Photography News Issue 46

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Photography News Issue 46 absolutephoto.com

Interview

those we approached understood completely what we were aiming to do with the competition and wanted to help. The celebrity judges will help us decide the category winners once we have shortlisted the entry numbers down to the 100s rather than 1000s. All are willing to judge and are very excited to be involved. How long have you allocated to the judging process? We have allowed six weeks from the closing date until we plan to announce the winner. How did you go about choosing the celebrities that you have selected? We wanted to approach celebrities who have a deep interest in and concern for environmental issues, as well as a big influence on those who follow them. We have a real mix of judges and all will have different views which will make for really interesting judging. Do you feel that EPOTY has any end benefit to the environment? Absolutely, viewing the images from the past ten years together gives a unique view on humanity’s relationship with nature and the scale of the impact human development has had on the natural environment. EPOTY provides an opportunity for environmental champions to share these images with international audiences, collectively enhancing our understanding of the causes, consequences, and solutions to climate change and social inequality. Do you also see the contest as away of educating the public? You could view EPOTY as an educational vehicle and this fits in nicely alongside CIWEM’s role as a learned society, raising public awareness and working towards our aim to nurture a safer sustainable world. However, our ambition is more than this. We really want to see some tangible benefits and action as a result of the competition. It is true that EPOTY highlights such complex and big global issues and that there is not one simple solution. However, we would like to see EPOTY as part of the solution to tackling these challenges. Photography is a powerful medium, but do you think it is powerful enough to modify the behaviour of multi- national corporations when it comes to profit and the environment? Businesses aredrivenby change at all levels and the awareness raised by the EPOTY competition can be a powerful vehicle through which to elicit change. All companies are run by people. It is changes at the individual and grassroots level that inspires change at the industry and government level, and it is here that CIWEM is at the forefront of driving innovation and encouraging good practice.

Clockwise fromtop Flight of the rays by Florian Schulz, winner in 2010; Watering melon by UttamKamati, winner in 2015; Happy in her own world by Abhijit Nandi, winner in 2008.

Gazing into your crystal ball, have you anything that you want to share with us about next year’s contest? What sort of innovation can we look forward to seeing? Following on from the introduction of the mobile category this year, it would be fantastic to take this to the next level next year and introduce some level of movement into the images. Perhaps we could introduce Animated GiFs into the category. Many of the images submitted have a time element and to be able to visually see this would definitely add a different dimension to this. Thank you for your time, and have you any final message to our readers – and the world? We welcome entries from amateurs and professional photographers alike of all ages from across the world. With our new mobile category the competition is even more accessible. Prizes for each category winner will include cash prizes of up to £3000, additional profiling opportunities in magazines, and photography equipment. This year we have partnered with Olympus, which is providing an OM-D E-M10 Mark II camera to the winner of the Young EPOTY category. I look forward to what will be another fantastic round of entries this year. If our readers want to enter the competition, how can they go about it? Further guidance on subject areas, categories and how to enter can be found on the EPOTY website. Entry is free and the competition closes on 8 September 2017.

I’d imagine that most of the entries come from the UK. Is that true or has EPOTY got a broader base for its entries? The entries for the competition come from across the globe, this is not better reflected than in the array of winners we have had over the past ten years of the competition. From India, Moldova, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Bangladesh and Sweden, our entries are truly international. Have you got one previous entry in your mind that best sums up what EPOTY is all about? Yes I do. The CIWEM Changing Climate Award 2016 was awarded to Sandra Hoyn for her moving photograph ‘Life Jackets on the Greek Island of Lesbos’, the image depicts the major humanitarian crisis of our time, with each of the life vests representing a refugee and their journey. The image portrays the very direct manifestation of climate change in the increased pressure on the supply of drinking water to all parts of the world. It is an extremely powerful image. I can say hand on heart that this has deeply stirred me to promote CIWEM activities to address water security across the globe. When the 2017 contest has been closed and judged, what do you want the headline to be when announcing the results? Highest entry ever, maybe. Yes it would be fantastic to be able to announce the highest number of entries ever. However the ultimate headline, for me, would be for EPOTY to be referenced or cited by someone of the highest influence, such as the Pope or US President Donald Trump. Just think of the impact this would have on the competition and the awareness this will raise amongst a huge number of people. That would be the dream headline.

The awareness raised by the EPOTY competition can be a powerful vehicle through which to elicit change

Above In search of life by Mohammad FahimAhamed Riyad, winner in 2014.

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