa Salvati and Brigitte Lardionis PARC

16.15-16.45 CET

Nichole Sobecki, VII Photo Agency

This is the story of the mother who didn’t flee civil war but fled the drought. The fisherman pushed into piracy by empty nets in a depleted, lawless sea. The young farmer who felt the pull of the militant group Al Shabab when his crops failed for multiple seasons.

 
A woman walks through a cactus field in a drought-stricken area of western Somaliland, a semi-autonomous region in the north of Somalia, on April 6, 2016.
Photo credit: Nichole Sobecki / VII

 

Climate change and environmental degradation are transforming Somalia, pushing people to desperate choices and violence. Somalis live and die depending on the amount of rain that falls each year. For generations, they have survived extreme conditions, relying on their traditions and community. A quarter-century of civil war tested those ties and challenged their resiliency. But rain falls less now, and the temperatures are rising.

“With this weather pattern, Somalia or Somalis will not survive,” said Fatima Jibrell, an environmental activist. “Maybe the land, a piece of desert called ‘Somalia,’ will exist on the map of the world, but Somalis cannot survive.”

Through photography, rare archival imagery and a documentary short, “A Climate for Conflict” explores the environmental roots of conflict in Somalia, and the ways its woes spill beyond its place on the map.

 

16.45-17.15 CET

Maria Teresa Salvati, Slideluck Editorial

Maria Teresa Salvati, director of Slideluck Editorial will present the third biennial global call launched by the platform, on the theme: Everything is Connected. The call is a reflection on how the events associated with climate change are inextricably connected with the way we live, eat, vote, consume, and act, but also with the unjust world we live in. The aim is to reflect on content, aesthetics and dissemination, exploring the social role contemporary and documentary photography can have.

One of the key questions at the moment is: in what ways can photography help to convey powerful messages and draw new perimeters of visions that can help us think, and use its most creative and comprehensive expression as a way to contribute to telling the stories of our times, create empathy, promote positive actions, and define new meanings of “connection”. So, why is climate change still a topic dominated mostly by the male gaze?

Info about the call is available here.

17.15-17.45 CET

Picturing Climate – Eva Sajovic and Corinne Silva

Picturing Climate brings together artists, researchers and grassroots arts organizations to explore the potential of participatory photography and video, narrative storytelling, and theatre as a means to share knowledges and experiences about the current effects of climate change. The first phase (November 2019 – November 2020) took place across Cuba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jordan, and the UK, culminating in a public program at Tate Modern’s Tate Exchange.

17.45-18.15 CET

Closing Panel Discussion with all the presenters moderated by Brigitte Lardinois PARC

 
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Climate Visuals Joins World Press Photo House Livecast #2

 

World Press Photo House #2: World Environment Day, Conversations with photographers and organizations that are advocating for a more impactful and engaging environment.

Friday 5th June is World Environment Day, which encourages worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment. This year, the main theme is ‘Time for Nature,’ with a focus on its role in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on Earth and human development.

For the second edition of the World Press Photo House livecast, WPP invited photographers and organizations that are advocating for more impactful, engaging environment and conservation photography to talk about their initiatives and projects.

Toby Smith, Climate Visuals Programme Lead, will present an introduction to the 7 Climate Visuals Principles, an accessible evidence based guide to what makes not just illustrative but truly impactful imagery. This will be demonstrated with curated examples from the past Environment and Nature winners within the World Press Photo Collection. Finally, there will be a short reflection on the phenomenon of environmental photography during COVID and the challenges ahead as we emerge.

Moderated by Lars Boering, managing director of the World Press Photo Foundation, the program includes presentations from the following speakers, in addition to Toby Smith:

Cristina Mittermeier is the marine biologist and activist who pioneered the concept and field of conservation photography. Mittermeier founded the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) in 2005 to provide a platform for photographers working on environmental issues. In 2015, Mittermeier co-founded SeaLegacy, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the ocean.

In 2020, on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Mittermeier announced the most ambitious project of her career: Only One, a new collective of organizations that uses digital technology and visual storytelling to catalyze lasting cultural change, with the ultimate goal of conserving the world’s oceans from now into perpetuity. During her presentation, she will tell us more about this initiative and her work as a conservation photographer.

 Cristina Mittermeier, Mexico, conservation photographer, co-founder of Sea Legacy.
Photo credit: Cristina Mittermeier.

