Photographs for Earth Day that consider our precarious place in nature
From Mount Fuji to the Mexican border, a handful of photographers epto their connection with nature.
Today is Earth Day — a day observed around the world every year since 1970 that honours the environment and the concept of finding peace in our surroundings. More than just a token acknowledgement of the need for reform, at its inception Earth Day led to the passing of a number of landmark environmental laws in the US and, in 2016, it was chosen by the United Nations as the day that 122 countries would sign the Paris Agreement on.
Through the lens of a handful of photographers we’ve featured recently — some of whom contributed to our monthly photo submission series — we take a look at nature, our relationships to it, and how we often lose sight of its importance. From Mount Fuji to the Mexican border, Egypt to Atlanta, here is Earth Day in photos.
Anouk Brouwer, Tokyo, Japan
“Stuck in our own bubbles, in our own realities, dreams and personal interests; let us not forget our mother earth."
Maureen Muse, Tijuana, Mexico
“Two young boys play in the sand on the beach as the sun begins to set. Next to a wall creating a border between the United States and Mexico.”
Denisse Ariana Pérez, Barcelona, Spain
"I think this image invites for a more profound dialogue with nature, a give and take, a mutual nurturing, a reciprocal replenishing."
Lin Zhipeng (aka.223), Beijing, China
“Free jump in a snow field in Beijing. We say everywhere is dangerous on earth, but danger is always wonderful. Be closer to the earth, feel it, love it.”
Wale Adebisi, Lagos, Nigeria
“Measures of yet undiscovered wonders of beauty, as we sojourn through her like a maze of stunning perplexity we are reminded the big and little things our mother conceives.” (Written by Onyinye Akabogu)
Marie Tomanova, New York, USA
“Photographing Isabel by the East River at the beginning of summer last year meant everything to me. Being able to get out of the closed spaces we were locked in for so long, feeling fresh air, smelling flowers, touching green grass and hearing birds chirp. It was a moment of reconnecting with the outside world and feeling alive.”
Sarah Berglund, Toronto, Canada
“A while ago, my friend Atticus and I got up at 6am and took the subway to the end of the line to sit at the beach and watch the sunrise. As we were leaving, I noticed how brightly his image was reflected in the colours of the landscape. I stopped him to take this photo and then we kept walking. Living in the city, the little adventures we take to seek out in nature can show us we're more connected to it than we sometimes feel.”
Lucas Nakazato, Campo Grande, Brazil
“A dreamer who survives in a pandemic crisis.”
Hiro Kawada, Lake Yamanakako, Japan
“Living in Tokyo in the pandemic is truly stressful. So, my friends and I escaped from the city to Lake Yamanakako and Mount Fuji to feel nature and Mother Earth.”
Salma Olama, Cairo, Egypt
“I caught this photo of my mom picking a tangerine from a tree in our back garden. The tangerines grow out once a year in the winter and this year they were particularly bitter — but we were still very excited.”
Mark Anthony Brown Jr., Atlanta, USA
“It’s important to understand how much we depend on the earth and its resources vs how much the earth depends on us; moments of solitude with the source can lend perspective on how much it truly provides for us.”
Tamara Chapman, New York, USA
“Prior to making this image, I knew there was something missing in my work that I couldn’t identify at the moment. As a homebody, the pandemic has helped me to understand the luxuries that come with spending time outdoors and experiencing nature, especially when making images. This is Kitty, who encouraged me to photograph the spaces around me because the beauty of landscapes is something I take for granted. After making this image I’ve really started to connect with my surroundings beyond my bedroom walls.”
Omar Osman, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
“It is of great importance to recognise that social justice and environmental justice are intertwined. Marginalised communities and socially excluded groups do not have access to the same resources and socio-economic status that privileged communities possess. Exploring and dismantling systems of oppression and centring voices of those most impacted by environmental harm is essential when it comes to fighting the climate crisis. Every day, our planet is increasing its calls for our help. Although we’ve made some steps, there is still so much left to be done.”
Jonathan George, New York, USA
“Love in all forms is ethereal and natural, and capturing that softness and intimacy in the beauty of nature is something that is important to document, especially in regards to Black Queer love.”
Tom Kneller, New York, USA
“Logan at Long beach. We truly are tied to the ocean. We must take care of it, because it is us.”
Joshua Kinsella, Hastings, UK
"This spot has always brought me peace and calm. To me, the sea is one of the most beautiful elements of nature. I often find myself by the waterfront when I need to clear my mind and reconnect with myself and the world around me."
Gili Benita, New York, USA
“On cold and short winter days, when the warm sunlight becomes a rare occasion, it receives a new meaning. It gives us the chance to reconnect with the earth and the sun even we are alone at home. This portrait of Daniel Levi, a Brooklyn-based fashion designer, was photographed during one of those cold winter days in his apartment in Brooklyn.”
Ashlee D, California, USA
“The thick grey clouds above came from the wildfires a couple cities down. To this day I find this image haunting. In this moment, it dawned on me that nature can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, and I have no control over it.”
Clark Hodgin, North Carolina, USA
“To exist in nature is to embrace a certain level of disconnect — stepping away from society in search of a deep breath. Only when we leave behind our shoes and sidewalks can we truly feel the cool wet rock beneath our feet.”
All images courtesy of the artists.