The Environmental Photographer of the Year Award

Nikon, WaterBear, and CIWEM have launched the search for The Environmental Photographer of the Year 2021. Now in its 14th year, this annual competition provides an international platform to raise awareness of the environmental issues that put our planet at risk. The award celebrates humanity’s ability to survive and innovate and showcases thought-provoking images that call attention to our impact.

The competition is free to enter for all ages. Professional and amateur photographers alike are invited to submit their most provocative, emotive and captivating environmental photography. Participants will be competing for cash awards and prizes across 8 categories, and for the top award of The Environmental Photographer of the Year 2021.

Introducing this year’s panel of award-winning judges

British photographer Ope Odueyungbo, Norwegian photographer Lina Kayser, British photographer Alfie Bowen, photographer for The New York Times and Pulitzer Prize Winner in the category of Feature Photography Josh Haner, designer Marquise Stillwell, climate justice activist Frances Fox, Director of the ICCCAD Saleemul Huq, photographer Ben Moore, civil engineer Diana Abrunhosa and CIWEM CEO Terry Fuller, will review and select the winning photographs.

Alfie Bowen, Z Creator

Alfie is an award-winning British photographer with autism. His artistic vision is shaped by a meticulous attention to detail and an unwavering determination to prove people wrong. Once alienated by his peers, Alfie found an affinity to animals that guided him through his darkest moments. As a child, he sought solace in wildlife magazines and documentaries, now as an adult his work has been featured by BBC Earth and is lauded by celebrities including Sir David Attenborough. Alfie's inspiring story has also seen him work alongside charities to raise awareness for wildlife and autism. As of 2021 Alfie is now one of the Nikon Z Creators.

Lina Kayser, Z Creator

Lina is a Norwegian photographer based in Dovrefjell, Norway. She specialises in cold and remote places in the north as well as the fragile Arctic life. In addition to her solo photo projects, Lina has been hosting photography workshops in Norway and abroad as well as ship-based expeditions to Svalbard. With a strong passion for wildlife in the Nordic and Arctic, Lina uses social media to share her perspectives. Lina has worked in partnership with Nikon since 2017 and is now also a Nikon Z Creator.

Ben Moore, Z Creator

Ben Moore is a self-taught commercial photographer specialising in aerial, architectural and urban photography. His style is slightly moody but clean with earthy tones. He has a love for using lines in his images with a sharp visual that shocks and excites his audience. Ben has worked with Nikon since August 2020 as a Nikon Z Creator.

Frances Fox, Youth Climate Justice Activist

Frances is a youth climate justice activist and the Founder, UK Director and International Artist/Speaker Outreach Coordinator for Climate Live. Climate live produces global concerts harnessing the power of music to engage, educate and empower people in the climate movement. Frances is also Festivals Coordinator for the UK Student Climate Network and helps organise international campaigns with Fridays For Future. Frances represented UK school strikers when she stood up on the same stage as Greta Thunberg in Bristol to speak to the crowd of 30,000 people demanding action from government and businesses on climate change.

Ope Odueyungbo, Photographer

Picking up photography at the age of 16, Ope’s style and work has changed over the years appreciating all kinds of photography but he has always loved specialising in street, portraiture and architecture. Ope’s work has been published by Trope in the 2019 book Parallel Lines, his first solo book release and volume 2 of Trope’s Emerging Photographers Series, a new collection celebrating the works of young and emerging photographers from around the world. Ope’s images are a study in contrast, presenting a duality of perspective evident in his professional and personal work: extrovert vs. introvert, urban/architectural vs. personal/familial. Ope strives to capture his viewers’ attention by making the ordinary extraordinary, drawing them in through his use of leading lines, grids and geometric patterns, and his experimentation with distances and vantages.

Diana Abrunhosa, Civil Engineer

Diana is a Civil Engineer in the Water team at ARUP and a chartered member of CIWEM. Diana has always been inspired by water resilience, sustainability and how cities can adapt to embrace their environments and help tackle climate change. She has an active role as a STEM ambassador, having participated in several school programmes to raise awareness of sustainability principles.