 

Esther Horvath is a Fellow at ILCP, member of The Photo Society and science photographer for Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany. Since 2015, Horvath has dedicated her photography to the polar regions, especially to the Arctic Ocean, documenting scientific expeditions and behind the scene science stories. She follows the work of multiple science groups that are working to better understand the changing polar regions.

In 2020, she was awarded 1st prize, singles in the Environment category of the 2020 Photo Contest for her photo ‘Polar Bear and her Cub’. During her talk, she will tell us the story behind her awarded image and discuss her work in the Arctic Ocean.

In addition, Jerzy Brinkhof, World Press Photo exhibitions manager, will tell the stories behind some of the awarded images in the Nature and Environment categories of the 2020 Photo Contest. Edie Peters, manager of the PhotoQ Bookshop, will present one of the nature and environment photo books to watch out for in 2020.

 The Carbon Threat. Josiah Olemaun, a young whaler, takes a break from stacking whale meat in the family ice cellar in Utqiaġvik, Alaska, United States, on 29 April 2018. Thawing permafrost undermines house foundations, makes the landscape more difficult to navigate and causes ice cellars to flood and provisions to spoil.A single whale can feed a community for nearly a year, if the meat is properly stored.
Photo credit: Katie Orlinsky, United States, National Geographic.

The World Press Photo livecasts showcase the stories that matter to a global audience. Through a rich and diverse program of presentations, talks and discussions, we encourage diverse accounts of the world that present stories with different perspectives, educate the public and the profession on the making of stories, and encourage debate on their meaning.

Learn more and re-watch the first edition here.

Join us on 5 June at 10:00 EDT / 15:00 BST / 16.00 CEST. It’s #TimeforNature.

Covering the Climate Crisis from a Solutions Lens

Climate Visuals has collaborated with the INKLINE and Conservation Optimism on a virtual workshop and summary report  entitled ‘Covering the Climate Crisis from a Solutions Lens’.  Hosted as part of the Solutions Journalism Network’s LEDE Fellowship; the workshop asked a diverse group of climate activists, journalists and scientists;

‘How can we move away from the doom and gloom narrative and embrace a solutions lens?’

From apocalyptic headlines to photographs of forests burning down, the coverage of the climate crisis can leave audiences feeling overwhelmed and prone to burnout.’  This problem was approached collaboratively by looking at how we can facilitate greater knowledge exchange between diverse communicators to help make solutions more prevalent in the UK’s media landscape.

Eric from Repowering sat next to the solar panels on top of the Bannister House estate. Repowering London – 2016 Ashden Award winners.
Photo credit: Ashden

When asked why climate change solutions are not more prevalent in the news, attendees identified the following points as playing a key role:

  • Challenges of covering solutions: Many solutions are systemic, have long development timelines, and often require high-level policy and/or institutional interventions.
  • Limitations of the journalism system: Good news is often considered to be ‘fluffy journalism’ and solutions journalism is not yet embedded within the system.
  • Issues of clarity: Climate scientists are working with many nuances and complexities so it is hard for them to simplify multifaceted issues into potential solutions for journalists to cover effectively.
  • Limitations of the academic system: Academics and scientists can be isolated in their research and often do not have the time, skills, resources or connections to communicate to members of the media.
  • Commercial aspects of the journalism sector: From a commercial perspective, newsrooms/marketing teams often argue that solutions stories do not proliferate as well as other types of stories.
Barry Aliman, 24 years old, bicycles with her baby to fetch water for her family, Sorobouly village near Boromo, Burkina Faso.
Photo credit: Ollivier Girard / CIFOR

The group then decided to focus on finding ways to mitigate the first two points (Challenges of covering solutions and Limitations of the journalism system) and identified a series of ways to address those challenges to help make solutions more prevalent in the UK’s media landscape.

Workers using new spinning wheels to make silk. Resham Sutra – 2019 Ashden Award winners.
Photo credit: Ashden

The full report, drafted by Julia Migne (Conservation Optimism) with inputs by Josh Ettinger (University of Oxford) and Toby Smith (Climate Outreach) is available to read and download below

Why Can’t The Media Visualise Climate Solutions?

This story is a part of Covering Climate Now’s week of coverage focused on climate solutions. Covering Climate Now is a global journalism initiative committed to strengthening coverage of the climate story. As a partner, Climate Visuals curated a library of solutions imagery made available to the 400 news outlets participating.

The hunger for images that show new and existing solutions to the climate crisis continues to grow exponentially as our collective awareness deepens.  But relevant and engaging imagery is hard, or even impossible, to source.

