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Ocean Visuals evidence-based image collection

By Toby Smith on October 26, 2022

Visual media is vital to connect with audiences – but ocean, coastal and climate imagery is often ineffective, inaccessible or absent. Communicators and editors resort to using the same familiar metaphors, poorly representing people’s experiences and connecting with a very limited sector of the world’s population – missing a vital opportunity for real and lasting public engagement.

Fishermen in Bangladesh pray for a benevolent sea before going fishing, after one of the strongest cyclones to hit the country killed thousands of fishermen at sea.

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

    • New image collection is now freely available to non-profits, media and educators for impactful storytelling about oceans and climate change
    • Open call for photography took place from 1 – 14 September 2022
    • 93 photos were selected based on an evidence-based brief
    • Photos were selected by a diverse and independent jury, in consultation with an advisory board to ensure best practice in the issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, ethics and representation
    • $1,000 USD license fee per photo selected

The collection was prominently featured at the COP27 conference in events and exhibitions. It will also be launched in Australia at the Sydney Opera House with an event on 29 March and an exhibition along the Broadwalk until 7 April.

The collection was highlighted in the Guardian as well as in The Times.

Ocean Visuals is a collaboration between Climate Visuals and Communications Inc, funded by Erol, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Macdoch Foundation/NPT Transatlantic.

By Toby Smith

Toby was the Visuals and Media Programme Lead for Climate Outreach from 2019 to March 2023. He had the strategic goal of expanding our presence, influence and impact in the visual and media sectors.

Toby graduated with a Masters in Photography from London College of Communication in 2008 after spending 2 years working across Africa utilising his bachelors degree in Zoology and Environmental Science.

He joined us with over 12 years experience as an award-winning environmental photographer with a focus on building innovative and global stories through collaboration and publication in leading editorial outlets.


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