Tales from the Planet: Selective Imagery from Earth Photo 2023 Competition

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Ranging from images of eco-friendly fishing to harmful battery waste, these selected photographs were handpicked for their potent narrative about our planet’s present circumstances.

Sandipani Chattopadhyay, Green Barrier

Fishermen in India’s Damodar River navigate the thick growth of algae caused by the reduction of fresh water, a result of global warming and irregular monsoon seasons. This situation poses a significant challenge for the locals living along the river, who struggle to survive amid the algal bloom, which prevents oxygen absorption and affects human health and habitats in the area. The shortlisted images will be on display at the Earth Photo exhibition, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), London, from 17 June to 23 August 2023. Photograph: Sandipani Chattopadhyay

More: Earth Photo 2023 Competition h/t: guardian

Kerry Lowes, Coral Slime

One of the primary roles of coral slime mould is in nutrient cycling. As a decomposer, it helps to maintain the health of the ecosystem by recycling nutrients and making them available for other organisms. It serves as a food source for invertebrates such as snails and slugs, as well as some species of birds and mammals. In addition, coral slime mould is thought to be an important indicator species, meaning that its presence or absence can provide valuable information about the health of an ecosystem. Photograph: Kerry Lowes

Ju Shen Lee, Ingenuity Innovation on Inle Lake, Myanmar

The fishers on Myanmar’s Inle Lake live in a symbiotic, synergistic and sustainable coexistence with nature. They fish individually with basket traps, in pairs with line nets, and spear-fish in small teams. They barbecue their catch over open fires on their wooden boats. Sustainable fishing ensures their community’s livelihood. So they selflessly balance their catch size with the highly variable water levels, caused by heavy monsoons, wet summers and dry winters. Photograph: Ju Shen Lee

Neil A White, Lost Villages

The Holderness coast located in the north east of England endures the highest rate of coastal erosion in Europe. The devastating consequence of this is villages and land slowly disappearing into the sea. The Lost Villages project explores the constant battle between the North Sea and the mainland, and documents the irreversible changes taking place. Photograph: Neil A White

Joanna Vestey, Crate to Plate

Honor Loxton, site manager and senior farmer at Crate to Plate, looks after three shipping containers of hydroponics greens growing in Elephant and Castle, London. Photograph: Joanna Vestey

Rob Kesseler, Airborne Ilex

This highly pullulated sample is from a holly leaf collected in Kennington, London. Using data gathered from an X-ray spectrometer it revealed traces of aluminium, magnesium, calcium, silicon, iron and carbon magnified by 1,000. The colour data was used as the basis for hand-colouring the image which was developed to create a feeling of a micro landscape of dystopian turmoil. Photograph: Rob Kesseler

Azim Khan Ronnie, Brick Kilns

The breathtaking scale of Bangladesh’s brickmaking industry is captured in this photo, which shows them piling up in thousands as manufacturing processes wreak havoc on the surrounding environment. It is estimated that one million people churn out tens of billions of bricks each year across 7,000 separate kilns. Brick kilns are the top air polluter in the country, particularly during dry season, when most bricks are made, turning the air quality severely unhealthy. Photograph: Azim Khan Ronnie

Michal Siarek, War Babies

Since the Russian invasion, a tremendous effort to save wild and exotic animals of endangered species has been carried out in Ukraine. As Russian forces were nearing Kiev, the first transport of big cats was improvised with makeshift crates. Once sealed, drivers couldn’t open them. The convoy was first stopped by Russian forces but eventually made it through with a delay. This was dangerous to cats that couldn’t be fed on the way. The animals were repacked on the Polish border by the ZOO team. Photograph: Michal Siarek

Neal Haddaway, Gone Fishing

A fish farm off the coast of Roquetas de Mar in Spain looks almost like slices of a turquoise citrus fruit. Tiny from high above, each floating pen holds hundreds of thousands of fish. Machinery spins and whirs, throwing out food at regular intervals. It’s a streamlined machine producing food for nearby diners. Can they hear the thrashing throng of fish, squeezed into such tiny spaces? Can they taste the dense chemicals in the water protecting the fish from infections? Photograph: Neal Haddaway

Sandra Weller, E-waste in Ghana

A broken battery, which was used in a photovoltaic system, at the e-waste dump. The lead is the most valuable part and highly toxic in direct contact with a person. The batteries are often opened with machetes, the acid is thrown away, the lead is melted together in fabrics around the port and shipped back mostly to Europe, China or the US, where it is used again to produce new electronic items. There are no regulations for professional solar waste disposal in most African countries, thus it becomes part of the general e-waste problem. Photograph: Sandra Weller

Ellie Davies, Chalk Streams

Crystal clear chalk streams intertwine and weave throughout the counties of Dorset and Hampshire in southern England. There are just over 200 chalk streams globally, 85% of which are found in southern England. They are a unique ecosystem supporting a high biodiversity of wild creatures. Light reflected from the surface of the nearby sea is overlaid on to these river landscapes, creating a sparkling ingress. The transposed light symbolises rising sea levels as they insidiously impose themselves on these pristine landscapes. Photograph: Ellie Davies

Sam Laughlin, Tawny Owl

The series A Certain Movement is a meditation on the natural world and our place within it, focusing on subtle and intricate natural processes occurring all around us, and the ways in which these processes are manifested in the physical landscape. The movements of animals follow rhythms and patterns: seasonal migration, reproduction, nesting, feeding. These cyclical processes have a significance that is imprinted on to the world like a wordless text. Photograph: Sam Laughlin

James Kirkham, Bellingshausen Sea

Three seals rest on one of the only remaining floes of sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica, surrounded by a chaotic melange of smaller ice blocks. A capsized iceberg, scarred in rivulets by underside melting, dwarfs the seals. The shape of the iceberg provides enough shelter for smaller pancakes of new sea ice to form inside its own melt pond. Photograph: James Kirkham

Robin Dodd, The Edge of Existence

An ancient juniper tree in the High Atlas mountains in Morocco. The goats and nomads have taken parts of the branches and foliage for food and firewood over the years but left enough of the tree to provide for future travellers. Photograph: Robin Dodd

Filippo Ferraro, Wooden Diamonds

A burning trunk of an olive tree in the countryside near Felline, Italy. Since the beginning of this epidemic (when the plant bacterium Xylella fastidiosa began infecting olive trees), thousands of fields have been abandoned, causing a significant increase in fires, especially with the high temperatures of the summer. Photograph: Filippo Ferraro

Subrata Dey, Food in the Garbage

Subrata Dey, Food in the Garbage
A garbage dump in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Many families in the city raise cattle, but fail to provide adequate grass or natural fodder. The cattle then search for food in the garbage. Photograph: Subrata Dey


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