Forestry Commission England and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) are delighted to announce the prizewinners for the inaugural edition of Earth Photo, an innovative and ambitious project which aims to enable a better understanding of the world around us through an exploration of four key themes – People, Nature, Place and Change.
Overall Winner: Rubén Salgado Escudero
Escudero’s Solar Portraits depict the inhabitants of some of the world’s remotest areas experiencing electricity for the first time. The electricity is generated through solar energy, and each image was taken in an environment lit only by solar powered light bulbs. An ongoing project, Escudero began working on Solar Portraits in 2014 following the publication of figures from the International Energy Agency which estimated that roughly 1.1 billion people worldwide still live without access to electricity.
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Category Winner, People: Hannah Maule-ffinch
Maule-ffinch’s Barracks of Belgrade series provides a bleak portrait of the refugee crisis in the Serbian city, where nearly 2,000 migrants are sleeping rough in a huge brick warehouse just behind the city’s main transport hub. In 2017, the Serbian government requested that charities stop providing aid in order to discourage further arrivals. Consequently, the resident migrants live amongst heaps of human excrement and, in temperatures of -16°C, burn toxic, creosote-soaked railway sleepers to try to keep warm.
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Category Winner, Nature: Edward Bateman
The images in Bateman’s Reversing Photosynthesis series were made photographically without the direct interaction of light. Leaves were placed in direct contact with light sensitive photographic paper and then left in total darkness. As the leaves broke down, the energy stored within was released to form images or imprints on the paper. The paper was then developed as a traditional chemical print. For Bateman, Reversing Photosynthesis is about the imperious and immortal nature of light. Living things, whether they be leaves or, on the other end of the scale, human beings, are simply vehicles for the continual movement of light around the world: ‘Like a photograph, we too are materially constructed from light made tangible and solid.’
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Category Winner, Place: Andrea Provenzano
Earlier this year, Provenzano spent a month in Nuuk, Greenland, in order to document the way in which rising temperatures are affecting the area’s society and culture. On the one hand, Greenland’s flourishing mineral industry is giving the nation the chance to build and secure economic leverage, but on the other hand, it is exposing a fragile ecosystem to foreign interests who are keen to exploit the area’s oil, gas, minerals, fish, arctic bio-tech and shipping lane opportunities. Light Down Below, Greenland’s Flourishing Mineral Industry, features a radome on top of a TELE-POST communication centre. Silicon-Valley companies consider Arctic areas as ideal sites for their server farms, as the low temperatures counteract the heat produced by the servers, thus providing a natural and inexpensive cooling system.
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Category Winner, Change: Lena Dobrowolska & Teo Ormond-Skeaping
Dobrowolska & Ormond-Skeaping’s Future Scenarios series, the result of a research collaboration with leading climate change scientists, researchers and policy-makers in both the UK and the Global South, is both an exploration and celebration of human survival in the face of adversity. The developed nations which are principally responsible for climate change and which have the greatest technological and financial resources available to tackle it, seem to be stuck in a state of political apathy and are making little progress towards either mitigation or adaptation. Conversely, the countries once thought of as helpless in the face of climate change are now emerging as leaders in the development of mitigation and adaptation strategies and are the closest to decarbonising their economies, even though as a group they have contributed the least to total global carbon emissions. Future Scenarios, then, presents a narrative of resilience and willingness to change, defiantly rejecting the fatalistic narrative of vulnerability and victimhood.
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David Jenner, Coastal Necklace – Man of War Bay, Dorset, UK
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Prizewinners for the inaugural edition of Earth Photo
more at Earth Photo