Unfolding our future

Green Lifestyle

There’s an urgent need for action on climate change, but creating societal change isn’t an easy task. Acclaimed photographer Michael Hall tells us about his unique career of telling the stories of our planet through powerful imagery.

Gas fields South Australia

One of Michael's photos of gas fields in Moomba, South Australia. A reminder of the role burning fossil fuels plays in our changing climate.

Credit: Michael Hall

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Until 2007, Sydney based award-winning photographer Michael Hall would see his work on billboards and in advertising campaigns for massive corporations and said it was always nice to see, but it just didn’t seem right; it felt like his work was lacking meaning.

After a severe cycling accident in 2007 and a period of reflection, it was time to use his skills as a photographer for a greater purpose and show people the true impact climate change is having on the world.

Hall has committed to visiting a wide range of locations both near and far to work on a huge and continuously growing project documenting the causes, effects and solutions for climate change to help create social awareness.

And to share his message, he practices what he preaches too. "I always travel as economically as possible, whether it be by rolling out the swag or sleeping in the back of a car in -17ºC, or travelling by ship to far destinations and contributing on-board."

On a primarily self-funded journey, with some help from the The Climate Institute, Hall has found himself in some of the most beautiful places on the planet including Iceland, Morocco, China, Bangladesh and Philippines.

All of these exotic locations are featured in his latest exhibition, The Story of our Planet Unfolds at Customs House, Sydney. It's said that a picture says a thousand words, and in this case the photos tell powerful stories of the crisis climate change is having around the globe in a range of different ways.

One of the most emotional experiences Michael has had during this journey is one close to home; the deforestation in Tasmania. Making it clear that the current political situation in Australia of major concern, he drew a comparison to men in Canberra creating the same ‘unbelievable’ devastation as the men with chainsaws in the old growth forests in Tasmania. Hall is pushing for the people of Australia to give the current government a ‘hard time’, encouraging the right decisions to be made, especially in relation to environmental issues.

At the exhibition currently showing in Sydney, some of the images that intrigued me most were the ones Hall had taken in Bangladesh, focusing on food security issues. We talked about this and discussed the importance of sharing such strong images with the public. He spoke about how Bangladesh has been one of his favourite places to visit, telling us, "I’m in love with Bangladesh, it is charming in its own ways. Not only from a visual perspective, but the country is full of beautiful people, and everything is done by hand".

Hall is due to head back to the Philippines for a few months later in the year, he says "to hangout, re-group, and spend sometime researching what the next series may include". Being so infuriated by the current political situation at home in Australia, he tries to spend time in other locations around the world, documenting the causes, effects and solutions for climate change to share with people to try and provoke political change.

Discussing this matter of climate change with him, it was natural to ask him for a bit of advice on what he thought is the best way to help minimise our impact on the environment in our day to day lives, and he gave us a powerful and inspiring response; "Do yourself a favour and spend money on experiences rather than possessions".

Hall's true desire is to visit many other places around the world to document the devastation climate change is having on the environment. His work is also on display at The Story of Our Planet Unfolds exhibition at Customs House in Sydney until 5 September, 2014.

Click through the images below to see our gallery of Michael Hall's awe-inspiring work.