The climate crisis is undoubtedly one of the defining issues of our times, as humanity’s impact on the planet becomes rapidly more devastating. Without drastic action in the next few years, the future seems ominous, but there’s also an important role for imagemakers and documentarians when it comes to visualising the damage that has already been done around the world.
We’re often shown stark before and after images in mainstream media immediately after a climate-related disaster strikes, most of which are quickly forgotten amid the 24/7 news cycle. Other photographers, however, are documenting climate change in a way that goes deeper, spending long stretches of time with the people and places most affected, highlighting the exploitation that’s occurred because of our dependence on fossil fuels, and questioning the infrastructures in place to help people.
Since the early 2010s, photographer Robin Hinsch has worked on social, political ,and environmental topics. Last year saw him publish Wahala, a series which depicts both the places in the world where raw materials are extracted from the earth for profit, and the people who make their homes there. Taking its name from the Yoruba word for ‘problem’ or ‘stress’, Hinsch travelled to where our impact on the planet is most visible, such as Nigeria and India, to confront the viewer with the “ecological and human repercussions of the global reliance on fossil fuels”.