3. Create in-depth, long-form and truly lasting content
Listen carefully and pay close attention to the demands, concerns, sensibilities, and priorities that communities raise over time, striving to be responsive and agile within fast-changing conditions.
The effort to protect and maintain forests is not a short-term one, but a continuing goal. Strengthen your work with values that reflect a significant depth of time spent among the people you work with through long-term engagement with, and commitment to, Indigenous movements. Immerse yourself in the life of communities while appreciating local perspectives, natural cycles, and the role that ancient forests play in the long-term preservation of ancestral cultures.
In 2016 and 2017, Mexica/Otomi photographer Josué Rivas spent seven months covering the Standing Rock protests. Members of over 300 Indigenous Peoples joined thousands of other supporters to resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, that risked endangering the water supply for thousands of people.
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Actions that only consider short-term gain, quick return, and immediate success will increase the risk of exploitation and misrepresentation. Wherever possible push beyond brisk fieldwork to generating content that has a lasting impact. Cultivate a slower and deeper understanding of forest stories and their relationship to climate change.
Claudia Andujar came to ... the Yanomami lands ... She wore the clothes of the Yanomami, to make friends. She is not Yanomami, but she is a true friend. She took photographs of childbirth, of women, of children. Those who do not know the Yanomami will know them through these images. My people are in them. You have never visited them, but they are present here. It is important to me and to you, your sons and daughters, young adults, children to learn to see and respect my Yanomami people of Brazil who have lived in this land for many years.”
Davi Kopenawa, Yanomami spiritual leader and spokesperson
Claudia Andujar has photographed and worked with the Yanomami since 1971. Her connection and commitment to the Yanomami led her to co-found the Pro-Yanomami Commission, starting multiple campaigns advocating the upholding of their rights, such as the historic demarcation of their lands in 1992.
In the early 1970s, Brazil’s military dictatorship began construction of the Perimetral Norte highway to open up the northern Amazon and facilitate logging, ranching and mining. The project brought many outsiders into the region, spreading deadly diseases, gravely impacting the Yanomami social fabric, and causing the disintegration of many villages.
When Andujar photographs and denounces this situation in 1977, the Brazilian military regime expels her from Yanomami territory. This only strengthens her commitment to the Yanomami cause, leading her to found the Pro-Yanomami Commission and devote herself to the defence of the territorial and cultural rights of the Yanomami.
To me, it's not about photography. Photography is a key to produce amazing human encounters. Then, intimate images arise as a consequence of those human encounters and not the other way around. At the end of the day, we are all humans. But sadly, when holding a position of privilege, we often forget that."
Pablo Albarenga, documentary photographer and visual storyteller, Uruguay, who spent 3 months accompanying Sonia Guajajara and her campaign team during her historic candidacy as the first Indigenous woman to stand on a ticket for the Presidency of the Republic of Brazil.
Report chapters related to this principle
Grey literature: guidelines and reports
What is visual colonialism?
Climate change and Indigenous Peoples: an old controversy
What is a civilisational crisis?
Colonialism in two shots
The colonial gaze (how the forest becomes invisible)
Climate change narratives: from telling stories to telling times
Download the full report
Download the full report
This report provides the foundation for this web-based resource. Commissioned by Climate Visuals and produced by Nicolas Salazar Sutil with picture research by Jaye Renold, it includes conversations with Indigenous leaders and photographers, media stakeholders and NGOs in 10 countries.Download