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Environmental Photographer of the Year 2011 - Stuart Fawcett went along to the SW1 Gallery to view this year's winning photographs.
Organised annually since 2007 by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), this is an international showcase for the very best photography and video with an environmental them. It’s for both amateurs and professionals alike and is free to enter and is said to be "one of the fastest growing photographic competitions in the world". The prize is a modest £5000 shared amongst the winners so it’s as much about the photo’s as the cash.
With over 10,000 entrants from 105 countries the standard was very high and yet most of the winners were able to make it into the SW1 gallery near Victoria station for the awards ceremony. The free exhibition is open until next Saturday 17th December, the gallery is lovely and next to a Wagamama’s restaurant if you fancy a meal afterwards.
Photographic awards were given under categories of: The Natural World, The Underwater World, Mott MacDonald's Changing Climates, A View of the Western World, CS2's Building Our Futures, and Quality of Life.
Two Special Age restricted categories were Under 16 and under 21s for Atkins' Young Environmental Photographer of the Year. Also there was the Environmental Video of the Year category.
The Overall Winner is "Homeless" photographed by Chan Kwok Hung from Hong Kong and was entered under "Quality of Life" category. The children live with their grandmother and search the scrap yard for things to sell, using the money to buy food, according to Chan Kwok Hung.
With entries underwater, on top of moving trains and even of mushrooms you are sure to find something you like and I think many things you will love. The book of the awards would be an amazing coffee table present for Christmas and is under £30 although be warned, some of the pictures do show dead bodies. There are also limited edition prints available if you are a more specialist collector.
One of my favourite photo’s was "Nothing to hold onto" a picture on top of a moving train in Bangladesh, the shutter speed is just right to blur the trees rushing past whilst the fare free passengers sit still and sharp risking death hoping not to fall off. The photographer GMB Akash was presumably also risking his own life for this photo. Another stunner is the B&W mater piece - Jute Monster by Jashim Salem, a truly powerful image I think.
The Institution's policies for the next five years to help mitigate and adapt to climate change and other serious environmental threats. The CIWEM calls for the creation of a low carbon society, a national programme to retrofit appropriate water and energy saving technologies into the existing housing stock, an end to new airport capacity and environmentally damaging subsidies for the aviation industry and the introduction of a mechanism to halt deforestation globally. With Sponsor’s like the photo stock agency “ Specialist Stock” Mott MacDonald, CS2 & Atkins the message is certainly a compelling one that is getting through to people that can help make a difference.
Links you may want to take a look at: