Sean Gallagher

  • Photographer & Filmmaker

Research interests

Sean Gallagher (born, 1979) is a British photographer and filmmaker, who has been in Asia for over 15 years. 

Based out of Beijing, China, he specialises in covering issues surrounding the climate crisis and other global environmental crises.

From chasing timber poachers with armed policemen through the jungles of Cambodia, to photographing undercover in secretive North Korea, he creates innovative photographic, video and multimedia projects for some of the world’s leading news outlets including National Geographic, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal. 

His photography and films highlight individual's stories from communities that are affected by issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, desertification and deforestation.

He graduated in Zoology from university in the United Kingdom and it is his background in science that has led to much of his work being focused on communicating environmental issues through visual storytelling.

His first major work in 2008-2009 focused on the desertification of northern China, completed during a 6-week overland trip across the country. This body of work was acknowledged as “some of the most striking images on display at the Copenhagen climate change conference”, by the BBC World Service in 2009.

Between 2010-2020, Gallagher has worked on a diverse range of environmental stories across the Asia-Pacific region including stories on wetlands disappearance in China, climate change on the Tibetan Plateau, rising sea levels in Indonesia and Tuvalu, the effects of industrial pollution in northern India and human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka.

He is regularly invited to present his work to public, private and government institutions including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Google News Initiative, The Shanghai World Expo, Georgetown University and the US State Department.

He is a 8-time recipient of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting travel grant, his images are represented by the National Geographic Image Collection and he is a Fellow of the UK Royal Geographical Society.

His other selected recent awards include; Pictures of the Year Award of Excellence in Daily Life Documentary (2020), Environmental Photographer of the Year – Changing Environments Prize (2019), Resilience Science Journalism Fellow – Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism (2019), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Science Journalism Fellow (2017), Environmental Film of the Year - Winner, for film, 'The Toxic Price of Leather' (2014), Published 'Meltdown', a multimedia eBook documenting China's environmental crises in the early 21st Century (2013).