On the opening of the 2018 World Press Photography awards in Amsterdam, Climate Visuals was in town to host the third in our series of Masterclasses. The event was held down the street from the Awards Ceremony in collaboration with the well-known cultural space Pakhuis de Zwijger, and featured a range of speakers - campaigners, communicators and researchers - providing different perspectives on crafting a new visual language for climate change, including the Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen.
Kadir (a key member of the NOOR photography collective based in Amsterdam) is an award-winning photojournalist who has covered conflicts, countless social issues and the natural world. But he is perhaps most well known for his focus on the environment.
Whether focusing on rising sea levels, resource extraction or natural disasters, Kadir’s work always places people at the heart of his stories, a key component of our Climate Visuals research. For this reason we wanted Kadir to share his perspective on documenting climate change from the front lines.
Kadir has documented how sea-level rise is affecting not just ‘them’ but ‘us’, and spoke powerfully about how rising sea levels were impacting not just Pacific islands and Bangladesh, but the east coast of the UK and the mega-metropolis of Miami.
A few hours after the Masterclass, Kadir stepped on stage at the World Press Photography awards to accept First Prize in the Environmental Stories Category, a new award that the Climate Visuals project has been advocating for in conversations with the World Press team. His winning series focuses on trash and consumer waste. The 10 images transport the viewer on a journey around the world. From Burkina Faso to Nigeria, Amsterdam to New York, the visuals explore the incredible amount of waste in our lives. The images are striking and a must see.
Kadir switches between the large scale view of our waste problem and the up close and personal of those trying to manage it. The images include shocking scenes, personal environments, juxtaposition and humour. These are elements that our research indicated were important in visually communicating climate change. Perhaps most importantly, Kadir’s project embraces the multi-image format to combine individual stories with large scale impacts, preventing the audience from being overwhelmed or dismissive of a single image.
Congratulations Kadir and thank you for your hard work. A world away from polar bears, melting ice and smoke stacks, it is great to see such incredibly executed photography illustrating how powerful human-centred stories on climate change and the environment can be.
Banner image: Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR Images - Garbage is collected in the center of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In most neighborhoods of the city, garbage is deposited in underground containers to await removal, but in some parts of the historic center it is still left on the streets to be collected on certain days.
Image 1: Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR Images - Waste is unloaded at Shizai paper recycling plant, Tokyo, Japan, which has been processing waste since 1969.
Image 2: Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR Images - People wait to sort through waste for recyclable and saleable material, as a garbage truck arrives at the Olusosun landfill, in Lagos, Nigeria.
Image 3: Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR Images - A man carries a load of PET bottles for recycling, at Olusosun landfill, Lagos, Nigeria.