The Ocean Visuals collection was exhibited at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
The collection could be found within the COP27 Blue Zone in the digital exhibition programmes of the Nature Zone pavilion.
Noora Firaq, Interim Executive Director & Operations Director of Climate Outreach, spoke on the panel and sharing insights on the Ocean Visuals project at the Communicating Ocean Science for Climate Action event in the UNESCO pavilion at 15:45-16:45 Egypt time (13:45-14:45 GMT) on Wednesday 9 of November and also at Communicating Science for Policy: the challenge and opportunity in the Nature Positive News Room, Blue Zone. 11.15-11.30 Egypt time (9:15-9:30 GMT), Friday 11 November.
Noora was also available to discuss the Ocean Visuals project, Climate Visuals and Climate Outreach, on a drop-in basis between 11:45 and 13:45 Egypt time (9:45-11:45 GMT) on Friday 11 November in the Nature Zone pavilion.
Please get in touch with any queries.
More information here on Climate Outreach at COP27.
Photo credit: Sophie Hulme / Communications Inc
Amplify the Ocean Visuals story and share the collection with your network.
- 93 evidence based photographs selected by an independent jury
- Freely available to the media, non-profits, campaigners and educators
- Increasing the diversity and impact of climate and visual communications
The Ocean Visuals collection is a unique, freely available, evidence-based collection of impactful and diverse imagery of ocean, coastal and climate stories.
Amplify the project, and support ocean-climate communication at a global scale during COP27 and beyond.
Share our click to tweets:
Retweet our existing and future tweets
View and share our Instagram stories
Re-gram our Instagram posts
A new evidence-based collection of impactful and diverse imagery of ocean, coastal and climate stories has been released by Climate Visuals ahead of COP27. The Ocean Visuals collection is accessible and free to use by the media, journalists, non-profit sector, campaigners and educators in articles and communications.
“This collection will support communications impact whilst diversifying climate and ocean imagery on a global scale”, explains Climate Visuals Programme Lead, Toby Smith.
“Thousands of photographers spanning 102 countries participated in an open call in September. Our independent jury have made their combined decisions and with the advisory board prioritised values and ethics to only select images that reflect best practice”.
Ocean Visuals is a response to the urgent need for more impactful, diverse and equitably accessible ocean-climate imagery while ensuring ethical and fair payment to photographers. The project is a partnership between Climate Visuals and Communications Inc, funded by Erol, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and Macdoch Foundation / NPT Transatlantic.
"It was a pleasure to watch this collection come together from every corner of the globe, and explore the vast range of narratives, geographies and storytellers represented. We all hope for these images to be used to represent the mounting threats to our planet with depth and nuance", says Ocean Visuals advisory board member, Daniella Zalcman.
Ocean Visuals is built on strict guidelines for ethics, values and image manipulation. Combined with eight ocean-climate photographic principles, derived from a review of evidence and research into ocean imagery, it will raise the bar on visual communication at COP27 in the ’Ocean Super Year’ and into the UN Decade of Ocean Science.
Use of the collection will increase the breadth and impact of media and campaign coverage at COP27 - particularly given the predicted focus on oceans, finance, loss and damage - while also ensuring that all communicators can access quality, verified imagery equitably.
- Show people in ocean and coastal regions with authenticity
- Visualise the diversity of people-and-ocean connections
- Tell new stories
- Find ocean and climate causes, impacts and solutions at scale
- Pair emotionally powerful impacts with positive actions
- Develop ideas to invite curiosity and foster engagement
- Prioritise ethics, safety, wellbeing and prevention of harm
- Be aware of problem narratives
About the research
The ocean plays a vital role in regulating the climate and in doing so protects us from the worst impacts of climate change. Despite this, the link between the climate and the ocean is not commonly understood, talked about or integrated into the way we tackle the climate crisis.
Ocean Visuals hopes to better incorporate the ocean and be inclusive of the diverse experiences of coastal communities, including estuaries, rivers, inland waterways, urban, rural and remote environments, into global communications about climate. Climate Visuals and Communications Inc have developed the guidance and briefing note for the Ocean Visuals Open Call based on industry best practice, published research and evidence on people’s responses to imagery. The aim of the research report is to guide civil society, campaigners, media, educators and scientists on the use of visuals to communicate ocean-climate issues more effectively.
