Decade of Change 2022: The particular Winners

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(above) 10 years of Change Single Picture winner ©Sonia Bhamra

Through environmental anxiety and dreams of devastation, to pictures confronting us with the associated with global warming upon indigenous communities, these images offer an impactful and immediate response to how our world is usually changing.

The winning images of this year’s Decade of Modify bring the climate crisis directly into hyper-focus. From stories of environmental anxiety and dreams of the devastation wrought simply by industry, to images confronting us with the effects of global warming upon indigenous towns and people with Albinism, they offer an impactful and urgent response to the ways the world is changing.  

Now in its second year, 10 years of Change is a worldwide photography award and event from 1854 and Uk Journal of Photography , conceived to harness the universal power of photography to inspire climate action. Split among three categories – series, single images and moving image – the honor invited submissions from visible artists across the globe on any aspect of the climate problems. The winning works will be exhibited at City Quays Gallery as part of Belfast Photo Festival , from 03 June to 04 September 2022.

Decade of Transformation series winner © Ligia Popławska

Ligia Popławska is one of two collection winners with her project Fading Senses, which explores ‘Solastalgia’ – a term coined by environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht in 2003 to describe a state of emotional stress produced by climate anxiety. It began during her MOTHER in Photography at the Noble Academy of Fine Disciplines Antwerp in 2019. “I had temporarily lost a feeling of smell, and this experience changed my sensory perception, impacting on the way I perceived numerous layers of the photographic moderate. I started researching exactly how images can trigger other senses than vision and exactly what happens inside a brain throughout sensory deprivation. At about the same time, a tornado devastated the beloved forest of my home in Northern Belgium and the whole ecosystem in the area perished. Later on, I realized that I was affected by ecological grief. ”

With that thought in mind, Popławska began intuitively photographing moments that would emotionally express her state. She sought out places connected to anthropocentric thinking like zoos, plus visited a home for the creatively impaired to meet the citizens there, making portraits and learning how they experience character through texture, sound and aroma. She wanted everything to appear dreamlike, as if inside the thoughts of someone experiencing Solastalgia or even a loss of senses. “I hope this project will bring focus on the fragility and power of our senses as well as how climate change affects our own emotional and mental health, ” she says. “It’s a young research subject, yet perhaps one of the most challenging for all of us in the near future. ”

Decade of Change collection winner ©Cynthia MaiWa Sitei

Also winning in the series category is Kenyan, Cardiff-based artist Cynthia MaiWa Sitei. Their particular project – If This is really a Human: a great curiosity – illuminates the impact the climate crisis has on individuals with Albinism, particularly in rural areas of Kenya and Tanzania. The rise in temperature is having a hugely detrimental impact on those with little melanin within their skin, says MaiWa, along with “the sun being the silent killer”.

Born within 1992, MaiWa moved to the united kingdom in 2010 and studied mindset before pursuing an MA in documentary photography in the University of South Wales in 2017. Her thesis project, Wundanyi, was about “taking the conversation of rape into the African household, ” she says. While making this difficult but important function, MaiWa travelled to Wundanyi, Kenya and stayed with the girl cousin Felicia, a person with Albinism who founded the particular organisation Persons with Albinism Taita Taveta Country. “Living and going around with Felicia, and noticing how different people would interact with her, influenced this new project, ” MaiWa recalls. Later, the girl met members of Felicia’s group, learned about their encounters, and began to find ways to visualise what it means to have Albinism in a rapidly heating globe. The resulting project blends black and white portraits and scenery with images that are forged in scorched, pinky tones – a nod for the misconception that people with Albinism have pink eyes, states MaiWa, when actually it’s just the absence of pigment that will exposes blood vessels, making eyes appear reddish. “The same myths still circulate, ” she says. “I use the different palettes to showcase the hypocrisy, as well as to enlarge the effects. ”

Decade of Change 2022 Moving Image Winner ©Louis sobre Rohan

Louis de Rohan is the moving picture winner of Decade of Change. The 51-year-old photographer and climate activist is the winner with Los Guardianes , a documented short filmed in 2015 in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern Colombia. The particular film shares the environmental knowledge of two elders through indigenous tribes, the Arhuaco and the Kogis, as they talk about their beliefs. “For them, nature and community are both ruled by the single primitive sacred law of nature, and for thousands of years they have avoided colonisation and their tradition has survived, ” clarifies Rohan. “That’s all started changing in the last 100 years, even though, with their civilisations coming below threat from human legal rights violations, settlers establishing plantations, armed conflict, and environment change altering the circumstances in which this agricultural community survives. ” He has been compelled to create Los Guardianes when travelling with man filmmaker and collaborator Eduardo Pedrosa. They shot the particular film in black and white due to the fact it’s “a powerful moderate for photojournalism – properly intense to carry the weight from the subject matter and show our respect for this moment in history. ” 

