Climate Visuals releases the Ocean Visuals collection

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.

The eight principles of effective ocean-climate photography are:

  1. Show people in ocean and coastal regions with authenticity
  2. Visualise the diversity of people-and-ocean connections
  3. Tell new stories
  4. Find ocean and climate causes, impacts and solutions at scale
  5. Pair emotionally powerful impacts with positive actions
  6. Develop ideas to invite curiosity and foster engagement
  7. Prioritise ethics, safety, wellbeing and prevention of harm
  8. Be aware of problem narratives


1. Register to the Climate Visuals library for instant access

2. Review Ocean Visuals background and photography brief

3. Browse, download and amplify the Ocean Visuals collection


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.


1. Register to the Climate Visuals library for instant access

2. Review Ocean Visuals background and photography brief

3. Browse, download and amplify the Ocean Visuals collection


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