The Environmental Photographer of the Year contest has announced its 2022 winners. Like every year, some images show the beauty of both natural and man-made worlds. However, most photos show the grim reality that we live in. But if nothing else, they will make you care about the environment more than you already are. And it’s a good thing, right?
CIWEM, WaterBear, Nikon and Arup are the names behind this year’s contest. Now in its 15th year, the Environmental Photographer Of The Year showcases inspirational environmental photography but also provides an international platform to raise awareness for the issues that put our planet at risk. The 2022 contest saw entries from over 115 territories around the world and from amateur and professional photographers of all ages, ranging from seven to 90 years old.
This year’s grand prize winner is Mehdi Mohebi Pour, for his grim image titled The Bitter Death of Birds. The image depicts just three of the thousands of birds which died in the Miankaleh Lagoon in Iran due to contamination and lack of water. But it also shows the efforts of environmental workers to collect the bodies to prevent the spread of disease.
This image was chosen as the winner for its “surreal portrayal of the circular nature of life between humans and wildlife; as well as its powerful combination of conveying the real environmental issues affecting our planet, whilst using bold and contrasting colors to create a visually arresting photo,” the jury explains.
Commenting on his win, Mehdi Mohebi Pour says:
“It means the world to have won this prestigious award as photographing the climate and showcasing the damage being caused is my biggest priority in life. I want people around the world to know about this sad event of the death of the birds as, if we do not reconsider our lifestyle and take care of the planet, this will soon happen in other countries.”
The competition also celebrates the photographers of the future, with 16-year-old Fayz Khan winning the Young Environmental Photographer of the Year award. His image Beautiful But Hostile Colours on Earth, interestingly enough, also shows flamingos. Lesser flamingos, to be exact. You can see them flying over Lake Magadi and Lake Natron in Kenya: two water bodies that were once a single freshwater lake. Today, however, they have become two highly concentrated salt pans, which are severely alkaline and toxic to most forms of plant and animal life. But lesser flamingos are an exception – they love to feed on the surface.
The full list of the winning photographs and winners of this year’s competition are:
I would like to praise the contest for introducing an ethics panel this year, with goal of improving accountability and transparency in photo selection. Following a thorough screening process, the panel provided guidance on this year’s competition rules and reviewed photos that raised ethical concerns. The panel discussed all photos that didn’t meet the competition’s ethical standards. For example, if they dehumanize people or exploit individuals or animals. In these cases, the judges asked for additional information from photographers before making the final decision.
Terry Fuller, Chief Executive at CIWEM said:
“Our mission with the 2022 Environmental Photographer of the Year competition was to challenge and inspire those in front of and behind the lens with regards to how they view the earth and the people that inhabit it. The photographs submitted this year certainly do that and we hope encourage all who see them to think about their impact on the planet.”
Take a look at the category winners and a selection of shortlists below. You will find more information on the Environmental Photographer of the Year’s website.