Images of environmental and social issues can be emotive, thought-provoking and extremely powerful. And the winners of this year's prestigious Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year are no exception. They were announced by the world’s greatest living explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, in a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society.
Launched in 2007, the competition has become one of the fastest growing photographic competitions in the world, and an international showcase for the very best in environmental photography and video. The winning film and images are most definitely thought-provoking, hauntingly beautiful and tackle a range of environmental themes and issues, as you can see below.
Environmental Photographer of the Year
Sara Lindström claimed the prestigious title of Environmental Photographer of the Year 2016 for her imposing photograph of a wildfire in southern Alberta, Canada on a warm July day. “The big flames were thriving on the dry land and had me completely mesmerised in fear and awe,” she says. Sara has visited over 50 countries, capturing the beauty of the more remote corners of the Earth.
Young Environmental Photographer of the Year
Young Environmental Photographer of the Year went to Luke Massey for his bold photograph of a peregrine on a condo balcony in Chicago. Peregrines began to be reintroduced into the state of Illinois in the 1980s and now 22 pairs nest in Chicago alone, he explained. Luke dedicates his photographic skills to drawing attention to the plight of wildlife under threat.
Atkins Built Environment Award
Photojournalist SL Kumar Shanth won the Atkins Built Environment Award, which depicts the damage being wrought on the coastline at Chennai – the biggest metropolis in Southern India – by a combination of manmade and natural forces. As the population of cities are set to soar, this is a powerful reminder of the challenges facing many areas of our world.
CIWEM Changing Climate Award
Sandra Hoyn received the CIWEM Changing Climate Award for her moving photograph depicting the discarded life vests used by refugees to cross to Greece from Turkey, and hints at the enormity of the crises and dangers faced by refugees. She is a photojournalist concentrating on social, environmental and human rights issues.
Forestry Commission England People, Nature and Economy Award
The Forestry Commission England People, Nature and Economy Award went to Pedram Yazdani for his arresting work of The Salt Lake Urmia in Iran. It is the biggest salt lake in the Middle East, but now contains only 10% of the original amount of water as a result both of climate change and of dam and well construction, he explains. This powerful image demonstrates the dramatic impact land management decisions can have on our environment.
These photographs and the winning film will be displayed along with 60 other shortlisted works chosen from over 10,000 entries at the Royal Geographical Society in London, UK, from 29 June to 22 August. The exhibition will then be touring to Forestry Commission England's Grizedale Forest site, from 3 September until 1 January 2017.
The competition was started by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) for amateur and professional photographers to share the very best environmental images. It now plays a role in enhancing our understanding of the causes, consequences and solutions to global environmental and social issues, including sustainable development, pollution and social inequality.
Visit the Environmental Photographer of the Year 2016 website to find out more about the exhibition and tour. You can also join the conversation on Twitter using #EPOTY16
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