Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
March 26, 2015

Waves Like Mountains: Viral Nature Photos in the Age of Climate Change

These nature photos by Australian photographer, Ray Collins, have been circulating widely on Twitter and Reddit. Here’s a collection at BoredPanda. What’s so distinct about these waves is that they almost appear solid, as if they were mountains. The article explains their power and interest in terms of their ability to capture the “raw, majestic, natural power of the sea.” But, could there be more at play here?

I think these photos are particularly powerful because they reflect “the inconvenient truth” that we can no longer trust what’s “natural.” Isn’t the ocean rising here and other bodies of water receding there, so much so that it’s pushing the lines? And, how much and how fast is the altered course of the environment reshaping how much we can trust it? Majesty notwithstanding, makes these photos so powerful (to me, at least, and I assume, to a much larger undercurrent) is how much more indeterminate nature, and our perception of nature, has become.

(photo: Ray Collins)

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