Environmental Photographer of the Year 2009

Talking about stars by Bolucevschi Vitali

Moldovan photographer, Bolucevschi Vitali, has won the prestigious title of CIWEM’s Environmental Photographer of the Year 2009, whilst CIWEM’s Young Environmental Photographer of the Year is now 19 year old Jordan Mary from Kent, England.

The Environmental Photographer of the Year is one of the fastest growing photographic competitions in the world, with pictures entered from over 60 countries including Serbia, Jamaica, Belarus, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Romania, India, South Africa, Australia, Israel, USA, China, Belgium, Vietnam and the UK. It is an international showcase for the very best in environmental photography, honouring amateur and professional photographers who use their ability to raise awareness of environmental and social issues. The categories are Mott MacDonald’s Changing Climates; Black & Veatch’s World of Difference; Quality of Life; The Natural World; and the Young Environmental Photographer of the Year (Under 21). Black & Veatch, an engineering consulting and construction company specialising in water and environmental work, has been a sponsor of the competition since its inception. And Mott MacDonald, an engineering and development consultancy, joined the EPOTY team in 2009.

Only 24 years old, the winner Bolucevschi Vitali tells us why he took his winning image, Talking About Stars:

“Since childhood I have loved to observe the life of wildlife, particularly the complex and dramatic life of insects. There is still so much to discover in natural photography so it is very exciting to think you might create something new and special each time you take your camera out. I am overwhelmed that I am the Environmental Photographer of the Year 2009. This victory is very important for me and for my creativity and I hope to keep taking such interesting pictures.”

Jordan Mary’s image Train Station Arrival was taken when his train ground to a halt just outside Pune station in India to be greeted by a young school boy.

On hearing the news, an enthusiastic Jordan responded by saying:

“I am absolutely delighted - I am currently in India yelling my head off after receiving the news of my first ever photography award. To win this award is an honor as I have only been photographing the beauty of the world, its people and places for two years. I am full of excitement! This will be my first photo ever exhibited - I hope it will inspire others to experience new places, people and cultures.”

The panel of judges recieved nearly 2,500 entries, they were looking for images that were contemporary, creative, resonant, original and beautiful. Bolucevschi Vitali became CIWEM’s Environmental Photographer of the Year after Talk About Stars won the Natural World category and was then selected by judge and Chairman of the Environment Agency, Lord Smith, as the overall winner.

Talking about the winning image, Lord Smith said:

“This is a compelling image that conveys the beauty, the fragility, and the delicacy of nature in an extraordinary way. It reminds us that the environment, in its smallest detail as well as its grandest sweep, needs care and stewardship from us all.”

Vitali and Jordan share the prize fund of £3,500 with the other category winners. Mott MacDonald’s Changing Climates category was won by Australian Nick Moir, who specialises in storm chasing and bush fire coverage for his image of the Victorian bushfires, Microburst and Dust Storm. Khaled Hasan, from Bangladesh, won the Quality of Life category with his photograph of 26 year old Kalam Ali working at a stone crushing machine in Living Stone, A Community Losing Its Life. And Indian photographer Asis Kumar Sanyal won Black & Veatch’s World of Difference with his image Polio Day, which shows mothers taking their babies to a nearby health centre to get vaccinated against Polio.

Judge Nick Reeves, CIWEM’s Executive Director, said:

“Year on year, the Environmental Photographer of the Year keeps growing – we’re up by 44 percent on 2008, with entries representing a huge geographical and cultural mix. This shows an increased willingness on the public’s part to highlight the challenges that face them on an everyday basis, and an increased appreciation for the wonder and beauty that surrounds us. Protecting our environment is the most pressing problem we face and the Environmental Photographer of the Year Award is becoming one of the most important competitions in the photographic calendar. Congratulations to all of our fabulous winners.”

Winning photographers will have their images showcased in a free international exhibition, which launches at 3 Bedfordbury Gallery, Covent Garden from 7th October until 18th October. Limited edition prints of some of the winning and highly commended entries will be available for sale during this exhibition only. For more information on the competition and exhibition, please go to www.ciwem.org/arts/photographer.


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