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Environmental Photographer of the Year (EPOTY) 2022

Posted on Dec 6, 2022

Nikon’s EPOTY 2022 winners raise awareness for the issues that plague our planet

Nikon, CIWEM, WaterBear and Arup have been collaborating to bring us the best from environmental photographers from around the world, for the 15th time. Every year it showcases the most inspirational environmental stories, provoking awareness for issues that are plaguing our environment.

Photography plays a vital role in revealing societal shortcomings, freezing in time a moment of unrest. It can reveal the harsh realities of human suffering, animal distress or environmental degradation, documenting rapid deterioration. It’s not all doom and gloom, it is hoped that these photographs and those like them will prompt swift action against the destruction of the environment. Much like this year’s winner, Mehdi Mohebi Pour, whose ‘The Bitter Death of Birds’ (2021) depicts three of the thousands of birds that perished in the Miankaleh Lagoon (Iran) due to lack of water and contamination. The efforts of workers collecting the bodies to prevent the spread of disease is also a moment of poignancy, securing the title for the surreal portrayal of the circular relationship between humans and wildlife.

It means the world to have won this prestigious award, as photographing the climate and showcasing the damage being caused is my biggest priority”, Mohebi Pour says. “I want people around the world to know about the sad event of the death of the birds in Iran, as if we do not reconsider our lifestyle and take care of the planet, this will soon happen in other countries.”

Environmental Photographer of the Year: The Bitter Death of Birds, Mehdi Mohebi Pour, 2021. Flamingos lead dead in Iran following contaminated water
© Environmental Photographer of the Year: The Bitter Death of Birds, Mehdi Mohebi Pour, 2021

The competition also honours photographers of the future, like 16-year-old Fayz Khan. Fayz takes home the Young Environmental Photographer of the Year award for his captivating image, ‘Beautiful but Hostile Colours on Earth’ (2022). Taken in Kenya, lesser flamingos fly over the bodies they feed off, Lake Magadi and Lake Natron. Unfortunately, the water is toxic to most other forms of plant and animal life due to becoming extremely alkaline. The photo is classical and well-composed, the judges praise, while also highlighting the untold effects of the climate crisis in the Rift Valley.

© Young Environmental Photographer of the Year - Nikon Award: Beautiful but Hostile Colours on Earth, Fayz Khan, 2022. Birds flying over contaminated water source Lakes in Kenya
© Young Environmental Photographer of the Year - Nikon Award: Beautiful but Hostile Colours on Earth, Fayz Khan, 2022

Stefan Maier, general marketing manager at Nikon Europe says: “we’re delighted to support such a young talent as he contributes to the impact photography will continue to have.”

The 2022 jury panel included Nikon Ambassador and activist, Roie Galitz and environmental and human-rights photographer, Matilde Gattoni. Professional and amateur entries of all ages from over 120 territories were judged; an ethics panel was introduced to improve transparency and accountability. The panel were most focussed on images that raised any ethical concerns and where necessary, requested additional information from photographers to create an informed decision.

Scroll through the full list of the winning photographs and winners below:

To learn more about this year’s Environmental Photographer of the Year visit the Environmental Photographer of the Year website.

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