The Award-Winning Photos of Mother Nature Reclaiming Her Throne in The Earth Photo Competition 2020

Coffee Shop, Photo Earth 2020’s overall winner.

Jonk/Earth Photo 2020/RGS

Earth Photo, the international competition and exhibition created by Forestry England and the Royal Geographical Society with IBG, aims to encourage discussion about the environment by telling stories about the natural world, its inhabitants and our treatment of both.

More: Earth Photo Competition h/t: guardian

Place category winner and overall winner: Theatre, Abkhazia by Jonk

Jonk/Earth Photo 2020/RGS

Jonk is a freelance self-taught photographer whose work focuses on humans and their relationship with nature. His images aim to raise awareness of the ecological crisis facing humanity. Fascinated by abandoned places reclaimed by nature, in 2018 he published Naturalia: A Chronicle of Contemporary Ruins, which asks the fundamental question: what is the place of humans on Earth and their relationship with nature?

Hotel, Portugal by Jonk

Jonk/Earth Photo 2020/RGS

Far from being pessimistic, and at a time when human domination of nature has never been so extreme, his series of images aim to awaken our ecological consciousness. Nature is stronger, so whatever happens to humans, nature will always be there. The judges said: “This body of work gathers fragments of stories of human environments ‘taken back by nature’. While the images from all over the world have vivid clarity, they also warp the viewers’ perceptions of time and change.”

Swimming Pool, Italy by Jonk

Jonk/Earth Photo 2020/RGS

While they serve as a mournful commentary on the 20th century – the era of the ‘great acceleration’ – there is also something hopeful in the vivid evidence of the patient and robust capacities of the non-human world to recover.

Nature category winner: Dryland Farming, Study 7 by Yi Sun

Yi Sun/Earth Photo 2020/RGS

Yi Sun is an aerial landscape and travel photographer based in the UK. His photographs are created by flying in light aircraft or helicopter and shooting straight down at the landscape while the aircraft doors are open. One long-term project is to document the impact of human influence on the environment. Like the rest of Spain, Aragon has been suffering severe droughts for decades. This image of farming fields was taken at more than 3000ft from a two-seat plane.

Changing Forests category winner: Dead Tree by Charles Xelot

Charles Xelot/Earth Photo 2020/RGS

For several years Charles Xelot has studied the notion of limits and borders. His practice is full of curiosity and leads him to explore social and environmental changes. In his new collection, Ashes, Xelot photographs nature destroyed by fire. By using artificial light, he reminds us that fire is a side-effect of human activity and therefore those landscapes are not totally natural. This photograph was taken two years after a forest fire, and only a few shrubs grew back. The trunk of the dead tree is still intact but grey as ash.

A Climate of Change category winner: In Moleca by Joe Habben

Joe Habben/Earth Photo 2020/RGS

Joe Habben is a Glasgow-based photographer whose work focuses on human intervention, exploring globalisation, public space, global warming and social behaviour. He has become more socially and politically motivated in recent years in response to the climate crisis. Conveying the human condition through a sense of unfamiliarity, he reveals new interpretations of “truth”. This image, In Moleca, documents the events and effects of the high-water which transpires annually in the city of Venice, Italy. This tidal activity is a natural occurrence, however in recent decades it has been exacerbated by the effects of human activity.

Video category winner: Cambodia Burning by Sean Gallagher

Sean Gallagher/Earth Photo 2020/RGS

Sean Gallagher is a British photojournalist and film-maker whose work focuses on highlighting issues related to the climate crisis and other global environmental problems.

This project, Cambodia Burning, was made in early 2020 and shows the impact of rampant deforestation. In 2018, fires burnt in record numbers throughout the forests of north and central Cambodia. At their peak, up to 1,800 fires. Deforestation has been accelerating too, and it is estimated that there is only 3% of primary forest left throughout the country.

People category winner: Miss by Yanrong Guo

Yanrong Guo/Earth Photo 2020/RGS

This work was taken in the Daliang mountains, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, the largest settlement of Yi people in China. The mountains are at the junction of the Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and cover more than 60,000 sq km, with a total population of 4,730,400. More than 10 ethnic groups such as the Han, Yi, Tibetan, Mongolian and Naxi live in the territory. Young people in the mountains often move out of the provinces to work, leaving the elderly and children at home. The man in the picture is missing his relatives.

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