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Signal of the Sea

Rodney Dekker | Tuvalu

The capital Island of Kiribati, Tarawa from above. Both Kiribati and Tuvalu in the South Pacific consists of coral atolls only a few meters above sea level at their highest point and hence they are vulnerable to sea level rise.

The signal of the sea portrays a way of life undergoing the impacts of climate change on two South Pacific island communities, Tuvalu and Kiribati. These fragile coral atolls are only a few meters above sea level at their highest points and hence they are vulnerable to sea level rise and associated climate change impacts such as food insecurity and regular flooding. The Director of Tuvalu Meteorological Service, Hilia Vavae, says residents see the impacts of sea level rise with “our own eyes, our own observations, we have never had this flooding as intense as this”. She says, “The signal of the sea level is actually rising”. 

 I photograph and produce stories that inspire change. The motivation for doing so is developed through my academic background in environmental science and international development coupled with a desire to document history.

I was completing my masters degree in Environmental Analysis and International Development when I was introduced to photography, this resulted in two passions being drawn together, art and the environment. I choose to focus on subjects that mattered to me and be dedicated to this end. Since 2006 I have managed to build a strong collection of images about Climate Change in Australia, Bangladesh and the south pacific. I’ve also begun a project that documents the impacts of marine debris on wildlife.

As a visual storyteller I provide a means of extending the anecdote or the issue to a wider audience. I’m interested in telling complete stories through long-term projects in the same way that Sebastiao Salgado does. I feel this provides a more interconnected picture of reality.

My passion for documenting Climate Change is about saving cultures and natural environments that are under threat. My work hopes to illuminate these threats and to influence a collective consciousness, to act on Climate Change and marine debris.
I often use video and audio within my storytelling as well as stills. I believe that these elements combined communicate the story to a greater extent and provided more effective change.
My work has appeared in major newspaper and book publications worldwide and numerous prints are held in the National and State Libraries of Australia.

I hold a degree in Resource and Environmental Science and a Masters degree in Environmental Analysis and International Development. I’m a member of the Australian documentary photography group called MAP Group and a founding member of The Story Collective.

 Oxfam Australia

 Rodney Dekker

+61 412998173


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