Creepy image of soldier flies wins 2023 Environmental Photographer of the Year

Black Soldier Fly Farming (I)
Black Soldier Fly Farming (I) (Image credit: Maurizio di Pietro (2022))

The winners of the 2023 Environmental Photographer of the Year (EPOTY) have been announced, featuring winners from around the globe, who have captured their view of environmental beauty as well as current issues through the channel of exceptional photography.

Survival Of Buffaloes In Drought (Image credit: Md Shafiul Islam (2023))

This year, thousands of submissions from over 159 countries resulted in two grand title award winners and four further award category winners. The six winners were on the front lines in their own climate-vulnerable countries, documenting its effects on the local environemnt. 

The grand title winner is Maurizio di Pietro, a professional photographer based in Italy for his image titled Black Soldier Fly Farming (I). His photograph of an innovative food experiment at the University of Turin showed a researcher assessing "the impact of incorporating insect flour into the diets of rainbow trout and chickens to determine its potential as a nutrition source". This winning photo is a part of Maurizio's photo series Zero Hunger, 'documenting worldwide food insecurity and the solution presented by insects'. 

Flood-Affected Area (Image credit: Solayman Hossain (2023))

Nikon's Young Environmental Photographer of the Year award was presented to Solayman Hossain, aged 18, for his photograph Flood-Affected Area, which depicted 'a farmer and his cows being forced to wade through floodwater to find food'. The photograph was taken in Kushtia, Bangladesh near Solayman's own village. The 18-year-old says he "hopes his photo will inspire environmental action by showcasing the importance of nature."  

Walk Through Trash (Image credit: Jahid Apu (2023))

The MPB Vision of the Future category award went to Jahid Apu, a professional photographer from Bangladesh for his photo A Walk Through Trash. A powerful image that showcases the current issue of plastic pollution, with Bangladesh being one of the top polluted countries. Around 646 tons of plastic is collected daily in Dhaka alone and Jahid wants this photo to be a "wake-up call, encouraging people around the world to put an end to plastic pollution". 

Intruder (Image credit: Anirban Dutta (2022))

The full list of category award winners is as follows:

The Grand Title winner: Maurizio di Pietro for Black Soldier Fly Farming (I)

Nikon's Young Environmental Photographer of the Year winner: Solayman Hossain for Flood-affected area

MPB Vision of the Future category winner: Jahid Apu for A Walk Through Trash

Recovering Nature category winner: Nicolas Martin Benitez  for Corals at Night

Adapting for Tomorrow category winner: Anirban Dutta for Intruder

Keeping 1.5 Alive category winner: Shafiul Islam for Survival of Buffaloes In Drought 

Corals At Night (Image credit: Nicolas Marin Benitez (2023))

• More information on the best camera for wildlife

The EPOTY was launched by CIWEM and WaterBear, and this year, presented by Nikon and MPB. The competition provides an international platform to raise awareness for the issues that put our planet at risk. Coral luminescence, cows wading through flood water, and nature's adaptability showcase both the beauty and the necessity for change, generating inspiration and awareness. 

Yet again the EPOTY has produced many incredible photographs that showcase the beauty of nature but also highlight the need to do more to look after it. Many of the submissions were from amateur and professional photographers hailing from some of the world's most climate-vulnerable countries, and this competition has provided a platform for them to be heard, and showcase stunning imagery while doing so. You can see what the winners and judges had to say on the EPOTY website

For more articles on climate issues and photography, see our stories: Drowning in Plastic, New emotive climate change photo series by Nick Brandt, and Your photography can help combat the climate crisis!

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 


Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.