Visualizing Climate Change: An Open Call for Photography

Through ‘Visualizing Climate Change: An Open Call for Photography’, TED Countdown is partnering with Climate Visuals to build a new robust, accessible collection of evidence-based photos that document the reality of climate change around the world.

We’re seeking submissions that communicate positive climate solutions in five key areas:

TED Countdown Themes

Photography brief in summary:

The visual narratives in circulation must move from illustrating climate causes and impacts to climate justice, solutions and positive change. The online submission and licensing process will consider a broad range of diversity, equity and inclusion factors to ensure that the opportunity is global, accessible, fair, representative, illustrative and impactful. The goal is to provide both a platform, voice and visual tools to people and communities not yet represented in the mainstream climate change narrative.  

The photographic and wider creative sector has been significantly impacted by Covid-19. Selected photographers will be both fairly remunerated and have the opportunity to be profiled, exhibit their work virtually and physically at Countdown events and COP26 in Glasgow, and featured in a global media campaign.  This will be a deliberately inclusive space for photographers who may lack the opportunity to showcase their work and ideas in such a global project with a meaningful route to impact. 

‘Visualizing Climate Change: An Open Call for Photography’ aims to ultimately support climate change photographers, educators, communicators and campaigners by the creation of a new free-to-access collection of the world’s most impactful photography.

Read the full photography brief and image examples – all based on our research into people’s response to climate change imagery as well as  insights developed across our practical partnerships and projects.

Important calendar dates:

19 May:  Registrations open on  www.climatevisuals.org

1 June:   Image submissions open 

30 June:  Image submissions close

July: Jury convene to choose the 100 selected images

August:  Selected photographers and images announced 

September:  Full image collection released on Climate Visuals library

October:  TED Countdown Summit, Edinburgh, UK

November:  COP 26, Glasgow, UK

Register to the Climate Visuals library now

Stay up to date with all the news from Visualizing Climate Change and content releases

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The open-call will source, license and promote 100 powerful images of climate change taken by both professional and amateur photographers from around the world. This initiative will distribute a total licensing fund of US $100,000 directly to the chosen photographers – with the final 100 images all selected by an independent jury:

Visualizing Climate Change Judges

Images submitted to our open call should: 
  • Fulfill the guidance of our full photographic brief and represent elements of the  Climate Visuals principles best-practice
  • Represent one or more of the Countdown themes as a single image 
  • Interpret guidance and themes broadly with visual and cultural diversity
  • Include a majority of images depicting climate change solutions 
  • Include a minority of images depicting  causes and impacts 
  • Provide a global sense of people, place,  geographic and cultural context 
  • Show solutions and narratives across all sizes, scale and reach
  • Document realistic well-known solutions, but also reveal new, innovative ideas
  • Show a human connection to technology, infrastructure or geography
  • Consider related or inter-related topics such as environmental justice and the role of business
  • Consider the people, places, communities, sectors and areas of society that are not normally featured in the media or climate change conversations
  • Illustrate a broader story, rather than focus on a small individual detail of it

Images will be judged on their inherent visual, not technical, quality but must meet our requirements:

  • Be accompanied by a detailed caption of what, where, when and why  
  • Be accompanied by a short bio and social media links from registration form
  • NOT be manipulated to change the visual content of the image, beyond basic editorial photo industry standards such as balancing of brightness, contrast and colour *
  • Be of sufficient photographic quality for clear digital communication
  • Be at least 2,000 pixels longest length in resolution – no upper pixel limit
  • Be below 25MB file size- but using jpg compression only if required
  • Be in a .jpg file format
  • Submissions between 1 and 20 images maximum

For more information on what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable image manipulation in professional photography please refer to the guidelines as published and defined by the expertise of World Press Photo Foundation.

Accessible Terms and Conditions:
  • Photographers must own the images submitted and be prepared to show ownership if required
  • Climate Visuals is a project of Climate Outreach. Countdown is an initiative by TED Conferences, LLC
  • Climate Outreach and TED  can use submitted images to promote this open call
  • Our diverse jury will select the 100 images that best match our brief. Photographers will each receive a $1000 fee per selected image 
  • In exchange for the $1000 fee, the photographer grants to Climate Visuals Countdown and TED an irrevocable Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) worldwide and in perpetuity license for that image
  • Climate Outreach and TED will not sell or modify the images.
  • Climate Outreach will then supply the 100 selected images under Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) to other non-profit organizations, educators and editorial media communicating about climate change.
  • Climate Outreach and TED may make additional promotional use of the 100 selected images by their own respective organizations.
  • Selected photographers may be asked to  provide additional information, so they can be promoted and showcased them

To complete entry, participants will be required to confirm they have understood and accepted our full and legal terms and conditions

HOW TO ENTER: Visualizing Climate Change

1.  Register to the Climate Visuals library *

2.  Review  a) photography brief,  b) TED Countdown themes  and c) terms and conditions

3.  Upload images**

Register Now

* Users registered before 1st June should contact Climate Visuals for access
** Only accessible to registered users

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