As a career photojournalist focused on environmental stories – researching, finding, chasing and shooting climate solutions is a provocation and frustration I have wrestled with personally for over a decade. Since August, I have also been consulting and editing professionally as I head-up the Climate Visuals programme (part of the non-profit Climate Outreach) that researches, advises and curates climate photography. Working with news editors and journalists on a topic that is under-reported at best has helped me better understand why climate solutions imagery is so stubbornly absent from the news stream.

The dominance of negative and even distressing content, which makes for popular and powerful news, can leave audiences with a sense of hopelessness. The stubborn dominance of clickbait and disaster coverage of climate is not a new observation. However, social science has long purported that promoting actionable solutions, particularly coupling them with these emotionally arresting stories of negative impact, helps promote a more effective and lasting positive reaction in readers.

Earlier this year, we hosted a Hackathon in conjunction with Exeter University convening a dozen academics specialising in climate change imagery, as well as industry professionals from both Getty Images and the World Press Photo Foundation. All are leading experts committed to refreshing and collating further evidence into what makes editorial climate photography not just illustrative but also impactful to viewers.

One of the key takeaways:  News and social media using high quality, relevant photography increases viewer engagement, saliency and likely its onwards sharing. However, save for the dwindling clutch of premium news titles, the ability to commission quality, new photography is made unaffordable against established and continuing cuts in publishing ad spend and funding. Lens-based reportage unequivocally requires the camera to travel to its story and has suffered disproportionately. The start of this unconcluded race to the bottom of image pricing was the debut of free online news.

 
The solar power is providing water purification, refrigerator for food and medicines, a computer for the community, and lights to frighten away the hyenas.
Photo credit Morgana Wingard / USAID / CC BY-NC 2.0

Confusingly, over the same period, photography has enjoyed rising cultural importance, becoming a ubiquitous medium and universal communication tool throughout society globally. Every graphical magazine, any branded news layout and every social media author requires and will include the strongest imagery they can afford or source – but not always legitimately. Recent analysis of news illustration suggests that the most popular and effective type of illustration for climate narratives is still traditional, authentic editorial photography.

Photography as a documentary medium cannot easily travel beyond the present as literature, interviews, opinion pieces or statistics on climate change delve into predictions. In order to talk in the future tense, photographers or editors must lean on illustrative or conceptual photography, without the gravity or authenticity to convince viewers. Worse still, news teams are often forced to illustrate climate solutions with the climate causes or impacts that  the solutions are designed to counter. This clash of tone between image and their headline is proven to undermine an article.

When turning a camera backwards on science, wielding the latest digital camera technology is ironically problematic. If a company is innovative and genuine, the positive benefit of granting access to a journalist is undeniable, but a camera’s high resolution mechanical eye risks espionage. If Musk, Bezos or those based in Cupertino were designing a solution to climate change, the first visual results would inevitably be released at a highly choreographed and scripted, share price-boosting stage show. These visuals are the bland, carefully choreographed and airbrushed lifestyle scenes designed to sell us a finished technology ‘solution’ once it is available on the market. Commercial imagery can reek of constructed values and veiled attempts at authenticity that feel contrived. Without real integrity, these images rarely ascend into the journalistic domain, nor buy our long term behavioural trust. The more interesting and believable stories on the details, endeavours and failures of climate solutions and those working to develop them remain hidden in research basements or patent applications.

 A technician makes adjustments to a wind turbine at the National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colorado. Technological climate solutions can lack emotion but revealing boththe engineering scale, human endeavour and dramatic interactions between them willresonate with a broader audience.
Photo credit: Dennis Schroeder / NREL / CC BY-NC 2.0

Many accepted and actionable climate solutions rely on personal or societal behaviour change, much of which is reductionist or physically subtle. Photography uniquely documents only a tiny chronological slice of shutter speed selected reality, and so struggles to convey any concept expressed as a change in frequency as opposed to static volume or scale. Part explaining why cyclists have long represented sustainable behaviour, dense gridlocked traffic indicates pollution and all environmentalists eat greens when interviewed over lunch. More natural or forest solution efforts, if implemented correctly, return habitat to its original, arguably undramatic, state.  Photographers and clients alike are seduced by images of tree planting as remedy, the well worn, critical moment when a sapling is placed back into the earth with human hands.

