As part of the South West Coast Path Photographer of the Year competition, for the second year in a row, we have presented a special Climate Crisis Capture Award for the photo that best communicates important issues that are threatening the Coast Path such as; coastal erosion, pollution, rising sea levels, loss of biodiversity, loss of habitats and extreme weather.
And for the second year in a row, Dorset-based photographer James Loveridge won for his image of the biggest rockfall to have been recorded on the Jurassic Coast in 60 years. Matthew Pontin, Creative Director of Fotonow who judged the Award said,
“A huge congratulations to James, especially in winning the award in two consecutive years. The photograph highlights an approach to photography in telling the story of how the landscape is being altered by climate change.
An image that is not only a technically very accomplished image but highlights how the force of nature, with sea levels rising and storms being more destructive, can take a bite out of the land and footpaths we know and love. James’ work should make us stop and think about the changes we need to make and pressure that has to be applied to ensure a sustainable future for generations to come. Well done James! Keep making images and good luck to anyone wanting to take your award from you next year, the bar has been set.“
We caught up with James to find out his reaction to winning the award two years in a row!
How does winning the Climate Change Capture Award for the second time make you feel?
It’s great to have my photographs recognised two years running in this award category and I wasn’t expecting it at all. The coastline around the south west is constantly being altered by the sea and there are so many great photographers in the area documenting this change through their work. I’m lucky enough to be able to combine two things I enjoy learning about and have done for many years – photography and climate change. It’s good to see the South West Coast Path running a category like this in a competition, bringing attention to the issues we face.
Tell us a little about the image and when it was taken?
This photograph shows the biggest rockfall on the Jurassic Coast in 60 years and is believed to be around 4,000 tons. I took it the day the rockfall took place on 13th April 2021 and it was the first significant rockfall I have seen at this location for many years. The drone photography offers a unique and eye-catching perspective of rockfalls like this and really helps to put it into scale. This was, I think, the best photograph from the day as it really showed the size of the fall by showing it from far-out, in relation to the surrounding coastline.
As someone who lives and works in an area that is experiencing significant erosion along its coastline – how do you think this is affecting the local community?
I think many of the rockfalls we see on the Jurassic Coast are in areas that are less populated in terms of infrastructure, houses, businesses etc. What is becoming more of an issue is making people, particularly visitors to the area, aware of the dangers of rockfalls and landslides.
I think there is a misconception among many that coastal erosion is a bad thing and we must do whatever we can to stop it. But this is a big part of what makes the Jurassic Coast unique and recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With rising sea levels and more intense storms, in many places we are going to have to adapt and mitigate rather than defend, so I’m glad that photos like this can be used to document change, educate people and warn visitors of potential risks when visiting the coast.
If you’d like to read more from James check out an interview we did with him last year when he was the winner of the inaugural Climate Crisis Capture Award. READ MORE.
Runners Up of the Climate Crisis Capture Award
A massive well done to James for once again capturing the impact of coastal erosion on our shoreline and cliffs. There were many images submitted into this category and we want to share a couple of images that were highlighted by judge Matthew Pontin.
Matthew had the following to say of the two images,
Andy Hood’s image of jellyfish shows how nature needs to be considered in a less anthropocentric way. Whilst Debbie Whatt’s photograph shows the scale and force of the sea at work.
The Climate Crisis Capture Award has inspired many photographers and allows us to see the impact that climate change is having on our natural landscape and shoreline. The South West Coast Path exists on the fringe, the edge, the brink. It’s what makes it so special, so exhilarating and so freeing. This also puts it on the frontline when it comes to extreme weather caused by climate change. Documenting the changes through photography will help us to plan better to protect the Coast Path and ensure it remains one of the greatest trails in the world.
The South West Coast Path Photographer of the Year competition will be back later this year, please check www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/photo-comp for updates about when it will open for entries.