The curatorial rationale for Scarcity Waste states: “In a world of limited resources, scarcity and waste have become fundamental social, political and environmental issues of our time. In the past 50 years, the world’s demand for natural resources has doubled. If we continue to use resources and generate waste at the current rate, by 2030 we will need the equivalent of two planets. But we only have one. Something needs to change.” Images are curated into the thematic areas of a Planet Under Pressure, Our Footprint, Food Waste and Shaping Our Future. Issues covered by entrants included choking pollution, drought, plastics waste, population growth, overconsumption of resources, green energy, and the the obesity epidemic versus the estimated more than 800 million people globally who are malnourished.
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Six finalists were selected by the judging panel, which was chaired by photography curator and writer William A. Ewings. First prize in the professional commission category went to Mustafah Abdulaziz from the United States, and first prize in the open competition went to German photographer Benedikt Partenheimer. Shortlisted entries were selected based on their artistic quality and photographic technique. Along with his $15,000 prize, Abdulaziz receives a commission worth up to $25,000. The open competition category of the award accepts entries from professional, student and amateur photographers, and has a first prize of $5,000.
The Syngenta Photography Award Scarcity–Waste exhibition is on show daily from 11 March until 10 April 2015, at Somerset House in London. Admission is free. For those who can’t make it in person, the full exhibition of 90 works is also available to view online.
Lead image by Pedro Armestre (Neumaticos, Seseña, Toledo, Spain, 2009); other images by Lasse Bak Mejlvang (Smokey Mountain, Manila, 2013) and Stefano De Luigi, (Drought In Kenya, Turkana, Kenya, 2009).