Africa-Press – Kenya. Kevin Ochieng, a celebrated Kenyan photographer has trounced his seasoned international colleagues to bag a global award.
The 24-year-old won an accolade for the 2021 Environmental Photographer of the year award, during the ongoing COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland. The global competition in its 14th edition showcases the most inspirational environmental photography from around the world.
Granted by the UK’s Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (Ciwem), the award is given in recognition of humanity’s ability to survive and innovate. The entity(Ciwem) supports professionals who are dedicated to improving water and environmental management practices to achieve a safer and more sustainable world.
To participate, individuals were required to submit images showcasing the effects of climate change on biodiversity and weather patterns. More than 7,000 images were received from 119 countries.
Ochieng, who is the founder of Spartan Photography won in the climate action category through his shot titled “The Last Breath”.
In the award-winning pictorial photo, a threatening dust storm circles behind a boy breathing air from a plant through a pipe connected to a gas mask, to depict the inevitable impact of climate change.
The award-winning photographer highlighted the drastic weather changes as the inspiration behind his artistic photograph.
“Life on earth is coming to an end, essentially. The air is getting more toxic, green nature is slowly fading away and the weather is becoming more and more difficult to predict. These drastic weather changes have the potential to wipe out humanity.”
He further explained that the storm of dust behind the boy was a representation of the foolishness of humanity for advocating for deforestation, large constructions, unsustainable mining, and the exploitation of fossil fuels. He also noted that the clearest solution to climate disaster was in the hands of humans.
He states that the significance of his award is a validation to him as an artist and a gateway for him to gain from his art.
Ochieng’s work will be exhibited during the 2022 Floodex climate exhibition in London and the New York Times’ climate hub.
He has been recognized for his photography skills as his work has been exhibited in cities around the world such as Geneva, Switzerland. Additionally, he has bagged several awards such as the China-Kenya Embassy Photography awards in 2019, and two more Agora Awards in 2020.
Despite being recognized internationally, he notes that his work is yet to earn him recognition locally.
In his acceptance speech, he noted “Photographers possess the requisite tools to depict sustainable earth through their work. I see this as an opportunity to be actively involved in conservation efforts and advocacy for environmental issues through film and photography. This is a dream come true.”