 

 Every Sunday, in Bogota, main roads are closed to vehicles.  Cycling is an obvious, aspirational solution with multiple climate and societal benefits but should be used to illustrate stories correctly and not over-used as a lazy metaphor for sustainability at large.
Photo credit: Plan Bici / Ashden 

 

In considering how to push past such clichéd traps, photographers need to remain patient, research more deeply and work in a manner closer to that of the written journalists they are drafted to support. As both transport and time are costly units we have all the more reason to empower local storytellers, ingrained with the values and sensitivities of their subject matter. Yet there are systemic failures of the photography industry to use local, ethnic or gender-balanced voices in reporting real global solutions. The issue is often one of connectivity and trust in the broadest sense. Localised professional news photographers in emerging economies, where many climate solutions are also emerging most organically, are often focussed on local or political reporting. We cannot assume they are free or even be able to work safely near state-controlled news agencies. The battle lines of the free press often track closely to the boundaries of the climate justice nexus.

 Afghan technicians are finishing installation and testing of the solar array. Local voices and photographers intuned with the culture and values of their subjects will generate more intimate images with integrity whilst being able to access closer and stay longer with a story.
Photo credit: Robert Foster / Winrock International / US AID / CC BY-NC 2.0

 

Citizen reporting and user-generated photography has also grown globally with the proliferation of smartphones. The billions of images and climate stories that are captured, and no doubt proliferate locally on closed peer-to-peer apps, rarely make it into international publications unless they are truly exceptional. The barriers to distribution and verification are complex, and even if a story idea could be framed or connected internationally, the presentation style and resolution of smartphones rarely match the expectations required by professional news agencies. Only the most viral, and therefore most valuable content, is ever verified, with none of that value or story drivers trickling back to the original source in the field.

 The GEF Blue Forest project`s aim was to improve understanding of the valuable ecosystem services that coastal blue carbon ecosystems provide. Restoring diverse types of habitat, as a climate solution, has a multitude of stages that  depend on work and collaboration between scientists and land-owners,all of which provide multiple opportunities for photography beyond the cliche of planting itself.
Photo Credit: Rob Barnes / Blue Forests / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

It is tempting, in conclusion, to suggest the need for a radical overhaul, a new way of working or a magic bullet funding model to reinvigorate or democratize  photojournalism at large. However, this would be an unrealistic goal given the rapid, unpredictable evolution of news media reporting, and how utterly fragmented, digitized and unmappable the future content creator and agency network is. However, raising resources for targeted geographic and systemic interventions –  for the current state of play – is a unique and urgent cause for optimism. Seizing a chance to build photographic capacity where it is most needed; with climate solutions in frame. These new unseen images and stories, could intrinsically possess a value, quality and uniqueness that cuts through and exploits the broken, unrepresentative visual index, and sees them easily proliferate as intelligent, fresh and inspirational metaphors. Only then can we trace the eloquent and clear theory of change shared by the solutions journalism network, offering empowerment and creating more discerning actors capable of shaping a better society.

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Getty Images and Climate Visuals award $20,000 to photojournalists

Getty Images and Climate Visuals Award $20,000 to Photojournalists as Part of Broader Effort to Advance the Visual Narratives of the Global Climate Crisis

Two recipients awarded for respective bodies of work that document rising sea levels in communities around the world

LONDON April 7, 2020Getty Images, a world leader in visual communications, in partnership with Climate Visuals, the world’s only evidence-backed programme for climate change photography, has named two recipients of the inaugural Getty Images Climate Visuals Grants, with each photojournalist receiving a grant of $10,000 to help advance the visual narratives surrounding this complex global issue.

As media coverage of the global climate crisis intensified through 2019, Getty Images and Climate Visuals understand the need to meet and sustain that growing attention with nuanced photojournalism that advances and localises the world’s collective understanding of the issues at stake. For this inaugural grant, Getty Images received 144 submissions from photographers across over 40 different nations.

The judges awarded two recipients, alongside one honourable mention – all of whom focused work on the rising sea levels in their respective locations and the vast damage this is inflicting on communities worldwide. The 2020 Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipients are:

  • Aji Styawan for Drowning Land: Aji, a freelance photojournalist from Indonesia, is committed to documenting the effect climate change has already had on millions of lives. His work focuses on the resiliency of the people in the Demak Regency of Indonesia as they live with rising sea levels in not only their communities, but even inside their homes.
Abdul Muid (60) and his wife Muniah (55) pose inside their flooded home due to rising sea levels. Abdul and his family have been living in this house, and living with the floods for about ten years. He doesn’t have the money to move to another house, further away from the sea.
Photo credit: Aji Styawan/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient
  • Greg Kahn for 3 Millimeters: Greg, a Pulitzer Prize nominated documentary fine art photographer receives a grant for 3 Millimeters, which explores rising sea levels on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, USA. His project depicts the slow drowning of a historic culture that built an entire cultural ecosystem on the shifting tidal waves. 
 
