Harrowing ‘The Bitter Death of Birds’ Wins Environmental Photo of the Year

Photography News

Environmental Photographer of the Year

The 2022 Environmental Photographer of the Year competition has announced its winners, with top honors going to a disheartening photo of just a few of the thousands of birds that died in the Miankaleh Lagoon in Iran due to contamination and lack of water.

The Environmental Photographer of the Year competition is now in its 15th year and aims to showcase some of the world’s most inspirational environmental photography. The competition is sponsored by The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), WaterBear, Nikon, and Arup.

The competition gives our six awards: Environmental Photographer of the Year, Young Environmental Photographer of the Year – Nikon Award, Vision of the Future, Recovering Nature, Keeping 1.5 Alive, and Adapting for Tomorrow.

This past year also introduced a new ethics panel, which the organization says was added to improve accountability and transparency in photo selection.

The above photo, titled “The Bitter Death of Birds” was captured by photographer Mehdi Mohebi Pour who took home the title of Environmental Photographer of the Year. It depicts just three of the thousands of birds that perished in Iron as well as the efforts of environmental workers who collected the bodies to prevent the spread of disease.

It was chosen as the winning photograph for its surreal portrayal of the circular nature of life between humans and wildlife as well as its powerful combination of conveying the real environmental issues affecting our planet, while using bold and contrasting colors to create a visually arresting photo,” the Environmental Photographer of the Year organization says.

“It means the world to have won this prestigious award as photographing the climate and showcasing the damage being caused is my biggest priority in life. I want people around the world to know about this sad event of the death of the birds as, if we do not reconsider our lifestyle and take care of the planet, this will soon happen in other countries,” Mehdi Mohebi Pour says of his win.

Below are the winning images of the other five categories:

Young Environmental Photographer of the Year – Nikon Award

Environmental Photographer of the Year
Beautiful But Hostile Colours On Earth, Fayz Khan, 2022

Vision of the Future

Environmental Photographer of the Year
Vertical Farming, Arie Basuki, 2022

Recovering Nature

Environmental Photographer of the Year
Naturalia: Chronicle Of Contemporary Ruins, Jonathan “Jonk” Jimenez, 2021

Keeping 1.5 Alive

Environmental Photographer of the Year
Chemical Explosion, Subrata Dey, 2022

Adapting for Tomorrow

Environmental Photographer of the Year
New Ways To The Future (III), Simone Tramonte, 2021

To view these and all of the shortlisted finalists, visit the Environmental Photographer of the Year website.


Image credits: All photos are individually credited and provided courtesy of the Environmental Photographer of the Year competition.

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