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Garbage collection in Amsterdam, Netherlands - Kadir World Press Photo award winner and Climate Visuals speaker

Garbage collection in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Image credit: Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR Images

Climate Visuals’ guest speaker Kadir van Lohuizen wins World Press Photo Award prize

May 9 2018

Robert van Waarden

Waste is unloaded at Shizai paper recycling plant, Tokyo, Japan - Kadir Climate Visuals speaker

Waste is unloaded at Shizai paper recycling plant, Tokyo, Japan. Image credit: Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR Images

On the opening of the 2018 World Press Photography awards in Amsterdam, Climate Visuals was in town to host the third in our series of Masterclasses. The event was held down the street from the Awards Ceremony in collaboration with the well-known cultural space  Pakhuis de Zwijger, and featured a range of speakers - campaigners, communicators and researchers - providing different perspectives on crafting a new visual language for climate change, including the Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen.

Kadir (a key member of the NOOR photography collective based in Amsterdam) is an award-winning photojournalist who has covered conflicts, countless social issues and the natural world. But he is perhaps most well known for his focus on the environment.

Whether focusing on rising sea levels, resource extraction or natural disasters, Kadir’s work always places people at the heart of his stories, a key component of our Climate Visuals research. For this reason we wanted Kadir to share his perspective on documenting climate change from the front lines.

People wait to sort through waste for recyclable and saleable material, as a garbage truck arrives at the Olusosun landfill, in Lagos, Nigeria - Kadir Climate Visuals speaker

People wait for recyclable and saleable material in Lagos, Nigeria. Image credit: Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR Images

Kadir has documented how sea-level rise is affecting not just ‘them’ but ‘us’, and spoke powerfully about how rising sea levels were impacting not just Pacific islands and Bangladesh, but the east coast of the UK and the mega-metropolis of Miami.

A few hours after the Masterclass, Kadir stepped on stage at the World Press Photography awards to accept First Prize in the Environmental Stories Category, a new award that the Climate Visuals project has been advocating for in conversations with the World Press team. His winning series focuses on trash and consumer waste. The 10 images transport the viewer on a journey around the world. From Burkina Faso to Nigeria, Amsterdam to New York, the visuals explore the incredible amount of waste in our lives. The images are striking and a must see.

A man carries a load of PET bottles for recycling, at Olusosun landfill, Lagos, Nigeria - Kadir climate visuals speaker

A man carries PET bottles for recycling, at Olusosun landfill, Lagos, Nigeria. Image credit: Kadir van Lohuizen / NOOR Images

Kadir switches between the large scale view of our waste problem and the up close and personal of those trying to manage it. The images include shocking scenes, personal environments, juxtaposition and humour. These are elements that our research indicated were important in visually communicating climate change. Perhaps most importantly, Kadir’s project embraces the multi-image format to combine individual stories with large scale impacts, preventing the audience from being overwhelmed or dismissive of a single image.

Congratulations Kadir and thank you for your hard work. A world away from polar bears, melting ice and smoke stacks, it is great to see such incredibly executed photography illustrating how powerful human-centred stories on climate change and the environment can be.