Untitled (Desert 59), 2008, by David Zimmerman
A series of abstract images of threatened Southwest desert landscapes by an American artist who powers his studio with solar panels took the top prize last month in the Sony World Photography Awards, an annual competition for professional and amateur photographers that drew more than 60,000 entries from 139 countries."The American southwest desert environment is a total ecosystem that is extremely fragile, easily scarred, and slowly healed," photographer David Zimmerman, who won a $25,000 award for his desert project in the Sony competition, writes on his Web site, noting threats to the region from air pollution, inadequate management, and increased recreational use. "My documentation of these remarkable deserts continues in an effort to influence preservation through public awareness, opinion, and action."
Based in New York City and Taos, New Mexico, Zimmerman began his shooting career in 1985 and focuses on landscape, environmental, and documentary projects, as well as commercial assignments. His Taos studio and home are entirely solar powered and LEED certified, with passive-solar-heating and water-catchment systems. Zimmerman's other ongoing projects include a series on the Salton Sea, a famously polluted and diminished saline lake in southern California.
Untitled (Desert 17), 2008, by David Zimmerman
The Sony Awards judging panel noted the strong combination of artistic craft and meaningful subject matter in Zimmerman's work, Reuters reported, with Bruce Davidson of the Honorary Judging Committee commenting that:
We live in an era of environmental awareness. It is also an era of the image. Both can coexist to give us a sharper picture of the use and abuse of our deep oceans and beloved terra firma, which is far more at risk than we admit or know.
Eco-artists made strong showing
Other contest winners working in environmental themes included:
- Amateur Photographer of the Year Vincent Foong from Singapore, whose winning image captured a wading bird coming in for a landing on a wooden stump in a river;
- the pro winner in the "Photojournalism & Documentary - Contemporary Issues" category, Giulio Di Sturco, an Italian photographer who documented flood refugees in India;
- Australia photographer Lisa Maree Williams, who took the pro prize in the "Fine Art - Natural History" category for her series of images taken at an animal hospital that was set up by "crocodile hunter" Steve Irwin;
- Giuseppe Parisi, the Italian winner in the "Landscape" category for amateur photographers;
- and Seattle-based Spanish photographer Daniel Beltrá, the winner of the new Prince's Rainforests Project Award, founded by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
Via: "U.S. photographer Zimmerman wins Sony World Award," Reuters
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