Recently I started exploring the possibility of combining my decade-long research focus on the climate crisis with my passion for photography. This idea began to develop after several years of photographing climate protest rallies and environment related events at the University of Sydney. However, the idea of a dedicated photography project documenting Australia’s fossil fuel addiction and the physical, social and political consequences of climate change really started to gel as I stood on banks of the Hunter River in Newcastle a few months back watching another huge bulk carrier entering the world’s largest coal port to take on another load of climate destroying fossil fuel.
Clearly, there are photography giants who have already trodden this path. In particular, Edward Burtynsky’s work on the Anthropocene is particularly inspiring. But there’s also Sebastião Salgado’s more human-centred work, Paul Nicklen’s amazing nature photography (which increasingly focuses on the impacts of climate change), and of course the great landscape photographers like Ansel Adams. Indeed, more and more photographers are turning their attention to climate change with both literal and more interpretative visual genres.
It’s early days for this project in terms of the themes and ideas that might develop, but the idea of bringing a visual lens to a subject I’ve analysed largely in terms of political economy and critical social theory is something I’m keen to explore. If you’re interested in this project, you can follow the results as they evolve here. Be interested in hearing what people think of this idea and the resulting images.