Joan Sullivan

I am a Canadian photographer, writer and farmer who has concentrated on climate change since 2005. Formerly trained in international public health, I became a photographer in my 50s, focusing initially on the energy transition.

But in 2020, my photographic gaze shifted radically from documentary to abstraction following Australia’s catastrophic ‘Black Summer’ bushfires. Since then, I have adopted a phenomenological approach to photography to develop a more fluid, non-narrative language to express my ecoanxiety.

My recent work explores embodiment as a way to give voice to the nonhuman. In the liminal space between despair and hope, between chaos and the sublime, I have discovered an ephemeral beauty of our nonhuman relatives undergoing profound change in the Anthropocene. This beauty confuses me; I was expecting chaos to be dark and ominous.

Through my ongoing series of abstract photographs of rivers and trees, I have learned that I am not separate from climate change; I am part of it. That I am not separate from the river or the trees – I am river; I am tree.

Joan’s ClimateCultures posts

Joan Sullivan

Giving Voice to the Nonhuman

Photographer and writer Joan Sullivan shares her realisation that, no longer content to simply document climate change, a more fluid, non-linear visual language can evoke the nonhuman voice and reflect our own impermanence in a rapidly warming world. Read More
Deconstructing our Dominion Stories in a Time of Unravelling

Deconstructing our Dominion Stories in a Time of Unravelling

Photographer and writer Joan Sullivan reviews a pair of books - non-fiction, fiction - that embrace the unknown, helping us navigate our collective uncertainty and explore what it means to be human in a time of Anthropocene unravelling. Read More

Website Joan Sullivan Photography

Instagram @CleanEnergyPhoto

Spoutible @joansullivan