Chris Donovan

2021 The Sunday Times Award for Achievement


The Cloud Factory

As a child, I looked up at the smokestacks in my hometown and asked my dad if they made all of the world’s clouds. “No,” he replied. “They make money.” It’s a common experience in Saint John, New Brunswick, a company town that’s home to Canada’s largest oil refinery. The Cloud Factory project reflects on environmental classism in a city that is home to the billionaire Irving family. It is also home to one of the country’s poorest neighbourhoods, with a child poverty rate of 50%. Through photographic narratives, investigations into environmental injustice, and reflecting on my own upbringing, I examine how identity is formed in a community that relies on a harmful industry for survival.

About the Photographer

Chris Donovan (b.1995) is a documentary photographer currently based between Toronto and New Brunswick, Canada. Hailing from the industrial city of Saint John, New Brunswick, his practice focuses on the intersection of community and industry. His work has been recognised by the World Press Photo Awards, Pictures of the Year International, The Alexia Foundation, Sony World Photography Awards, The National Newspaper Awards, and the News Photographers Association of Canada – including being named Canadian Photojournalist of the Year for 2017 and 2018.