Douglas walks to the rear entrance of New Revived United Methodist Church in Taylor’s Island, Md. Decades ago, the church sat in front of forest, now visible open water and marsh come right to the back side of the historic church.
Photo credit: Greg Kahn/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

Additionally, Acacia Johnson, a photojournalist from Alaska,  was recognised with an honourable mention for her project Open Water Season: Adapting to an Ice-Free Arctic, which focuses on sea ice melting across the Arctic and the ways in which Inuit communities must adapt to prolonged seasons of open water.

Speaking on the 2020 recipients, Getty Images Senior Vice President and Head of Global Content, Ken Mainardis says: “We are thrilled to support photojournalists who understand that visual content has the power to move the world and redefine the narratives around global issues, like the climate crisis. We were blown away by the quality of the recipients’ work, as well as their vision and commitment to catalyse a new visual language for climate change.”

Submissions were judged by a prestigious industry-leading panel, including:

  • Jay Davies, Director of Photography, Getty Images
  • Dr. Julie Doyle, Climate Communication Professor at Brighton University
  • Dr. Kate Manzo, Climate Change and Development Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University
  • Fiona Shields, Head of Photography, The Guardian
  • Dr.  Susie Wang, Researcher at Climate Visuals

Speaking on the selection process and the awarded work, Climate Visuals Researcher and Judge, Susie Wang said: “We reviewed so many compelling photos of both devastating climate impacts and hopeful climate solutions. Looking through the stories of strong, resilient communities that are living with and adapting to climate change was particularly moving. The two recipients will be supported to continue exploring comparable narratives of sea level rise in diverse and globally distant landscapes, cultures and geography. Their local access and sense of true representation shone through at application.”

 
Sutarti (33) takes a peek into her refrigerator in the kitchen of her flooded home due to rising sea levels. She has not enough money to move to a safe place.
Photo credit: Aji Styawan/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient
Phil Jackson, a longtime muskrat trapper, heads out to set traps in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Feb. 19, 2014. Jackson says the number of muskrats have declined since the salinity of the water in Blackwater has climbed, a result of sea level rise. Scientists predict this area will be underwater in about 50 years.
Photo credit: Greg Kahn/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

Since it was founded in 1995, Getty Images has been buoyed by its outstanding, award-winning contributors and is deeply committed to supporting the global photojournalism community. The Getty Images Climate Visuals Grants is part of the wider Getty Images Grants program, which since its inception has donated over US$1.6 million to photographers and videographers around the world.

For more information, or to speak with one of the Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipients please contact:

Victoria Gimigliano

Digital Communications Coordinator, Climate Visuals

About Getty Images: 

Getty Images is one of the most trusted and esteemed sources of visual content in the world, with over 375 million assets including photos, videos, and music, available through its industry-leading sites www.gettyimages.com and www.istock.com. The Getty Images website serves creative, business and media customers in nearly every country in the world and is the first-place people turn to discover, purchase and share powerful visual content from the world’s best photographers and videographers. Getty Images works with over 310,000 contributors and hundreds of image partners to provide comprehensive coverage of more than 160,000 news, sport and entertainment events each year, impactful creative imagery to communicate any commercial concept and the world’s deepest digital archive of historic photography.

Visit Getty Images at www.gettyimages.com to learn more about how the company is advancing the unique role of still and moving imagery in communication and business, enabling creative ideas to come to life. For company news and announcements, visit our Press Room, and for the stories and inspiration behind our content, visit gettyimages.creativeinsights.com. Find Getty Images on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or download the Getty Images app where you can explore, save and share the world’s best imagery.

About Climate Visuals

Climate Visuals is a programme of Climate Outreach, a team of social scientists and climate communication specialists building a social mandate for climate change through wider and deeper public engagement. We have 15 years experience helping organisations communicate in ways that resonate with the values of their audiences and create the types of climate conversations that lead to action. Our Oxford-based charity provides evidence-based, practical tools and consultancy to organisations worldwide: governments, international bodies, charities, media outlets, academic institutions, businesses, youth groups etc.

