Mountain lake in camera lens. Paul Skorupskas, Unsplash

12 environmental photographers to follow in 2023

Up-and-coming environmental photographers to know

The GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition, organized by the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), has shortlisted 36 environmental photographers as finalists. Their range of submitted images highlight both how the climate crisis is impacting landscapes around the world, and how communities are building resilience and fighting for change.

The winners will be announced on 11 November at GLF Climate 2022 alongside this year’s UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Ahead of then, though, we wanted to show a few of the incredible submissions that are going in front of our photo jury.

Here are 12 environmental photographers, in alphabetical order, that are well worth following for more inspirational, educational and impactful images of our planet in flux.

Quotes from the photographers about their images have been edited for content and clarity.

1. Anthony Ochieng Onyango, Kenya

An Ariel view of a grass seed bank in Amboseli Kenya.
The Land of Hope. Anthony Ochieng Onyango, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“An aerial view of a grass seed bank in Amboseli Kenya. The grass seed bank is managed by the women in the community who supply the region with grass seeds for restoration. It is evident even during the dry season that the grass seed bank is able to withstand the pressures and still support the community.”

Follow the work of Anthony Ochieng Onyango, who is also known as Tony Wild, here.

2. Cécilia Delattre, France

Melting icebergs in the Jökulsarlon glacier lagoon, Iceland.
Last Glow. Cécilia Delattre, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“This picture was shot in the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in Iceland. The melting icebergs break from the nearby Vatnajökull glacier and end up here, where they are doomed to slowly melt with the sun. Will there be any more in the coming years?”

Follow the work of Cécilia Delattre here.

3. Derrick Milimo, Kenya

Kirangari Primary School students planting strawberry seedlings in Kiambu county Kenya.
Climate Warriors: Kirangari Primary School students planting strawberry seedlings in Kiambu County, Kenya. Derrick Milimo, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“‘We are correcting the soil now for the next generation,’ says Michael Waiyaki. Michael Waiyaki and Joan Njoki of Miti Alliance have been partnering with other like-minded individuals to slow down the devastating effects of climate change due to deforestation by growing trees and transferring the knowledge they have to the next generation of environmentalists.”

Follow the work of Derrick Milimo here.

4. Dikye Ariani, Indonesia

A kingfisher catches a fish from a river.
Bird and water. Dikye Ariani, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“The kingfisher usually hunts for fish at the river. This bird can dive into the river to get fish.”

Follow the work of Dikye Ariani here.

5. Esteban Biba, Guatemala

A woman holds a wooden cross while praying that the lava from the Pacaya volcano.
Pray. Esteban Biba, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“A woman holds a wooden cross while praying that the lava from the Pacaya volcano does not reach her population. For seven weeks, a group of people from the village of El Rodeo traveled to the volcano to pray because the lava was advancing rapidly to the houses. The lava stopped a few meters from the first dwelling.”

Follow the work of Esteban Biba here.

6. Jenny Zhao, U.S.

A young polar bear cub climbs over plastic in Hudson Bay, Canada.
Plastic is Everywhere. Jenny Zhao, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“We photographed this young polar bear cub with its mother in October 2021 in Hudson Bay, Canada, as the bears were on their migration route waiting for the sea ice to freeze.”

Follow the work of Jenny Zhao here.

7. Jolie Luo, China

A forest fire burns in Chongqing, a city in Southwest China.
Wildfire in the city. Jolie Luo, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“Chongqing, a city in southwest China, battled wildfires caused by extreme heatwaves in August 2022. The fires were scattered among forests in the municipality’s Jiangjin, Dazu, Tongliang and Banan districts. According to the local water resources bureau, 51 rivers in the city stopped flowing, and 24 reservoirs dried up. With the scorching heat and lack of precipitation, Chongqing issued a red alert, the highest warning-level, for forest fires in most districts and counties from 16 to 23 August. Facing the raging flames, people from all walks of life voluntarily pitched in to jointly snuff out the blazes, displaying extraordinary heroism.”

Follow the work of Jolie Luo here.

8. Marcio Esteves Cabral, Brazil

Mirage. Marcio Esteves Cabral, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“This image was taken with a drone at sunset, with views of the lagoons formed by rainwater and the mouth of the Preguiças River in the background.”

Follow the work of Marcio Esteves Cabral here.