About the Ocean Visuals open call
A global, equitable and open call for photography took place from 1-14 September, 2022. The call highlighted and heard new narratives and voices direct from communities around the world. The objective was to source and licence 100 powerful images taken by both professional and amateur photographers. This open call distributed a total licensing fund of US $100,000 - with all final images selected by a diverse and independent jury, before professional verification and advisory board review including the removal of images that contradict beyond best-practice regarding representation.
Ocean Visuals builds on a previous initiative delivered by Climate Visuals and TED Countdown, whose participation phase reached 5.2M users on social media and generated 5,500 gender-balanced submissions from over 140 countries worldwide in 2021. The collection released during the impact phase is regularly accessed by a growing user group of over 5,600 communicators and editors resulting in thousands of editorial, campaign and social media usages of the imagery.
About Climate Visuals
Climate Visuals is the world’s only evidence-based programme for climate change photography. It is run by Climate Outreach, a team of social scientists and communication specialists working to widen and deepen public engagement with climate change. Through research, practical guides and consultancy services, Climate Outreach helps organisations communicate about climate change in ways that resonate with the values of their audiences and leads to action.
The visual narratives in circulation must move from illustrating climate causes and impacts to climate justice, solutions and positive change. Ocean Visuals’ online submission and licensing process will consider a broad range of diversity, equity and inclusion factors to ensure that the opportunity is global, accessible, fair, representative, illustrative and impactful. The goal is to provide a platform, amplify voices and serve visual tools to people and communities not yet represented.
About Communications Inc
Communications Inc is a small communications agency with big ideas, which works with non-profits around the globe. We put our specialist experience and wide-ranging network of contacts to work for our clients, addressing social and environmental issues across the globe, yet we remain approachable, adaptable and passionate.
To grab attention, set agendas and change behaviour you need a creative and thoughtful communications strategy, one that is based on a thorough and realistic analysis of your situation and environment. You also need an agency that understands the particular challenges and opportunities of non-for-profits and international communications.
Germany Talks Climate Visuals
For the German language version of this summary click here
Climate change is not just something we know, it is also something we feel and see. This latest iteration of climate visuals research investigates how climate change and climate action are seen in Germany and which images resonate with people with different views in society.
The research formed part of the larger Übers Klima reden (in English: Germany Talks Climate) study conducted in February and March 2022 examining attitudes towards climate change and climate action in Germany. Übers Klima reden is a joint project by Climate Outreach, More in Common Germany and klimafakten.de, funded by Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.
These results on imagery form the first image research update in Germany since the original Climate Visuals study in 2016. The underlying research was developed in collaboration with More in Common and uses their values-based segmentation approach for the first time in visual research with German society.
Based on the Seven Climate Visuals principles, 17 images were selected and tested with six focus groups in Germany as well as through a representative survey with a sample of the German population. Due to the research design, these findings are mostly based on limited qualitative data. While these insights have been analysed to the best of our knowledge, the study also makes it clear that further quantitative image research is necessary to substantiate the following findings:
- Images of flooding in Germany are powerful and connect across society.
- Imagery can be used to tell new stories about heatwaves.
- Images of families and children can help people relate to climate change impacts.
- Climate solutions imagery can effectively depict success stories but needs to be contextualised.
- Images of activists generate mixed and often negative reactions.
- Images depicting a range of renewables to represent Germany’s energy future are more likely to appeal across society.
- Images portraying visions of the future have potential, but by definition appear distant.
- Polar bears are iconic, but not sufficiently compelling.
Top three images
Photo credit: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images
What makes these images stand out?
- a direct connection to climate change
- emotional impact
- relatable aspects (local environment; family with children)
- illustration of an undesirable future (e.g. in the form of air pollution)
Overall, we found many of the seven Climate Visuals principles reflected in people’s responses to the images tested: the importance of localising the issue, showing climate impacts at scale and real people with real emotions responding to the way climate change is affecting their lives, as well as somewhat ambivalent responses to protest imagery. Other areas with significant potential for engaging wider audiences also emerged, such as images depicting visions of the future, both positive and negative. Clearly, more research is needed into how images might affect people’s awareness of climate risks and impacts as well as solutions, and how visual modes of communication influence people’s sense of self-efficacy (or personal agency) in the face of the climate crisis.
The full range of insights, as well as an overview of all the images that were tested, are available in German here.