“We are at a showing point, ” says Rohan, who began his career as an environmental correspondent for your European Newspaper. “Humanity is usually paralysed by an existential crisis, indigenous cultures are usually in rapid decline, and yet, since the global population explodes, harmful the future of the natural world, their vanishing wisdom holds the key to a profound understanding of how humankind can live in balance with it. My vision is to develop a body of work that documents that broken connection, using visual storytelling within a time of unprecedented crisis. ”

Alongside his film, Rohan also has an image in the Decade of Transformation single image category, including 30 winning images by 22 photographers. It depicts two Kogi people, taken on the same trip as Mis Guardianes was filmed. At the same time, winning images by Sonia Bhamra plus Ayesha Jones also speak to the knowledge we might learn from ancient lifestyle.

Decade of Change 2022 Single Image Winner © Diana Buzoianu

Elsewhere, Brazilian photographer Rebeca Binda has two winning images, taken from a project revealing the destruction wrought by mining corporations in the artist s home condition of Minas Gerais. “Back in 2015, the mining company Samarco was ignorant towards the issues with one of their own tailings dams, and its failing led to its collapse, evoking the biggest ecological crime in Brazilian history, ” explains Binda. “It decimated the size of Portugal, and the local community doesn’t exist anymore. ” A slew of dangerous mine waste covered the region, contaminating water, soil, vegetation and animals. One of Binda’s pictures is of an equine lying dead in a flow; a tragic and truthful visualisation of the consequences.

Amongst other winning images, the particular probing of mining history continues in work by William Mark Sommer , while Thomas Byczkowski also presents a photograph of mines taken in Minas Gerais, Brazil. A story of petrochemical pollution and environmental racism is told in two pictures by Tommaso Rada , and the quickly diminishing resource of drinking water remains a running metaphor in images by James Bannister plus Margaret Courtney-Clarke . For the purpose of Yosando Faizal and Kirsty Larmour , it is gentrification and the transforming backdrops of home that have landed them among the winners, while the power of nature is given a place in Diana Buzoianu ’s image of a volcano eruption. Further winners include David Ellingsen , who visualises the mounting extinction problems, duo Elena and Leonidas Toumpanos exactly who explore the impact of commercial advancement in the Arctic, and Australian elemental artist Wayne Quilliam who offers an aerial shot of one of his homeland’s rivers during a drought. Relatedly, Gavin Doran presents an image taken in the ever-drying region of India’s Thar Desert, whilst Rui Pedro Oliveira and Greig Ness return us once again to the eerie aftermath of dam building.  

Decade of Change 2022 Single Image Winner © Nick St. Oegger

Decade of Change 2022 One Image Winner ©Valeria Scrilatti

For winners including Valeria Scrilatti , Clair Robins and Richard John Seymour , questions of science plus technology drive their methods. Seymour offers three winning images, many from the series Landsat Functions . “By using data gathered by satellites such as Landsat seven, even the world’s most perfect wildernesses can be examined from space for potential calcium deposits, ” he says, explaining that the false colour image could be constructed using data outside of the visible spectrum. “My major motivation came from a serious concern for our environment, ” he says. “The idea that these techniques can potentially  be taken to assess our planet’s surface for suitable exploitation sites is a sign of big human ingenuity, but also unearths questions about who and what this collective ingenuity serves. ”

Nick St . Oegger , who has been making work focused on Albania for the past decade, also has 2 images in the final choice. One of those images is from a long-term project he began in 2017 about the Vjosa – one of the last wild, free of charge flowing rivers in Europe. “I came across this angler who had built a pet shelter in between two fortified communist era bunkers, when abruptly, the wind picked up and dark clouds came in” he says. “It was a quick moment, but I really felt like it captured a strong feeling of foreboding. ” 

Since governments across the world repeatedly neglect to act on the climate problems, places like the Vjosa lay on the precipice of history, unblemished for now but ever-awaiting destruction. In lieu of that leadership, it really is image-makers and activists including these winners who are arguing most urgently for weather action. With photography as their weapon, they hold a mirror to our communities, revealing unlimited stories of a planet in decline.

Joanna Cresswell

Joanna L. Cresswell is a writer and editor based in Brighton. She has written on photography and tradition for over 40 international magazines and journals, and held positions as editor pertaining to organisations including The Photographers’ Gallery, Unseen Amsterdam and Self Publish, Be Happy. The lady recently completed an MA in comparative literature and criticism at Goldsmiths University, University of London

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