The Grizedale Forest is an apt venue for this year’s Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year. Integrating art into the surrounding landscape, a piece of sculpture doesn’t seem out of place next to a tree or in a sunken ditch. All resonating a shared ethos of creating a relationship with the environment, art has an innate way of inspiring people to view the world that we know in a different way.
The 60 shortlisted environmental photographers shows a worldly view on this relationship with nature and the landscape. From how we are directly affecting our environment, to how the environment is directly affecting us. Less we forget that we are in unison with nature, there is no one without the other.
Bringing forth relatively unknown issues such as The Salt Lake Urmia in Iran, the biggest salt lake in the Middle East, which was declared by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve in 1976 and was used by many species of birds on their annual migration. The lake now contains only 10 per cent of the original amount of water, as a result both of climate change, and of dam and well construction.
There are images of stacked-up piles of orange life jackets, left behind by Syrian refugees on the island of Lesbos. A poignant, if startling, reminder of the terrible plight endured by thousands of stranded people fleeing from their homeland.
Working conditions for people in India, Bangladesh and other countries, are horrendous. The constant pain and suffering from breathing in toxic fumes, Faisal Azim’s photograph of 3 gravel workmen staring through a dusty glass window is just one of several ill-boding portraits. The affect of war haunts us with Davoud Ameri’s “The Iran-Iraq War. The place I lost my leg. Perhaps the same tank.” His shadow casts down as he looks over to children playing on a derelict tank.
Flooding seems rife everywhere. There are images from Hebden Bridge to Venice. Drought is equally as prevalent. Jonathan Fontaine’s image of a baby on a camel shows the distress brought to families living in the worst drought to be seen for 50 years in Ethiopia.
Wildfires and monsoons to solar farms and artificial plant growing. An image (right) showing rusty pipes across a stretch of Amazonian rainforest depicts the highly valuable transportation of black gold – oil through the Southern American continent. There are many issues that have been highlighted by this exhibition. Encouraging challenging photography allows us to take heed. Looking after our planet can seem like a mammoth task but everyone in their own way can help to tackle it. I hope many people go to this exhibition, we are so fortunate in many ways but we can’t remain in isolation as the world needs us to take care of it… we are all in this together.
Details of the photography exhibition can be found below and I’ve also listed a few activism websites which help massively to make politicians aware of issues as well as enlist the necessary people power when having to confront organisations from potentially taking advantage.
|Yuyang Liu ‘Men in Downtown Village’|
|(Top left) Faisal Azim ‘Gravel Workmen’|
|(Bottom) Jonathan Fontaine ‘The Worst Drought in 50 Years’|
|Davoud Ameri ‘The Place I Lost my Leg’|
|Winner – Sara Lindström ‘Wildfire’|
|Sandra Hoyn ‘Life Jackets on the Greek Island of Lesbos’|
|Pedram Yazdani ‘Sand’ (Lake Urmia, Iran)|
On until 3rd January 2017
The Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2016
Grizedale Visitor Centre
OS Grid ref: SD331944 or postcode: LA22 OQJ
September – October 10am to 5pm
November – January 10am to 4pm