Portraits of Change: Photo-Storytelling Across Bangladesh, China and Australia

Michael Chew

Abstract


Trained in art photography, I initially hoped that my own photography would inspire positive environmental change. However I soon felt uncomfortable with putting my energy towards conventional nature photography, which tends to rely on simplified and polarised emotions of either fear in images of despoiled landscapes or hope in the form of pristine wilderness (Manzo 206) that can serve to reproduce essentialised ideas of nature and culture which are becoming increasingly untenable in the Anthropocene era. In contrast, I gradually found through research, and my own grassroots projects that participatory photography methods—such as photovoice—have the potential to generate rich locally-grounded photo-stories which open up deeper engagements with the complexities of nature-culture relations (Gustafson and Al-Sumait 9).


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