His photograph of Nordaustlandet’s waterfalls is a prime example of this approach. “You see climate change in effect right there,” he says. “It’s beautiful but it’s gut-wrenching.” This combination has attracted numerous buyers, as well as the media—it was the lead image in a National Geographic issue dedicated to climate change, as well as the cover of Nature Conservancy magazine.
Al Gore also uses the image in his lectures on climate change. “It’s an image that really allows you to have a microphone and discuss the biggest issue of our time,” Nicklen says.
Appropriately, the gallery opens its doors on Earth Day. Although some 24,000 people are expected to attend New York’s March for Science that day, Nicklen emphasizes the gallery’s potential to inform and push people to act every day of the year.
“Once I take a great image, it’s time for that picture to go to work,” he explains. “The gallery is another place that, while I’m sleeping or while I’m on my next assignment, these images are still working. They’re still telling stories while I’m already on to the next project.”