Climate Visuals is the world’s only evidence-backed programme for climate change photography.  Based on international social research and industry insights, Climate Visuals aims to strategically change the working practices of visual communicators across the world, to move away from clichéd images of polar bears, melting ice caps and factories, to catalyse a new – more compelling and diverse – visual language for climate change.  Climate Visuals hosts an evidence-based image reference library based on its publicly accessible 7 Climate Visuals Principles and peer-reviewed evidence which  uniquely positions their team to make informed, accurate and impactful decisions around climate change imagery.

Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant Recipient — Aji Styawan

Biography

My name is Aji Styawan (b.1990), I’m a photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Demak Regency, Central Java, Indonesia. I started my career as a freelance photojournalist in 2013 by joining several photo press agencies. While working with different wire services, my work has been featured in local and international news outlets.

Drowning Land

This project documents the resiliency of the people in Demak Regency, Indonesia, as they live with rising seas in their neighborhoods and inside their homes.

A villager throws rocks to fill the foundation for his new house in an effort to elevate it and mitigate the threat of the rising sea. Local residents will spend around 5 to 10 Million rupiahs in a year to elevate their homes and protect it from flooding.
Photo credit: Aji Styawan/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

Direct Quote from Aji

As the recipient I am beyond thrilled, this grant is so meaningful to me. As a native photographer in Demak, this grant will help me to continue producing this story over the long term, separate from my daily work as a photojournalist at Antara Foto press photo agency.  

With this project that will be shown in the news, a more appropriate solution might come from the government, or from those organizations and people who care about the climate crisis, to help the people of Demak as they face rising sea levels on a daily basis in their homes, and on their land.

This grant will also open opportunities for me to continue my project in other parts of Indonesia, which are severely impacted by rising sea levels due to climate change, especially on Java. I will also focus and investigate the ways people are working on solutions.

 Villagers performing maintenance work on the so called ‘Low Threshold Breakwater Technology’ construction. It was built by the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing to slow down the pace of the rising sea impacting their village. Various efforts dealing with the abrasion due to the rising sea have been carried out by a number of environmental organizations and the government. But, land subsidence accompanied by rising sea levels hits double hard and continues to threaten thousands of residents.
Photo credit: Aji Styawan/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

Project Proposal

Indonesia is one of the largest archipelago nations in the world with over 17.000 islands. With the majority of the small islands only one meter above sea level, coastal areas are being threatened by climate change. Deforestation, land reclamation and groundwater extraction by the industry on the coasts make these areas even more vulnerable to rising sea levels.

Experts predict that before 2050, thousands of small islands and millions of houses in coastal areas across Indonesia will disappear due to rising sea levels. Data from the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, show the abrasion rate in Indonesia reaches 1,950 hectares per year. Total land lost between 2000 and 2014 was 29,261 hectares. Abrasion on the northern coast of Central Java reached 6,000 hectares since 2000.

Demak Regency is located on the northern coast of Central Java, about 450 km east of Jakarta. Some areas of Demak, Sayung subdistrict, were ranked the highest impacted by abrasion. The coastline had retreated around 5.1 kilometers from the coastline compared to 1994. Over 500 households were displaced due to abrasion in the the past 20 years and more are following. The ocean engulfs more than thousands of hectares land areas in some of villages where one of hamlets has now completely sunk below sea level.

The villagers witnessed the disappearance of their land, that was once productive land used for agriculture. With the sea rising that land gradually morphed into becoming fish ponds and mangrove forests which are now also submerged. Today it’s all sea, and former farmers are now fishermen. Households are cut off from the land, as bridges and roads sink below sea level forcing the villagers to adapt and survive in the different ways. When alive, the residents live with the seawater, they are surrounded by it, even inside their homes.

When they die they are buried in the land submerged by the rising sea.

 Villagers pray for their family members at a flooded public cemetery due to rising sea levels. When alive, the residents live with the seawater, they are surrounded by it, even inside their homes. When they die they are buried in the land submerged by the rising sea.
Photo credit: Aji Styawan/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient
A woman praying Maghrib Salat on her bed in the evening, inside her home that is flooded due to rising sea levels.
Photo credit: Aji Styawan/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

Principles for Climate Change Communication

I am a native to Demak, I live and work as a photojournalist from there. The people in Demak are my neighbors and their situation appeals to my heart. Being a local photographer, I feel a strong commitment to make their story known, to show people around the world how climate change already impacts people’s lives. If the world does not act it will only get worse, to at least slow down what already is a climate crisis.

