Visa pour l'image: Report from 'the frontline of global warming' wins digital award
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Photojournalist Vlad Sokhin won on Thursday the award for the Best Digital News Story for his long-term project documenting climate change in Russia’s Far East at the Visa pour l’image photojournalism festival in the south of France.
Global warming has become a real threat for the inhabitants of the Kamchatka Peninsula, a territory located between the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean in Russia’s Far East. In his project “Warm Waters: Kamchatka”, which won the Visa d’or franceinfo for Best Digital News Story, Sokhin shows how melting permafrost, coastal erosion, and extreme weather events are affecting vulnerable local communities throughout the region.
The Russian-born photographer has been documenting these ominous changes for four years in a region he describes as the “frontline of man-made global warming”. His multimedia documentary shows the dilemma of locals affected by climate change as they wonder whether they should stay or leave the place where they grew up.
Sokhin has been awarded 8,000 euros in prize money, which is funded by France Médias Monde (which includes FRANCE 24), France Télévisions, Radio France Internationale and INA, all public broadcasting media.
"Climate change is hard for a photographer to cover. It’s not like a war, we have to wait a long time before something actually happens,” says Sokhin.
His luminous photographs illustrate how inhabitants of the Commander Islands, located 175km east of the Kamchatka Peninsula, deal with a decline in fishing resources and drinking water as sea levels keep on rising. Sokhin’s visual evidence from the Pacific region also include Alaskan fishermen and islanders living on the archipelagos of Tuvalu and Kiribati.
“For me they are all the same,” says Sokhin as he refers to communities separated by vast stretches of ocean. His work, which can be seen at the Couvent des Minimes in Perpigan, until the 17th of September.