9. Mouneb Taim, Syria

Climate influence during wartime. Mouneb Taim, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“The war has greatly affected the climate in Syria Destruction. Camps, diseases, displacement and others were factors in this. The picture shows people living in camps in the winter, with difficult livelihoods due to climate change.”

Follow the work of Mouneb Taim here.

10. Muhammad Amdad Hossain, Bangladesh

Fishermen are seen floating on top of algae as they search for a potential catch in the sharp green waters of a river.
Cross the algae river. Muhammad Amdad Hossain, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“Fishermen are seen floating on top of algae as they search for a potential catch in the sharp green waters of a river. The Sirajganj spot in Bangladesh is a popular place for locals to swim and bathe, even in the cold water. Algae make the water cloudy, and climate change causes the river to become polluted and dry out.”

Follow the work of Muhammad Amdad Hossain here.

11. Nicholas Shawn Mugarura, Uganda

Gumisiriza Narasi, 62 a Security guard and Urban Farmer sadly looks closely at the withering passion fruit vines in his garden in Ntinda, Kampala, Uganda
Within my withering garden. Nicholas Shawn Mugarura, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“Gumisiriza Narasi, a 62-year-old security guard and urban farmer, sadly looks closely at the withering passionfruit vines in his garden in Ntinda, Kampala, Uganda on 28 July, 2022. ‘Life’s difficult, watching all my passionfruit drying. It was a huge supplement to my income,’ says Narasi. Uganda experienced a prolonged dry spell after rains expected to start in March or April and last until May or June did not come in sufficient amounts, with Kampala recording up to almost 38 degrees Celsius.”

Follow the work of Nicholas Shawn Mugarura here.

12. Sharad Iragonda Patil, India

Air pollution mixed with fog rolling over a green landscape.
Air pollution and climate change. Sharad Iragonda Patil, GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition

“Although this photo looks good, it can be seen that air pollution will affect nature in the future. The air pollution caused by the dust coming from the factories is dangerous in the foggy nature of the morning.”

Follow the work of Sharad Iragonda Patil here.

The Photo Jury: Four more to follow

These 12 environmental photographers are a just a few of those on the shortlist for the GLF Climate 2022 Photo Competition, which will be presented to a jury that brings expertise from around the world. Here are the photographers and storytellers comprising the jury, who we recommend you follow too.

Gab Mejia, conservation documentary photographer

The first of our judges is Gab Mejia, a Filipino conservation photographer, environmental storyteller and engineer. His work focuses on the climate crisis, endangered wildlife, and the intersectionality of culture and the environment.

You can see Gab Mejia’s work by following his Instagram here.

Viviane Ponti, commercial photographer

Next up is Viviane, a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. She’s an active photographer for Lonely Planet Images, holds a travel portfolio represented by Getty Images, and is a standing contributor for Airbnb. Her work has been published in such international media as as BBC London, BBC Travel, Lonely Planet Travel Guides and The New York Times, to name a few.

You can see more of Viviane’s varied work on her website.

Sydelle Willow Smith, storyteller and impact campaign strategist

Our third judge is Sydelle Willow Smith, a storyteller and impact campaign strategist based in Cape Town who works across Africa. Her focus areas include memory, identity, migration and whiteness. She has worked with publications including The New York Times, UC Observer (Canada), Le Monde, 1843 Magazine for The Economist, National Geographic Traveller, among others. She also co-founded Africa’s first solar-powered cinema network, Sunshine Cinema.

Follow Sydelle Willow Smith on Instagram and Twitter to see her storytelling work.

Miora Rajaonary, independent photographer and National Geographic Explorer

Our fourth and final judge is Miora Rajaonary, a documentary photographer born and raised in Madagascar and currently based in Mauritius. In her work, she explores cultural and environmental issues in contemporary Africa, and for the past two years has concentrated on food security and related local initiatives.

Miora is a National Geographic Explorer and the winner of the Juror’s Choice of photography competition The Fence 2019. She also won first prize of the Addis Foto Fest’s Portfolio Review in December 2018 and was one of four winners of the inaugural Getty + Array Grant in July 2018.

You can stay up to date with Miora Rajaonary’s work on Instagram.

This panel of judges will select the first- and second-place winners, but you can also get involved by voting for your favorite photo to put it in the running for the “popular vote” award. Take a look at all 36 finalists here, and choose the photo you want to win.



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