Transilluminating climate change

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This essay studies the problematics of visualizing climate change through research and photography. Messages in the media about climate change have often been stereotypical, extreme or controversial. This type of imagery may be shocking, but it may also make the issue feel distant, abstract and difficult to relate to. This essay reflects on an empirical research into Instagram users’
posts about climate change, using photography as a mode of articulating awareness about the climate crisis. Theoretically, this paper seeks to elaborate on the epistemic possibilities of visibility and photography as a method of research. The essay draws on two interrelated projects, the first of which is an empirical analysis of 42 Finnish ecological Instagram accounts. The Instagram research identifies six ‘climate practices’ that are ways of connecting to the climate crisis through being and doing. The climate practice of transilluminating and its visualization in Instagram photographs is then further analysed. “Transilluminating” refers to revealing the normalized environmentally harmful practices of carbon-intense modern societies and their production systems. The
second project aims to deepen the understanding of climate practices through photography. The photography project allows room for artistic interpretation of empirical results. In the photographic project Intense Carbon, transilluminating is interpreted as a movement against the modern,
carbon-intensive society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-110
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Climate practices; photography; visibility; carbon-intensity.

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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