Zeitgeist: Joya Berrow

A commitment to empathetic and honest storytelling drives photographer Joya Berrow’s environmentally focused photography

Each year, as part of the Photography Annual, Creative Review’s editorial team selects five photographers that have made an impact over the past 12 months as our Zeitgeist winners

Central to Joya Berrow’s photography practice is the unshakeable belief in the power of images. For the 27-year-old, photographs shape how we understand our surroundings, so while it’s important that the media communicates the very real threat of climate change, it’s equally vital that it relays the possibility of an alternative future. “We need to believe in the power of humanity to live at peace with the natural world,” she tells CR, “not see ourselves trapped in an endless cycle of destruction and disconnection.”

Berrow’s work has a firm environmental focus, with her interests leaning towards the landscape and those whose livelihoods depend on it. It’s a topic that has been at the forefront of our collective thinking over the past year as the aftermath of Covid-19 continues and conversations around climate change become more urgent. At times, Berrow can come across as an activist first, photographer second, but she is quick to point out the difference. “Activists risk their lives,” she explains, “I take photographs of people who are vital to our survival – land workers and knowledge holders who are under­valued and underseen in the system we live in.”

Top: Victorinox in Dorset, 2021; Above: Mum and Ted harvesting the Sunzilla sunflower, Dorset, 2021. All images © Joya Berrow

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LONDON/HYBRID

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LONDON