The Environmental Photographer of the Year 2023 (EPOTY) photo contest winners have been announced, including a pair of grand titles and four additional category winners.
Now in its 16th year, the competition was launched by CIWEM and WaterBear and is presented by Nikon, MPB, and Arup. The latest edition of the contest attracted entries from amateur and professional photographers in about 160 countries.
“This year’s six winners primarily come from climate-vulnerable countries, including Bangladesh, India, and Argentina, with photographers on the front line using photos as a tool to spark climate action and generate awareness,” writes the EPOTY.
Maurizio di Pietro Wins Grand Title for His Photo of a Soldier Fly Experiment
Italian professional photographer Maurizio di Pietro has taken this year’s top prize with a photo of an innovative insect food experiment at the University of Turin. The experiment, led by Professor Laura Gasco, “assesses the impact of incorporating insect flour into the diets of rainbow trout and chickens to determine its potential as a nutrition source, particularly as food scarcity increases in line with a growing population.”
The soldier fly, or Hermetia illucens, is protein-rich and a highly sustainable food source. The flies require minimal water and soil and also feed on food waste. Maurizio’s winning photo is part of a larger series called “Zero Hunger,” which documents worldwide food insecurity and the potential solutions insects offer.
“My home country of Italy is experiencing a frightening reality: 22% now face food insecurity, and this number is only set to increase as climate change intensifies. Through my photographs, however, I don’t just want to document the problem, but also offer a way forward,” explains di Pietro. “By photographing experiments of potential new food sources, I hope to break open the closed corridors of academia and raise awareness of this solution around the world. Only by showing a way forward can we inspire people to abandon a doom-drenched view of the world and fight for a better one.”
“The image encapsulates our dependence on the smallest creatures for survival. Moreover, it is beautifully executed, evoking an almost balletic fragility — apt for the crisis that stares us in the face. It was an image I came back to again and again, and by its nature made me want to know more,” says jury member Arati Kumar-Rao.
18-year-old Solayman Hossain Earns Nikon’s Young Environmental Photographer of the Year
Solayman Hossain took a beautiful drone photo of a farmer herding his cows through floodwaters in Kushtia, Bangladesh, a village close to Hossain’s home.
“I hope my photo will inspire environmental action by showcasing the importance of nature, raising awareness about environmental issues, and encouraging others to take positive steps towards sustainability,” Solayman says.
Competition judge Kumar-Rao adds, “A beautifully composed photograph with a gorgeous color palette. Kudos to our young winner for this well executed drone image.”
“The submissions received this year managed to freeze in a single moment the many faces of our planet and the survival of all that dwell here. The winning submissions are startling and thought provoking and we urge you to take a look and feel the story behind each photo,” say the contest organizers.
“Facts and statistics can make climate change seem distant, but these photos bring the reality of the crisis up close, urging us to take action,” explains Sam Sutaria, CEO at WaterBear. “Many of these photos are taken by photographers from places bearing the brunt of a climate catastrophe they didn’t create. By showing us a world so wonderfully alive, yet so fragile, these photos serve as a powerful wake-up call. They should also inspire hope: if we can document climate change so creatively, we should be assured of our ability to tackle it too.”
Image credits: Photos courtesy of the Environmental Photographer of the Year competition. Individual photographers are credited in the captions. For more information on the contest, visit the EPOTY website.