 

Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant Recipient — Greg Kahn

Biography

Greg Kahn (b. 1981) is an American documentary fine art photographer. Kahn grew up in a small coastal town in Rhode Island, and attended The George Washington University in Washington D.C.]

3 Millimeters

A look at sea level rise on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the slow drowning of a historic culture tied to the tide.

 A church on Hoopers Island has waves from the Chesapeake lapping up against the back side of the building during high tide. Every year the water gets a little closer and there are few places left to move.
Photo Credit: Greg Kahn/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

Direct Quote From Greg

I’m deeply honored to receive this grant. The funding will be immensely helpful as I continue to document the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the people’s lives that are changing as a result of sea level rise. A lot of this effort takes research and time out on the peninsula, so the grant will go directly to those efforts. When I first began documenting this issue, I talked with a lot of residents in the affected area that didn’t believe the science. As time went on, I think even the ones who were skeptical are starting to open their eyes, which is why it’s even more important to continue the work today.

 Lacolia Alford watches disaster assessment officials check for leaks on her roof from her bedroom window in Crisfield, Maryland. Her home suffered major damage from water after Hurricane Sandy and almost a year later,still needs $7,000 in repairs to the roof and foundation of the house.
Photo Credit: Greg Kahn/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

Project Proposal

Three extra millimeters of water every year will make land vanish. It will swallow communities. It will change environmental habitats forever. It will cause record pollution. For townspeople along the inner-coastal region of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, the impact of sea level rise is no longer an abstract worry debated by politicians. They see the land becoming more saturated beneath their feet.

Thirteen of the bay’s southern islands, many of them once inhabited,are gone. “3 Millimeters” explores the waterways of Maryland, where, due to the region’s makeup and Atlantic Ocean flow, sea levels are rising twice as fast as the global average and will leap by as much as five feet by 2100. This will submerge more than 250,000 acres of land, displacing more than half a million people. My photographs will document the

consequences of climate change – a process without emergency brakes. The project considers how a community’s identity, ever tied to the land, is evolving. Generational farms, once fertile and productive, now wilt as mounting salinity levels from rising tides force families to abandon their way of life.

“3 Millimeters” is not about documenting melting glaciers in cold, far away places. It’s not about rampaging storms that inflict swift, sudden and circumstantial devastation on unsuspecting communities. “3 Millimeters” is about the slow drowning of a place, its way of life, and what we can learn from that.

While nothing can reverse rising seas in places like Smith Island or Blackwater NWR, there is hope for others. Gradient sea walls, vegetation re-nourishment and public education are all ongoing endeavors to preserve natural habitat and homes along the coast.  The hope is that it will stop erosion as well as maintain habitat for sea life such as horseshoe crabs and terrapins. “3 Millimeters” will explore what methods are slowing erosion, and what future climate change will mean to this region.

 Waterman Aaron Powley hauls in a net in Fishing Creek, Md., just north of Hoopersville. Young watermen are becoming more of a rarity. Some try to continue the family business, which can date more than six generations, saying they don’t want to be the one to break the tradition.
Photo Credit: Greg Kahn/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient
 
A vacant home in Hoopersville, MD decays in the expaning marsh on Dec. 30, 2017. With property values dropping along the most vulnerable areas on the Eastern Shore, some homes are left for the saturated soil to recalim.
Photo Credit: Greg Kahn/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

Principles For Climate Change Communication

The Eastern Shore of Maryland is one of the frontiers of climate change in the United States. It is not a far off place with melting glaciers, it is local and happening now. The area affected is a short drive from the seat of power in Washington, D.C. where policy could be enacted to change how we live and fight this unfolding cautionary tale.

The area is also historically conservative politically, but with the rapid loss of land due to sea level rise, even the residents who refused to believe the science are now accepting the truth. This story has the ability to make climate change a local issue for our nation, no longer places on the outskirts that few people live, but a place that has a history back to when settler’s first landed on the shores of America

The vital role of photography in driving climate narratives and positive change

Within the proposals and image portfolios submitted for the Getty Images Climate Visuals grants lie dozens of untold climate narratives from over 40 countries. The 144 applicants presented an incredible snapshot of our human and local climate reality; a collective distillation of emotionally-charged impacts, inspiring examples of resilience or adaptation and the optimism of solutions.

