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Visualizing climate change: An open call for photography with TED Countdown

By Toby Smith on May 4, 2021

With higher temperatures threatening their crops and produce, sustainable cooling for all is fundamental to climate justice.

Update: register to the Climate Visuals library from 17 May & submit images for the open call below between 1 and 30 June.

Through ‘Visualizing Climate Change: An Open Call for Photography’, our Climate Visuals programme is partnering with TED Countdown to build a new accessible collection of evidence-based, diverse photos that document the reality of climate change around the world. In the lead up up to COP26, this initiative aims to support both climate communicators who struggle to access or afford quality visual content, and climate photographers whose work has been constrained by the pandemic. 

We’re seeking submissions that communicate positive climate solutions in five key areas:

The open-call will source, license and promote 100 powerful images of climate change taken by both professional and amateur photographers from around the world. This initiative will distribute a total licensing fund of US $100,000 directly to the chosen photographers.

Introducing the jury

The final 100 images will be selected by an independent jury:

The visual narratives in circulation must move from illustrating climate causes and impacts to climate justice, solutions and positive change. The online submission and licensing process will consider a broad range of diversity, equity and inclusion factors to ensure that the opportunity is global, accessible, fair, representative, illustrative and impactful.   

The photographic and wider creative sector has been significantly impacted by Covid-19. Selected photographers will be both fairly remunerated and have the opportunity to be profiled, exhibit their work virtually and physically at events such as Countdown and COP26, and feature in a global media campaign. 

Important calendar dates

    • 19 May: Registrations for ‘Visualizing Climate Change’ open 
    • 1 June: Image submissions open
    • 30 June: Image submissions close
    • August: Selected photographers announced 
    • September: Full image collection released on Climate Visuals library
    • October: TED Countdown Summit
    • November: COP 26

Register to the Climate Visuals library now to see and access content that is ‘rights ready’ for your profile. You’ll also be able to save, download and collaborate on image selections across multiple lightboxes. 

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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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