At this time of crisis, it is important to acknowledge the gendered nuances of the impact of climate change, and how women are playing leading roles in affirmative climate action. To mark World Environment Day on the 5th June, Symposium, Visualizing Climate Change, brought together a range of women producing work that is challenging the stereotypes of the visual representation of climate change.
The event was hosted jointly by The Photography and the Archive Research Centre at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, Climate Visuals and VII Photo Agency. It includes presentations from Nichole Sobecki from the VII Photo Agency, Eva Sajovic, and Corinne Silva from Picturing Climate and Maria Teresa Salvati from Slideluck Editorial. According to Climate Visual’s research, among the criteria for effective climate change visualization is the need to have images that are emotionally powerful, and mostly representing real people, showing real emotions. Now more than ever we need to be aware of how much we are connected; not only in passively enduring the consequences of climate change and its catastrophic effects but also in the tangible possibility and hope that if we act the other way around, we can impact positively in reversing the trend. The story is making us see how vulnerable we all are.
The effects of the unjust planet we have created are forcing a further reflection on accepting the idea that we are so intrinsically connected with everything, and that we are inextricably part of nature, and in this, we are therefore part of the global problem, as well as the potential solution. As a consequence, it seems important to create empathy with the viewers. In what ways can creative and personal interpretations of the connections between the self, to others, to animals, to the world around us, the Earth, be inspiring and thought-provoking from a visual storytelling perspective? Is this new perspective of visualizing climate change opening to a softer, kinder, more empathetic gaze, moving from the stereotypes of landscape and environmental photography mostly depicted by men?
This lecture was originally hosted at VII Interactive, a new resource for sharing insights and information on the craft of visual storytelling. We are building different platforms within the VII ecosystem, where the public can engage directly, online with a live instructor. VII Interactive offers programming that is free and available to everyone, in addition to paid classes and individual mentoring that can be fashioned to your needs.