Today, approximately 2.4 billion people around the world live within 100km of a coastline. Almost two thirds of the world’s cities of 5 million or more inhabitants are located in areas at risk of sea level rise. In partnership with Getty Images, we are very proud to be able to support Aji Styawan and Greg Kahn, recipients of the Getty Images Climate Visuals grants, to continue their projects as soon as it becomes safe to do so, working independently on opposite sides of the world at the intersection of humanity, climate, land and sea.

 

Syakir (26) is watching TV inside his flooded home due to rising sea levels. Local villagers learn to survive even though their lives are threatened by rising sea levels.
Photo credit: Aji Styawan/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient
Don Wharton, of Crisfield takes a smoke break while shucking oysters at MeTompkin Seafood in Crisfield, Md. Wharton, who has been shucking oysters for 31 years, said he used to make about $210 per day, but now only earns $80 for putting in the same amount of work.
Photo Credit: Greg Kahn/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

2019 hosted a global, cross-media surge in the intensity and frequency of international climate change coverage, which fueled greater public and political awareness. This momentum was underpinned by powerful new voices, as well as a series of dramatic and wide-reaching climate impacts affecting communities and our natural world on both a local and national scale.

2020 began with expectations of continued momentum and potential for real change to be harnessed within our behavioural and political systems. Yet, COVID-19 has unexpectedly – and rightly – dominated both our consciousness and communications in recent months, whilst grounding photojournalists and limiting environmental coverage. Now, several weeks into the pandemic and social lockdown, we can share a thirst for new environmental narratives. Then, from within this new abnormality, we can perhaps gain the confidence to plan for the future, and to hope that the recovery and bounce back of our societies and economies happens swiftly but responsibly.

At Climate Visuals, we aspire to document, distribute and support the climate narrative, but also use social science and behavioural research to uniquely offer advice on how image selection can significantly increase the rate of positive change.  Our aim is to ensure that the visual language of climate change continues to evolve with the rapidly expanding written narrative, and to engage and motivate the public audience which is increasingly well informed on the subject.

Climate Visuals’ parent organisation, Climate Outreach, has long recognised and collaborated with our partners to communicate and work across political, demographic and cultural interpretations of climate change. Climate is a truly intersectional issue, and must be framed in the values and language – in a broad and non-judgemental sense – of communities and their trusted messengers. All of the shortlisted photographers highlighted within the grant application process work professionally, diligently and consistently within these shared values through the medium of photography.

Family members do the tradition of ‘unjung-unjung’. The young will visit the older relatives to see each other in celebration of Eid Al-Fitr.The house might be flooded due to rising sea levels but these traditions will still take place.
Photo credit: Aji Styawan/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

The two selected grant recipients – photographers Aji Stywan and Greg Kahn – both bring to their portfolios and proposals an indomitable personal commitment as well as a deep understanding through local connections, robust research and a honed aesthetic. These two photographers, on opposite sides of the world, are devoted to comparable stories of the impact of rising sea-levels in both Indonesia and the US, and capturing community resilience in response to it.

Aji and Greg’s local knowledge, individual photographic style and cultural sensitivity shone through to the grant judges for their ability to amplify and inform their messaging. Both reveal an uncannily tense atmosphere, restrained emotion and surreal sense of place in the scenes they document. The delicacy and quiet intimacy of their portraits, paired with beautiful but disfigured landscapes, is made evermore haunting and affecting in series.

The landscape, communities, political structures, religions and people these photographers work within – and hope to support – are truly diverse. Their proposals and photography work (profiled in full below) unanimously impressed the jury, whilst organically embracing all of the Climate Visuals seven principles for impactful photography.

Luther Cornish, 84, sits in his living room across the street from New Revival Methodist Church in Madison, Md.The historic church is now threatened by sea level rise, and the older members aren’t sure it will survive much past their lifetime.
Photo Credit: Greg Kahn/Getty Images Climate Visuals Grant recipient

Finally, an honourable mention went to Alaskan photojournalist Acacia Johnson.  Since 2014, Acacia has been dedicated to covering the now familiar narrative of how melting sea ice is drastically affecting the Inuit peoples. Acacia’s new story focuses on the complex facets of a culture and community having to adapt rapidly and possess a unique resilience, thus advancing the well-worn Arctic narrative from one of victimisation and distance, towards one of personal pride and human connection.

The Air That We Breathe