Environment Resilience: Ciril Jazbec upon documenting a hopeful potential

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The Slovenian image-maker, a winner of last year’s Decade of Change , stresses the significance of collaborative, solution-based environmental photography 

As someone who was raised in the foot of the Slovenian Alps, Ciril Jazbec has constantly felt closely connected to nature. While at primary school, he discovered the darkroom laboratory, an early exposure to image-making that eventually led him to study an MA in photojournalism and documentary photography at the London College of Communication. “I started documentary pictures while in London, partly due to my love of telling stories, ” he says. A decade later on, Jazbec has travelled across multiple continents, documenting humanistic responses to both organic and manmade environments.

Jazbec’s was one of the winning pictures of 1854 Media’s Decade of Change 2020 . He is the winner of the 2013 Leica Oskar Barnack Award and the 2021 World Press Photo Award. He wants their photography to not only evidence climate change, but to “go beyond the surface”, and find hope. ‘Climate resilience’, a term used by Jazbec throughout his projects, indicates a science-led approach to environment photography, one in which development, development and optimism get centre stage. One collection, for example , documents the synthetic glaciers used in the Himalayas – a device invented simply by Sonam Wangchuk, an professional local to the Himalayan region of Ladakh. The snow – called ‘stupas’ after their likeness to Buddhist religious monuments – store winter meltwater from the mountains, and slowly release this in the springtime when it is most needed.

With the help of the low-energy, high-yield artificial snow mound, surrounding communities can access fresh water all year round. Jazbec’s images show the benefits of the artificial ice stupas, and also the joy and cultural importance they have brought to the Ladakh region. These “incredible times of life” display the climate resilience, one he hopes will be felt globally. “The reality can be tough, and people are so used to bad news, ” he says. “I want to show the impact this kind of ingenuity is having within the real world and the incredible strength of the human spirit.

©  Ciril Jazbec.

©  Ciril Jazbec.

©  Ciril Jazbec.

“Some of such locations can be deadly, along with sudden changes in the weather leading to storms and blizzards. Trusting each other in those kinds of environments is essential for survival. ”

“I feel a deeply connection to all the places I have shot, and photography results in tell these stories, ” he adds. Jazbec presents these solution-based photo series through landscape and pictures, a dual approach along with significance; there is no land without people, and no people without having land.  

Through this holistic environmental portraiture, Jazbec wants to celebrate the humanity found in extreme climates like the Himalayan mountains and the Arctic Circle. “I always research an area deeply before We go, and sometimes, I can be on-site for months, ” he explains. This analysis informs his trips, but it does not dictate the pictures made when there. While working on the ice stupas story, Jazbec realised the importance of presenting the scientific plus utilitarian devices as cultural artefacts. They not only resemble religious monuments, but turn into a meeting point, playground, and intrinsic aspect of local lifestyle. “It is important to have a combination of curiosity, sincerity and trustworthiness in the photographs, ” he explains.

©  Ciril Jazbec.

©  Ciril Jazbec.

Trust is essential to his procedure, as Jazbec spends prolonged amounts of time with locals to further understand their romantic relationship with the environment. “Some of these locations can be deadly, along with sudden changes in the weather leading to storms and blizzards. Having faith in each other in those kinds of environments is essential for success, ” he says. In his continuing project, Jazbec photographs Greenland, a landscape melting quicker than he can document this. “It’s important to tell these types of stories with that trust, especially because these places are transforming so quickly. Sometimes it might be the last chance to tell the story. ”

Isaac Huxtable

Isaac Huxtable joined the Uk Journal of Photography within October 2020, where he happens to be the Editorial Assistant. Just before this, he studied the BA in History of Artwork at the Courtauld Instititue of Art, London.

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