Mit Bildern „Übers Klima reden”
For the English language version of this summary click here
Animierende Klimakommunikation benötigt nicht nur eine wertebasierte Sprache, sondern fordert ebenso die effektive Nutzung von Bildern. Da die visuelle Auseinandersetzung mit dem Klimawandel und Klimaschutz in Deutschland bisher nur wenig erforscht ist, haben wir im Rahmen unserer größeren „Übers Klima reden”-Studie versucht, diese Lücke in der evidenzbasierten visuellen Kommunikation zu schließen.
Die hier vorgestellten Ergebnisse zur Bildsprache bilden die erste Aktualisierung der Bildforschung in Deutschland seit der ursprünglichen Climate Visuals-Studie von 2016. Unsere neue Forschung wurde in Zusammenarbeit mit More in Common entwickelt und verwendet ihren wertebasierten Segmentierungsansatz, um die Ergebnisse nach verschiedenen Bevölkerungssegmenten aufschlüsseln zu können. Eine nützliche Ressource zur Bildsprache bietet auch das Handbuch von unserem Projektpartner klimafakten.de: „Übers Klima sprechen" (s. Kapitel 12: Nutze Bilder - aber wähle sie mit Bedacht aus).
Auf der Grundlage der sieben Climate Visuals-Prinzipien wurden 17 Bilder ausgewählt und in sechs Fokusgruppen in Deutschland sowie durch eine repräsentative Umfrage bei einer Stichprobe der deutschen Bevölkerung getestet. Aufgrund des Forschungsdesigns beruhen diese Ergebnisse hauptsächlich auf begrenzten qualitativen Daten. Während diese Erkenntnisse nach bestem Wissen ausgewertet wurden, macht die Studie gleichzeitig deutlich, dass weitere quantitative Bildforschung notwendig ist, um die folgenden Ergebnisse zu untermauern:
- Bilder von Überschwemmungen in Deutschland sind eindrucksvoll für alle Typen
- Bilder können neue, anregende Narrative zu Hitzewellen erzählen
- Bilder von Familien und Kindern können helfen, eine Verbindung zum Klimawandel herzustellen
- Bilder von Klimalösungen können Erfolgsgeschichten effektiv vermitteln, doch benötigen Kontext
- Bilder von Aktivist:innen erzeugen gemischte und oft eher negative Reaktionen
- Bilder, die Deutschlands Energiezukunft als eine Vielfalt erneuerbarer Energien darstellen, sprechen die Breite der Gesellschaft besser an
- Bilder von Zukunftsvisionen haben Potenzial, erscheinen aber definitionsgemäß weit entfernt
- Eisbären haben Symbolcharakter, reichen aber nicht aus
Top 3 Bilder für alle Typen
Folgende drei Bilder wurden im Schnitt aller Fokusgruppen als Top 3 identifiziert:
Photo credit: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images
Wodurch zeichnen sich diese Bilder aus?
- zeigen unverkennbar Ursachen oder Folgen des Klimawandels
- emotionale Wirkung (erzeugen Gefühle wie Schock, Abscheu oder Mitleid)
- ermöglichen einen Bezug zum eigenen Lebenskontext (lokale Umgebung, Familie mit Kindern)
- Veranschaulichung einer unerwünschten Zukunft, z. B. in Form von massiver Luftverschmutzung
Insgesamt lässt sich feststellen, dass sich viele der sieben Climate Visuals-Prinzipien in den Reaktionen der Menschen auf die getesteten Bilder widerspiegeln: die Notwendigkeit der Lokalisierung des Klimathemas, die Darstellung der Auswirkungen des Klimawandels, die Abbildung echter Menschen mit echten Gefühlen, sowie etwas ambivalente Reaktionen auf Protestbilder. Außerdem ergaben sich neue Erkenntnisse zu Bildmaterial, das Potenzial hat, ein breiteres Publikum anzusprechen. Vor allem Bilder, die Zukunftsvisionen darstellen, sowohl positive als auch negative, können für verschiedene Menschen durchaus motivierend wirken. Gleichzeitig macht diese Studie deutlich, dass mehr repräsentative Forschung notwendig ist, um herauszufinden, wie Bilder das Bewusstsein der Menschen für Klimarisiken und -auswirkungen sowie für Lösungen beeinflussen können und wie visuelle Kommunikation das Gefühl der Selbstwirksamkeit (oder der persönlichen Handlungsfähigkeit) der Menschen angesichts der Klimakrise beeinflussen.
