A Picture of Risk 2023

Ahead of the Exploring Risk Film Festival, the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience is hosting a photography exhibition entitled a Picture of Risk: Exploring Risk through Narrative Photography.

Photographers and researchers were invited to submit one photo that tells a story related to:

  • Preparedness: How do we prepare for natural and anthropogenic hazards to limit risk?
  • Impact: What social and environmental impacts do hazardous events have?
  • Aftermath: What is the recovery process following a disaster?

An exhibition is now running, with photos being displayed in the Teaching and Learning Centre at Durham University. The exhibition will run until the Film Festival on 16th and 17th February 2023.

If you have any feedback on the exhibition or would like to be notified about the photo call for Picture of Risk 2024, please fill out this Form.

We are also pleased to bring the exhibition online – please explore the Pictures of Risk and the stories they tell below!

Deri Syaeful Rohman
This photo of a “sunken mosque” was taken in Penjaringan, the northern part of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital city, and shows a mosque affected by rising sea levels. Apart from these problems, this condition is exacerbated by the issue of land subsidence in Jakarta, especially the North Jakarta area.
Maria Blumstock
The Geitlandsjökull glacier in southwest Iceland is shedding ice at an alarming rate. The annual volume carried away from all Icelandic glaciers and not replaced by new snow would fill 50 of the world’s largest trucks every minute for the entire year. For how much longer can Iceland be referred to as “the land of fire and ice”?
Shakeel Khan
During peak summers, mountain communities are at risk of flooding from melting glaciers and snow. A gabion wall can protect their lives and properties from inundation. I captured this picture of a gabion wall with a village in the backdrop during one of my monitoring visits to Ghizer district in the north of Pakistan.
Michele Allan
This image shows the effects of the February 2021 flooding in a farmer’s field in Sedgefield, Durham.

To see more of Michele’s work, please visit: www.micheleallan.com
Filipe Mate
This photo shows the impacts of inundation after flash rainfall in Maputo, Mozambique. It was taken on 3rd January 2023.

Please use these links to connect with Filipe via LinkedIn and email.
Ewa Leś
The picture is from Poland, where we experienced dramatic floods over the years, especially in the mountain regions. Translation of the graffiti literally means ‘folks, which wave will wake you up?’ and pictures the social threat which is the flood. The oldest/previous higher levels of water are visible on the wall marked as a green pattern.
Nowadays it seems that drought has its turn, not only in Poland but in the whole of Europe.

Please use these links to connect with Ewa via LinkedIn and the River University website.
Michele Allan
This image shows the impact of the September 2012 flooding in Durham city centre. The building in the photo was the former passport office.

To see more of Michele’s work, please visit: www.micheleallan.com
Nick Barber
To be prepared for flood events, monitoring the weather is important. This system installed on the roof of a shop in Majalaya, West Java, Indonesia, monitors the weather and feeds the information into a flood early warning system. The information is combined with weather forecasts and mathematical simulation models of the landscape and floods to alert the community when a flood may impact their home.

For more information, visit: https://bit.ly/JavaFloodOne
Rebekah Harries
Installing 1 of 18 temperature, humidity and rainfall monitoring stations in the foothills of Santiago, Chile, to determine the risk of floods according to the height of the 0º isotherm, the altitude below which it rains.
Sim Reaney
The landscape can be prepared for hazard events, such as with this nature-based solution for flood reduction. This pond is upstream of Keswick, Cumbria, UK, and can store some of the flood waters during a storm. As part of a network of similar features, they can reduce the size of the flood downstream. The pond also benefits wildlife, captures sediment and is used for wild swimming by the landowner – a broad set of benefits.

To explore this feature in 3D, visit: https://skfb.ly/6VGPS
Aaron Neill
From an aerial viewpoint emerge preferential pathways followed by livestock. At points of convergence, such as the stream crossing in this photo, significant soil poaching can occur. In a consequent state of near-permanent saturation, the degraded soil may become a major contributor to impaired microbial water quality through continual seepage of faecal pathogens to the stream.

Please use these links to connect with Aaron via Twitter and his institutional webpage.
Santosh S. Palmate
Climate change deteriorates agriculture by causing frequent droughts that raise water and nutrient crop stresses, resulting in unsustainable agricultural food production. Specific distances between plants and rows in the orchards ease field operations, avoid plant stresses, and help monitor growth changes.

Please use these links to connect with Santosh via Twitter and LinkedIn.
Joel Blackburn
Storm Arwen in November 2021 brought severe northerly winds to the UK, especially in the NE where 4000 hectares of woodland were destroyed. Fallen trees caused damage to buildings and infrastructure resulting in a large clean-up operation. Coniferous plantations were hardest hit whilst native woodland species proved more resilient.
Erin Harvey
This photo, taken in November 2019, depicts the lasting impact of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Over a decade after the earthquake, landslides continue to deliver large volumes of sediment downstream, posing a significant hazard to recovering local communities. Here, a bridge has been destroyed by a catastrophic post-earthquake debris flow.
Shakeel Khan
Roads are a critical infrastructure for mountain communities. Natural hazards like landslides and rockfalls can cause damage to the roads making them more vulnerable and hindering disaster risk reduction activities. I captured this picture of a rockfall during one of my monitoring visits to Chitral district in the north-west of Pakistan.
Ellen Robson
Off the wall: The picture exhibits a partially failed road cut slope along the Madan Bhandari Road in Nepal. A retaining wall that was built to stabilise the slope was not designed adequately enough to prevent failure. Only a single lane of the road remains passable and there is a serious risk of rock fall.

Please use these links to connect with Ellen via Twitter and her institutional webpage.
Ellen Robson
Risk in preparedness: This picture shows construction workers building a wall to improve the stability of a slope cutting along the Madan Bhandari Road in Nepal. The cut slope is very tall and, potentially, unstable and the workers are not wearing any protective clothing whilst conducting heavy labour.

Please use these links to connect with Ellen via Twitter and her institutional webpage.
Rebekah Harries
Interviewing locals about the disaster that followed the failure of their debris flow diversion infrastructure (on the right) in the Cajon del Maipo, resulting in three deaths and a number of houses being destroyed.
Hanna Ruszczyk
Inclusion, urban neighbourhood group (Bharatpur, Nepal): In order to understand how urban residents live their lives and participate in creating a city that suits their needs, risk perceptions and ways of engaging in the city were explored as part of my PhD research.  For the composition of this neighbourhood focus group, we had requested representation of men and women.  The women were not accustomed to having their opinion requested and listened to.  They enjoyed the interaction and discussion related to the question, “What will keep your community safe for the future?”.  We spent several hours together and the group of 15 – 20 people continued talking after my research assistant and I departed. 

Please use these links to connect with Hanna via Twitter and her personal website.