James Whitlow Delano

Our Changing Climate: Documenting Climate change and the role of Social Media

Photography, at its best, can communicate on a deeper, visceral level, without uttering a word. As I began documenting large-scale environmental damage, as a result of rapid development, in Asia, I began to see ecosystems breaking down completely and local residents were talking about shifting rain patterns, advancing sands, rising seas or warmer winters. How, I wondered, could I better visually communicate a sense of crisis. With a shrinking media world, how could I spread the word? Of what use would these photo documents be, unless others could benefit from them?
I will describe leveraging social media platforms, including founding the Instagram feed, everydayclimatechange (ECC) to find a new audience for this issue. ECC photographers live on 6 continents and share photographs made on 7 continents to present visual evidence that climate change doesn't just happen "over there" but that climate change is also happening "right here". It is not a western view on climate change. Photographers come from the north, the south; the east and the west; and are as diverse as the cultures in which we were all raised.


James Whitlow Delano has lived in Asia for over 20 years. His work has been awarded internationally: the Alfred Eisenstadt Award (from Columbia University and Life Magazine), Leica’s Oskar Barnack, Picture of the Year International, NPPA Best of Photojournalism, PDN and others for work from China, Japan, Afghanistan and Burma, etc. His first monograph book, Empire: Impressions from China was the first ever one-person show of photography at La Triennale di Milano Museum of Art. The Mercy Project / Inochi his charity photo book for hospice received the PX3 Gold Award and the Award of Excellence from Communication Arts. His work has appeared in magazines and photo festivals on five continents. His latest award-winning monograph book, Black Tsunami: Japan 2011 (FotoEvidence) explored the aftermath of Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear disaster. He’s a grantee for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, for work documenting the destruction of equatorial rainforests and human rights violations of indigenous inhabitants there. In 2015, Delano founded @EverydayClimateChange Instagram feed, where photographers from 6 continents document global climate change on 7 continents.