Terry Fuller, CIWEM CEO

Terry has over 30 years’ experience as a water and environmental manager having provided technical leadership on large-scale projects in some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging locations. Terry is passionate about reaching a zero carbon world and recognises that achieving net zero by 2050 domestically will not avert the disastrous global heating projected under current trends. Before devoting his work full time to CIWEM, Terry was, and remains, an active member.

Marquise Stillwell, Designer

With a practice spanning across two decades, Marquise Stillwell’s journey began with a curiosity for people and spaces that later developed into a passion for designing systems that make all environments better for everyone. In 2009, Marquise founded Openbox - a design and research studio based in New York City that works at the intersection of people and systems. Marquise Stillwell is a designer and a catalyst for building communities across design, art, and culture. Marquise is also a member of the High Line Advisory Committee and a fellow at Urban Design Forum.

Josh Haner, Photographer

Josh is a staff photographer and the senior editor for photo technology at The New York Times. He was awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography and has spent the last seven years working across the globe to document the pressing and wide-ranging realities of climate change. In drone footage and still photography from the ground, he explores the consequences faced by a warming world. His photography and video journalism have been honoured with awards from World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year International and the National Press Photographers Association.

Saleemul Huq, Director of the ICCCAD

Saleemul Huq is the director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Bangladesh, and is an expert on the links between climate change and sustainable development, particularly from the perspective of developing countries. He was the lead author of the chapter on Adaptation and Sustainable Development in the third assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and was the lead author of the chapter on Adaptation and Mitigation in the IPCC's fourth assessment report.

Competition categories

The Environmental Photographer of the Year supports the urgent calls to action of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, recognising the intricate interconnected nature of development, poverty reduction, equality, security and climate action and the unprecedented effort from all sectors of society required to address the defining issues of our time.

Environmental Photographer of the Year

The top award will be granted to a single image that furthers people’s understanding of the causes and effects of environmental change and social inequality, highlights solutions to the climate and ecological emergency, and inspires us to live sustainably.

The winning photographer will receive:

  • £10,000 cash prize and award certificate
  • A spread and interview in CIWEM’s The Environment magazine
  • A profile on the WaterBear platform
  • Feature on Nikon Europe’s website
  • & more

Young Environmental Photographer of the Year

In partnership with Nikon, this award showcases the best in environmental photography through the lens of young photographers aged 21 and under.

The winning photographer will receive:

  • Nikon Z Camera + 3 Nikon lenses
  • A profile on the WaterBear platform
  • Feature on Nikon Europe’s website
  • An interview in CIWEM’s Environment Magazine
  • & more
Additional prizes and feature opportunities are awarded in the following categories:

The Resilient Award

Together with the Resilient Foundation, this category showcases the impact of storytelling through photography. The award will be presented to a single image that incorporates a compelling narrative that educates, spreads hope, and inspires action.

The Resilient Foundation was born in response to a lack of action around the rapidly changing climate. The foundation brings the power of inspirational storytelling to the most critical issues of our time.

Environments of the Future

This award chronicles environmental change due to humanity’s impact and provides a glimpse into our future. Photographs will demonstrate the resilience of people and environments facing adversity and rising to the challenges of environmental destruction, energy security and the conservation of our natural resources.

Sustainable Cities

This category calls attention to our built environments and the communities and animals that inhabit them, featuring smart and resilient cities, transport, waste, and the connections between nature, society, and infrastructure. Photographs will include environmental solutions from engineering, design, materials, and structures.

Climate action

This award explores sustainable environmental and economic development and demonstrates the human connection to the natural world and our actions to preserve it. Photographs will highlight the natural and social value of the environment, affordable clean energy, and innovative adaption and mitigation approaches to environmental change.

Water and Security

Examining the intricate relationships between access to clean water and sanitation, gender equality and security this category explores our ever-increasing demand for water and the role of equality in every aspect of water management from water scarcity to flooding.

People's Choice

This is the public’s chance to vote for the top environmental photograph of 2021. Voting will take place online and a single People’s Choice award will go to the majority favourite. The winner will join the 2021 jury winners and be featured in The Environmental Photographer of the Year exhibition.

Submit your best work for a chance to win! Please visit The Environmental Photographer of the Year official page here for more details about how to submit.