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2. Foster a sense of real place – avoid just showing a location

EN: Portrait of Débora, in front of the lake of Atitlán in Guatemala, while recalling the stories of the lake legends, such as "Abuela Agua". Collective creation with Pablo Franceschi. ES: Retrato de Débora, frente al lago de Atitlán en Guatemala, mientras recuerda y cuenta las historias de las leyendas del lago, como "Abuela Agua". Creación colectiva con Pablo Franceschi. PT: Retrato de Débora, diante do Lago Atitlán, na Guatemala, enquanto ela lembra e conta as histórias das lendas do lago, como "Avó Água". Criação coletiva com Pablo Franchesqui.

The media should provide as much context and ground knowledge as possible, avoiding the generic term ‘location’. Focusing on a general sense of ‘the local’ risks perpetuating shallow global narratives. Promote imagery that is grounded on a community’s familiar understanding and consciousness of their own land. For example, work within a specific Indigenous Territory or land reclamation movement, focusing on everyday life within that community rather than highlighting exceptional and dramatic events.

Today we are fighting to expand our territory (Retomada). We are trying to find a way of jointly managing the Park and the Indigenous Land, precisely because for us the Park and the Peruaçu Cave itself is the home of the spirits (encantados). It is part of the Xakriabá cosmology and very rich in rock paintings many of our body paintings are designs from these caves”

Edgar Kanaykõ, Ethnophotographer and Anthropologist, Xakriabá people, Brazil

EN: Rock paintings in the Peruaçu Caves National Park, traditional territory of the Xakriabá people. Some of the rock art in the caves is over 10,000 years old. ES: Pinturas rupestres en el Parque Nacional Cuevas de Peruaçu, territorio tradicional del pueblo Xakriabá. Parte del arte rupestre de las cuevas tiene más de 10.000 años. PT: Pinturas rupestres no Parque Nacional das Cavernas do Peruaçu, território tradicional do povo Xakriabá. Parte da arte rupestre nas cavernas tem mais de 10.000 anos.
EN: Xakriabá youth with traditional body paintings, the designs of which are taken from the rock paintings. "When we paint ourselves, we also paint ourselves with territory." ES: Jóvenes Xakriabá con pinturas corporales tradicionales, cuyos diseños se toman de las pinturas rupestres. "Cuando nos pintamos a nosotros mismos, también nos pintamos con el territorio". PT: Juventude Xakriabá com pinturas corporais tradicionais, cujos desenhos são retirados das pinturas rupestres. “Quando agente se pinta, a gente se pinta também de território.”
EN: These openings, known as 'karstfensters', give this cave its name Gruta do Janelão, meaning the "Cave of the Big Window". ES: Estas aberturas, conocidas como 'karstfensters', le dan a esta cueva su nombre Gruta do Janelão, que significa la "Cueva de la Ventana Grande". PT: Estas aberturas, conhecidas como 'karstfensters', dão a esta gruta o nome de Gruta do Janelão, que significa a "Gruta da Janela Grande".

We say that photographing is also an act of hunting. And when you hunt, you don't just catch an animal to fill your belly. First of all, it is a relationship that we have with the owners of the forest and the animals, which are the owners with the spirits that look after the animals, that look after the forest, and that look after everything. So when we go to photograph we also ask for permission ... What can be revealed in the photograph comes from this permission, that’s the most important thing. Besides the beauty of the place itself, it is all these meanings that the image can reveal. It's as if the size of the place is also the size and importance that place is for us as a people ... that's how photography can reveal this dimension of what can be seen and what cannot be seen.”

Edgar Kanaykõ, Ethnophotographer and Anthropologist, Xakriabá people, Brazil

EN: A Xakriabá woman crosses the river in the Gruta do Janelão, the fourth largest cave in the world, part of the Peruaçu Caves National Park. Her figure in the caves reveals the vast scale of the place. ES: Una mujer Xakriabá cruza el río en la Gruta do Janelão, la cuarta cueva más grande del mundo, parte del Parque Nacional Cuevas de Peruaçu. Su figura en las cuevas revela la vasta escala del lugar. PT: Uma mulher Xakriabá cruza o rio na Gruta do Janelão, a quarta maior caverna do mundo, que faz parte do Parque Nacional das Cavernas do Peruaçu. Sua presença nas cavernas revela a vasta escala do lugar.
EN: Portraits of Débora and Vilma. Collective creation as part of "20 Photographers". ES: Retratos de Débora y Vilma. Creación colectiva como parte de "20 Fotógrafos". PT: Retratos de Débora e Vilma. Criação coletiva integrante do projeto ‘20 Photographers’.
  • EN: A family of Mayan women from the Ch'orti ethnic group helps to pack the coffee harvest during quarantine in the dry corridor area of Chiquimula, Guatemala. ES: Una familia integrada por mujeres mayas de la etnia Ch’orti, ayuda a empacar la cosecha de café durante la cuarentena en el área del corredor seco en Chiquimula, Guatemala. PT: Uma família de mulheres Maia, do grupo étnico Ch'orti, ajuda a embalar a colheita do café, durante a quarentena, na área do corredor seco de Chiquimula, Guatemala.
  • EN: Portrait of a Mayan woman from the Chorti ethnic group working in the water catchment and care of the dry corridor in Chiquimula, Guatemala. ES: Retrato de una mujer maya de la etnia Chorti que trabaja en la captación de recursos y cuidado del agua, del corredor seco en Chiquimula Guatemala. PT: Retrato de uma mulher Maia, do grupo étnico Ch’orti, trabalhando na captação de água e cuidando do corredor seco em Chiquimula, Guatemala.
  • EN: A Mayan woman from the Ch'orti ethnic group entertains herself after working in the harvest around her community in the dry corridor in Chiquimula, Guatemala. ES: Una mujer maya de la etnia Ch’orti’ en se entretiene luego de trabajar en la cosecha, en los alrededores de su comunidad en el corredor seco ubicado en Chiquimula, Guatemala. PT: Uma mulher Maia, do grupo étnico Ch'orti, se diverte depois de trabalhar na colheita, em torno de sua comunidade, no corredor seco de Chiquimula, Guatemala.
  • EN: A woman gathers the harvest for her family's food storage. She is assisted by her granddaughter as they place the corn in the courtyard of their house. ES: Una mujer recoge la cosecha para almacenamiento del alimento de su familia. Le ayuda la nieta mientras colocan el maíz en el patio de su casa. PT: Uma mulher faz a colheita para o armazenamento de alimentos para sua família. Ela é auxiliada pela neta, enquanto colocam o milho no quintal de sua casa.

Focusing attention on a particular place requires communicating the material, sensory and experiential details, which say more about the meaning of a chosen place than factual information. Produce and disseminate images of natural environments that the viewer can identify clearly with – such as a tree, glade, mountainside, clearing, riverbank, a small waterfall, or manmade structure – avoiding spectacular sites that appeal to tourist expectations. Emphasise the intimate character of the place so that it feels familiar, rather than exotic or distant.

EN: Guardian of the water: Javier Gende, an indigenous man of the Tsa’chila nationality. "I am what you want me to be, I am all that and more. My body becomes fresh water, to swim freely through your veins". ES: Guardián del agua: Javier Gende, hombre indígena de la nacionalidad Tsáchilas. “Soy lo que tu quieres que sea, soy todo eso y más. Mi cuerpo se convierte en agua dulce, para nadar libremente por tus venas.” PT: Guardião da água: Javier Gende, indígena da nacionalidade Tsáchilas. “Eu sou o que tu queres que eu seja, sou tudo isso e muito mais. O meu corpo vira água doce, a nadar livremente nas tuas veias”.

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.