We are living in an unprecedented era of environmental change: the Anthropocene epoch
This unfolding transformation and the resulting social and cultural upheaval must be seen to be understood.
Eyes on Earth seeks to nurture a new generation of visual storytelling to chronicle this new Age of Man.
Promote coverage and understanding of the Anthropocene by establishing environmental photography as an effective tool and distinct discipline for visual storytelling.
Make the underlying causes of environmental change visible and accessible for public discussion and policy decision making.
Establish clear and effective ways that environmental photography can make a difference in our world and it's future. Provide tools, resources and pathways for photographers.
Inspire emerging photographers to engage with the story of the Anthropocene age. Challenge them to become the visual storytellers of the great changes that face our planet in their lifetime. Their generation will create the enduring eyewitness narratives that will inform and engage society.
We are profoundly changing the planet. This global drama is taking place all around us in ways not always obvious. We urgently need understanding of fundamental causes - as well as insight into current events
World population has nearly tripled in just 66 years: from 2.5 billion people in 1950 to 7.4 billion in 2016.
We now dominate the continents, having converted more than half of earth’s land surface from forests and grasslands to farms, cities, highways, mines, reservoirs, and wastelands.
We are emptying the seas, more than 90 percent of the biggest fish are gone.
Energy that lights the night and powers our engines of modern prosperity – cheap and plentiful fossil fuels coal, oil, and natural gas – alters the atmosphere, changes the climate, and threatens our very own future.
Earth runs a fever. Temperatures rise, glaciers and ice sheets melt, and rising seas inundate coasts. Storms, floods, heatwaves and drought become the norm.
Humans now claim for themselves somewhere between 23.8% and 40% of the total net primary biomass production of planet Earth.
In the next 35 years we must double world food production to nourish a rising population; forests are falling at record rates to make way for farms that can meet this growing demand.
what is it?
Environmental photography chronicles the collision of people and nature as mankind transforms the planet, documents the effects of humanity’s growing dominance over the planet, and seeks to honor stewardship that supports the web of life.
A chronicle of causes and effects
We live in the time of The Great Acceleration, a period when world population has tripled in less than 70 years, and accumulating impacts of our expansion are visible worldwide. Our rapid transformation of earth’s landscapes, ecosystems, waters, and atmosphere has caused scientists to propose a new geologic epoch called The Anthropocene, or Age of Man, where people have become the dominant force on earth. We want to inspire and prepare photographers to tell visual stories of this emerging human age, to create a narrative record revealing the collision of humans and nature – both what is lost and what is gained – in this turbulent time. We seek to create understanding through an environmental photography that can help inspire a more prosperous and healthy future by revealing what we must first change.
A new Voice of concern
Environmental photography shares concerns with other fields of photography, among them conservation and nature photography, and photojournalism. As we see it, conservation photography focuses on preserving natural places and habitats, and nature photography celebrates visions of untrammeled nature. Photojournalism for its part focuses primarily on representing contemporary human events, natural disasters and the calamities that befall us. Inspired by – but differing from – these worthy fields, environmental photography focuses on the profound and long-lasting impacts on nature caused by people and their institutions that affect the planet’s health, and the fate of human civilization, but that may not make immediate news headlines.
A fresh path for photographers
Environmental photography documents our planetary perils and highlights solutions. It recognizes that we cannot save or protect what we cannot see, and seeks to reveal what other photography may neglect. With a focus on impacts and effects of humanity’s expanding presence, environmental photography can trace underlying natural, social, economic, and political forces driving global change today. These forces affect the health of the physical and ecological systems – land, ocean, and atmosphere – that make our own life on earth possible. We seek inspiration in scientific understanding of the world and the way it works. We encourage inquiry based on knowledge of major natural cycles – solar, carbon, water, nitrogen – and their interactions, which offer insight into the nature of the human enterprise.