Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015 winners

29 June 2015

Competitions, Exhibitions

The Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015 is awarded to Uttam Kamati for his inspiring image ‘Watering Melon’. Kamati’s winning image depicts a husband and wife watering watermelon saplings on the Teesta river bed, in West Bengal, India. Kamati is an amateur photographer and filmmaker from India, who captures the work of humanitarian projects, transforming these endeavours into candid, touching scenes. He wins the prestigious title of Environmental Photographer of the Year and £5,000.

The entries were judged on impact, composition, originality and technical ability by a distinguished panel of judges. 2015 selector Dr. David Haley reflects on the winning image: “Some images immediately strike a chord. Some images linger in your mind and won’t go away. And some images pose more questions than they answer, making you want to find out more about them. As these qualities become apparent in ‘Watering Melon’ by Uttam Kamati, the environmental significance of this image is revealed.”

111 works of outstanding photographic art will be on display at the Royal Geographical Society in London until 10 July 2015, followed by a tour of forest venues nationally, supported by the Forestry Commission England. The exhibition can be seen at Grizedale Forest Visitor Centre, Cumbria from 18 July – 7 September 2015. 

Nigel Hendley, Interim Chief Executive, CIWEM, observes: “Now in its 9th year, the Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year is regarded as one of the most prestigious international environmental photographic competitions. Entries for the 2015 award were of the highest standard ever.” Nick Roberts, Atkins' CEO UKE, comments: "At a time when we are pushing the boundaries of human knowledge with advances in robotics and digital engineering, disasters such as the savage earthquakes in Nepal remind us that we cannot ignore Mother Nature. We need to bring together people who can view problems from every angle and come up with practical solutions that will enrich lives. The pictures are 111 reasons to work together and help move the world forward one step at a time."

© Bhar Dipayan, Families living under the bridge, India, 2014. Courtesy the photographer and Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the YearThe Atkins CIWEM Young Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015 prize of £1,000 has been awarded to Bhar Dipayan’s thought provoking image ‘Families are living under the Bridge’. Dipayan works in Kolkata, India, and has been a photographer for four years, slowly building up recognition in his own country and abroad for his intimate images of daily life in the developing world.

© Verity White, Ren Kyst - Got a spare afternoon?, Norway, 2014 (film still). Courtesy the photographer and Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the YearThe Atkins CIWEM Environmental Film of the Year of £1,000 goes to environmental and wildlife film-maker Verity White for ‘Ren Kyst - Got a spare afternoon?’ originally made to support a marine litter campaign in the Norwegian Arctic. For her film, she teamed up with the Norwegian environmentalist Bo Eide to bring to light the issue of marine litter on the Norwegian coastline. It includes the first ever footage of plankton ingesting microplastics. Her film can be viewed online at: https://youtu.be/xzklQprO59g

© Michael Theodoric, Enjoy, Jakarta, 2014. Courtesy the photographer and AtkinsCIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year The Atkins Cityscape Prize of £1,000 is awarded to Michael Theodoric for his arresting image ‘Enjoy’, which shows a man enjoying the view of Jakarta from his hotel room.

Commenting on the winning photograph in the Atkins Cityscape category, Janet Miller, Atkins’ Cities Director, said: “As our global population climbs towards an estimated 10 billion people by 2050 and our urban centres swell, the way we plan and future proof our cities has never been more important. Michael’s image captures a thought-provoking view of Jakarta, one of the most densely populated cities on earth, and provides a reminder of the importance of designing our city spaces sustainably for current and future generations.”

Esme Allen has been awarded the Forestry Commission England Exhibition Award for her series entitled ‘Eden Restored - The Mesopotamian Marshes of Iraq’. She will now be invited to exhibit a solo show of her © Esme Allen,Woman outside her reed house, Mesopotamian Marshes, Iraq, 2012. Courtesy the photographer and Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Yearwork at one of England’s public forests. The marshes were drained by Saddam Hussein, forcing their inhabitants to flee to neighbouring countries. They were not only home to the Marsh Arabs but also to a huge variety of birds and wildlife. After Saddam's downfall local people smashed part of the dam walls and the water once again covered the dry land; many of the Marsh Arabs have now returned to live in a traditional way on the water.

Ian Gambles, Director, Forestry Commission England, comments: “I am delighted to select the work of Esme Allen for the Forestry Commission England Exhibition Award 2015. Esme’s photographs of the Mesopotamian marshes of Southern Iraq are a fascinating account of the return of the people who lived there as well as the ecological resilience of the flora and fauna of this unique landscape. We created the Forestry Commission England Exhibition Award to reveal the breath of the selected photographer’s work and focus in depth on a significant environmental story. We are delighted to continue our association with this exceptional project, bringing the exhibition to thousands of visitors across England’s Public Forest Estate”. 

Main Image: Uttam Kamati, Watering Melon, Teesta Riverbed, India, 2014. Courtesy the photographer and Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year.