Open to all professional and amateur, national and international photographers of all ages, the Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year is an international showcase for the very best in environmental photography and film. The competition encourages entries that are contemporary, creative, resonant, challenging, original and beautiful, but most of all, pictures that will inspire people around the world to start taking care of our environment.

Exhibition & Prizes

The works will be displayed at the Royal Geographical Society in London in June 2016, followed by a tour to forest venues nationally, supported by Forestry Commission England.

Prizes for 2016 include:

  • Environmental Photographer of the Year: £3000
  • Young Environmental Photographer of the Year (Under 25): £1000
  • Environmental Film of the Year: £500
  • Atkins Built Environment Prize: Photographer in residence for 12 month opportunity capturing Atkins major projects
  • CIWEM Changing Climate Prize: £500, plus showcase of portfolio in one issue of The Environment Magazine
  • Forestry Commission England People, Nature and Economy Prize: £1000, plus showcase of portfolio in one of England’s Public Forests

The Prize Winners will be announced during a preview of the London exhibition.


The 2016 selection panel will include:

Ian Dunn

Chief Operating Officer at the University of Southampton, former Chief Executive of the Galapagos Conservation Trust

Dr David Haley

BA Hons (Fine Art) MA PhD HonFCIWEM

Senior Research Fellow, Director - Ecology In Practice, Route Leader MA Art as Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University

Tim Parkin

Landscape photographer and Editor of On Landscape magazine

Hayley Skipper

Curator of Arts Development, Forestry Commission England

Ben Avis

Acting Editor of BBC Earth UK

How to enter

The competition is open to all professional and amateur, national and international photographers of all ages. Entrants are invited to submit up to 10 still photographs or films. All photographs and films entered must have been completed since 1 January 2015.  All entrants must ensure that the quality of their entries meets the competition’s criteria as stated in the Rules and Guidelines. Entry is by online submission through this website, and deadline for entry is by 5pm (GMT) on 18 April 2016. All entrants are asked to ensure they have read all Rules and Guidelines before entering.

The competition’s overall theme is social and natural issues of the environment.  However, this year we have introduced three prize themes to focus entries.


  1.  The Built Environment

This could include but not exclusively images representing:

  • People and our cities
  • Environmental solutions from design, materials and structures
  • Design and wellbeing for society, communities and the public
  • Moving the world forward’ category – Transportation – Bridges / roads / rail
  • Smart and resilient cities
  • Water Sensitive Urban Design
  1. The Changing Climate

This could include but not exclusively images representing:

  • Extreme events and environmental destruction – flooding, drought, deforestation and other weather extremes
  • Adapting to the effects of a changing climate
  • Resilience and Innovative solutions
  • Natural resources – security and conservation
  • Human resilience and facing adversity
  1. People, Nature and Economy

This could include but not exclusively images exploring:

  • Human connection to the natural world
  • Sustainable environmental and economic development
  • Natural and social value of the environment
  • Biodiversity
  • Health and well-being connected to the environment

In addition to the photography categories there is also a prize for short films between 5 seconds and 5 minutes long. Please see Help & FAQs section for further guidance.

Please give a short statement about yourself and your submitted images/films. If selected for exhibition, the organisers will ask you for a more detailed description for the catalogue and publicity purposes.

Selection Process

At the first stage, entrants are asked to submit up to 10 still photographs or films and a fully completed entry form. All entries must be in line with the Digital Specifications as detailed in the Rules and Guidelines. The judges are looking in particular for pictures that show the dynamic link between environmental and social issues in a way that makes us think differently about the world around us. Individual entries will be judged anonymously, and the judges will concentrate on looking for the following five qualities in submitted entries:

  • Impact – does it illustrate immediate, subtle or resonant messages?
  • Creativity – is it unusual, thoughtful, beautiful, subversive or ironic?
  • Originality – is the subject treated differently and is the subject matter new?
  • Composition – consider the perspective, balance, clarity of meaning and focus of statement
  • Relevance – consider current environmental issues
  • Technical quality – consider clarity, focus, lighting, exposure and colour

All entrants will be informed if they have been selected for exhibition by 5 May 2016, by email. Shortlisted entrants in the Still Photography category will then be required to supply original digital camera RAW files or original JPEGs for their shortlisted images by 18 May 2016. See Digital Specifications section of 
Rules and Guidelines for further information. These images will be checked for proof of authenticity.

All finalists will be contacted by the exhibition organisers regarding further details for providing final exhibition quality image or film files, and further details about the exhibition dates and events.

Key Dates

18 April 2016Deadline for entries by 5pm (GMT)
5 May 2016Entrants informed of results
18 May 2016High resolution original image files to be sent to the organisers
June 2016Exhibition of finalists' images at Royal Geographical Society, London
Autumn/Winter 2016Exhibition will tour forest venues nationally, supported by Forestry Commission England, beginning with Grizedale Forest in Cumbria

Background & Sponsors

Launched by CIWEM, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, the Environmental Photographer of the Year competition was created to enable photographers to share images of environmental and social issues with international audiences. The competition plays a vital role in enhancing our understanding of the causes, consequences and solutions to climate change and social inequality, and is now one of the fastest growing photographic competitions in the world. The 2015 exhibition attracted a wide international audience through features in publications such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, the Independent, New Scientist, BBC Global, and Le Monde Afrique.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management is the leading independent Chartered Professional Body covering all aspects of water and environmental activity, promoting excellence in the professionals who protect, develop and care for our environment.


The Environmental Photographer of the Year is generously sponsored by Atkins. Throughout their history from post-war regeneration to high-speed rail and the integrated sustainable cities of the future, their people’s breadth and depth of expertise has allowed them to plan, design and enable some of the world’s most complex projects.

The Environmental Photographer of the Year tour is kindly supported by Forestry Commission England – as the guardian of forests and woodlands in England they believe that Forest Art Works and that woodlands and forests are vital places for contemporary artists to engage with, to make and present new work.

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