A YOUNG photographer’s poignant shot of Venice has been awarded a top photography prize.

Brighton-born photographer Joe Habben was announced the winner of the A Climate In Change category at the Earth Photo Awards.

The international competition is held jointly between the Royal Geographical Society and Forestry England.

The Argus: 24-year-old Joe Habben attended Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton.24-year-old Joe Habben attended Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton.

The 24-year-old’s entry, In Moleca, was taken in Venice during a period of exceptionally high tides, known as the Acqua Alta, in November 2019.

It shows a tourist standing in several inches of water and holding a suitcase above his head outside Venice’s main station, Santa Lucia.

After learning about the Acqua Alta while studying in his final year at Glasgow School of Art, Joe borrowed money from his brother and flew to Venice.

Joe said: “One day I was just in the library and it popped up on Facebook that the flooding was happening there and then.

“I flew out to Venice two days later and documented the aftermath that was taking place there.

“The fact that climate change can be discredited, and that people claim not to believe it, made me question how as a photographer I can visualise or comment on the reality of what is going on.


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“I wanted my work to act almost as evidence that the climate crisis is something that is happening now and not something that is in our future.”

Joe attended Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton before attending Varndean Sixth Form College.

He graduated from Glasgow School of Art this year with a degree in communication design.

He said that his love of photography began at the age of 14 when he was given his first camera for Christmas and now he wants to use his talent to champion social and environmental causes.

Joe told The Argus: “I feel as a creative that I have a responsibility to use images and they can often speak louder than words.

“Using photography to bring about positive change, rather than just for capital gain is important but I am definitely driven by social and political issues, for sure.”

Joe’s award-winning photograph is on display until April at Dalby Forest, Yorkshire; Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, Dorset; and Grizedale Forest, Cumbria.

To view all the photographs from the Earth Photo Awards, visit https://www.rgs.org/geography/earth-photo-2020/a-climate-of-change/