Die Erkenntnisse in gesamter Länge sowie eine Übersicht aller getesteten Bilder sind hier einsehbar.
Ocean Visuals is seeking audience partners.
Ocean Visuals offers organisations and individuals a unique, free and mutual opportunity to collaborate with Climate Visuals and Comms Inc to engage with supporters and followers. This is an equitable and rewarding moment of participation to improve the quality and impact of Ocean and Climate photography.
Photographers can upload their own authentic narratives, and communicate tangible local stories to international audiences through new imagery. 100 images and photographers will be selected by an independent jury to share the US $100,000 licensing fee. These images will join our evidence-based collection of impactful imagery - all freely available to campaigners, the media and educators.
Your supporters can be rewarded and directly contribute to global communications, helping better integrate the ocean and climate stories. We encourage and invite new design collaboration with our initiative and ‘Call to Actions’ tailored to the needs and interests of your audience networks.
Read more about what Ocean Visuals can offer you and your audiences.
Ocean Visuals advisory board announced.
Climate Visuals is committed to achieving and promoting best practice in the issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, feminist and anti-colonial approaches to image research and photography. Our new Ocean Visuals project, both in structure and public facing content, will be informed, tested and influenced by the comments and lived experience of a paid, advisory board. The members of the board are:
As Media and Communications Officer with the National Environment Science Program's Climate Systems Hub, Tahnee connects decision makers and Traditional Owners with Australia's best available climate science. With more than 4 years of experience in climate communication with the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub and other organisations, Tahnee brings her experience in climate science and environmental security to the board. Tahnee holds a Masters of Environment and Sustainability, specialising in Environmental Security, and a double degree in Arts and Science.
Wacera F. is a photo editor currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. They produce diverse visual stories & curatorial studio projects at Everyday Africa. Alongside The Everyday Projects Community Team, they have supported collaborative digital reportage and editorial projects exploring layout design with teams at The ICRC, World Press Photo Foundation, Photoville, Pulitzer Center, Code For Africa and others. Their work blends hands-on design for photo, art direction and media project management, utilising varied communication mediums, design disciplines and research techniques. Wacera is also a comic book artist.
Co-founder of Fora do Eixo and Mídia NINJA, Marielle is currently the coordinator of Environmental Ninja, a journalist and activist of communication, culture and human rights. Mídia Ninja is known for covering acts and protests of social movements throughout Brazil through photos, videos and live broadcasts. It works on the strengthening of groups and collectives that touch on different agendas, especially from deep Brazil.
Neeta is a freelance photojournalist, educator, and National Geographic Explorer based in Saint Louis and Mumbai. Her work explores the themes of environmental, racial, and social justice issues. In 2021, she joined the International League of Conservation Photographers as an Associate Fellow. Her personal history and cultural identity have always influenced both the issues that draw her as a visual journalist and her work.
The board will input feedback individually, into collaborative documents and have the ability to discuss at virtual board meetings..This is to ensure that our own internal biases are further identified then challenged and that the project is equitably accessible and promoted to communities, geographies and cultures normally excluded from photography competitions, licensing opportunities and/or media exposure.
During the participation phase we hope to identify and address some of the geographic, financial, language and systemic barriers facing professional, semi-professional and amateur photographers producing images related to climate change.
During the dissemination phase, we hope the resulting Ocean Visuals collection becomes a valuable asset to communicators globally who cannot readily access or yet afford impactful ocean and climate imagery.
Toby Smith, Climate Visuals Programme Lead, in conversation on the Photo Ethics Podcast.
Listen to the episode for a discussion on ethics & equity in photography, including thoughts on what makes for successful climate change imagery, how to invite and give presence to more diverse voices, and the ethical considerations that went into the Visualising Climate Change open call.
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.
View and download the Ocean Visuals promotional images.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Read the full report
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
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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
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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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.
‘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.’
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.
Photo credit: Isadora Romero
The third episode of the symposium ‘Visualizing Climate Change’, jointly hosted by The Photography and the Archive Research Centre at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, Climate Visuals, Slideluck 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.
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)
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.
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 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
Photo credit: Pilar Valbuena/GLF.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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)
– 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.
– 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 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.
- 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.
- Awareness of land use, land rights issues, forests, deforestation and natural climate solutions in Brazil and Indonesia.
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.
- 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)
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.
- 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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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
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
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 Communication, University of the Arts London, Climate Visuals, Slideluck 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.
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.
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.
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 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.