Routledge, UK. ISBN 9781138845770.
This publication maps out key moments in the history of environmentalist photography, while also examining contemporary examples of artistic practice.
Historically, photography has acted as a technology for documenting the industrial transformation of the world around us; usually to benefit the interests of capitalist markets. An alternative photographic tradition exists, however, in which the indexical image is used "evidentially" to protest against incidents of industrial pollution. By providing a definition of environmental activism in photographic praxis, and identifying influential practitioners, this publication demonstrates that photography plays a vital role in the struggle against environmental despoliation.
This book will be of interest to scholars in photography, art and visual culture, environmental humanities, and the history of photography.
Featuring photographs contributed from Guilio di Sturco (who also provides the cover image), Sean Gallagher, Rasel Chowdhury, Traces of Nitrate, Sophie Gerrard, Pieter Hugo, Chris Jordan, Mandy barker, Andy Hughes, Ana Maria Guerra, Peter Kennard, Sant Kalsa, Edward Burtynsky, Jamey Stillings, Mark Neville, David T Hanson, Kate Orff, Toby Smith, and many others.
Photographing mining pollution in gold rush California (2017). Photographies, 10 (2). pp. 189-209. ISSN 1754-0763.
This paper draws comparison between three photographers who documented the North Bloomfield Mining Co.’s (1866-1899) hydraulic gold mine, in California. The history of the North Bloomfield Mining Co. is of interest because of the role that photography played in promoting the interests of corporate capitalism, and conversely acting as an evidential tool for farmers whose lands were flooded by polluted tailings emanating from the mine. The company twice commissioned Carleton Watkins to document their undertakings; however, this paper argues that the aesthetic of the ‘industrial sublime’ originating in Watkins’ photographs obfuscates an understanding of the ecological realities of mining. Alternatively, this paper presents two lesser-known photographers, J.A. Todd and ‘Clinch’, who adopt a counter-aesthetic approach to Watkins. Todd’s photographs from the Woodruff vs. North Bloomfield  trial were presented as evidence in the first collective civil action in US legal history, which pitched the interests of farmers against the corporate mining industry.
The eco-anarchist potential of environmental photography: Richard Misrach’s & Kate Orff’s Petrochemical America
In: The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory. Routledge, UK. ISBN 9781138845770.
Taking Richard Misrach’s & Kate Orff’s publication Petrochemical America (2012) as a starting point for a range of debates, this paper argues that environmental photography has a crucial role to play in bringing about an awareness of environmental ethics, which can aid activists and autonomous groups such as citizen scientists in their struggle against industrial pollution. Key to this debate is the definition of the term environmental photography as a multimodal and collaborative genre of cultural production, which promotes the political values of eco-anarchist theories such as social ecology, through the medium of aesthetics.
Indefinite Toxic Circles: an art series curated by Nicole Shea (2017).
Art is at the forefront when it comes to amplifying the discussions surrounding environmental issues. This series by artists John Sabraw, Conohar Scott, and Mandy Barker illuminates the dangers confronting our waters, from leaking pipes to discarded plastics, to the long-term impact of these toxic products on our most delicate and vulnerable ecosystems and sites. Given the recent declarations of climate change and environmental issues to be “fake news,” projects such as these are crucial in reconnecting Humanity and Nature, proof that scientific and artistic collaborations can lead to ground-breaking ideas and sustainable solutions.