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NEWS RELEASE No: 165069 JULY 2015

Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015 returns to Grizedale Forest

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Environmental photographer

The Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015 returns to one of the most unique outdoor arts and exhibition spaces in the whole of the UK - Grizedale Forest in the heart of Cumbria.

Now in its third year and in association with Forestry Commission England, the winning photos will be exhibited in Grizedale Forest Visitor Centre and beneath the canopy of the forest (INSERT HYPERLINK) from 18th July – 7th September 2015.

Scotland based travel photographer Esme Allen has been awarded the coveted Forestry Commission England Exhibition Award for her series entitled ‘Eden Restored - The Mesopotamian Marshes of Iraq’. Her revealing work (images attached) will be exhibited exclusively within Grizedale Forest itself.

The purpose of this prize is to award a unique opportunity to an exceptional photographer, enabling them to reveal the breadth their portfolio by focussing on a particular environmental story in greater depth than can be captured in a single photographic frame.

Allen’s work explores the once fertile Mesopotamian marshes of Southern Iraq that were drained by Saddam Hussein forcing its inhabitants to flee to neighbouring countries. The marshes were not only home to Iraqi people but also to a huge variety of unique flora and fauna. After Saddam's downfall local people broke through the dam allowing the water to flood the dry land once again. It is the restoration of this remarkable natural habitat from wasteland to wetlands that is captured beautifully by Allen’s work.

Uttam Kamati won the prestigious title of The Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015. Kamati is an amateur photographer and filmmaker from India, who captures the work of humanitarian projects, transforming these endeavours into candid, touching scenes. His winning image ‘Watering Melon’ depicts a husband and wife watering watermelon saplings on the Teesta riverbed, in West Bengal, India.

Kamati’s work will be exhibited alongside the other category winners in the Grizedale Forest Visitor Centre.

Grizedale Forest remains one of Europe’s most cherished locations for site-specific art and plays host to over 40 sculptures and features the work of David Nash, Andy Goldsworthy, Robert Koenig and many others. The history of the forest as a location for challenging environmental art dates back to the late 60s drawing influence from the Land Art movement in the USA.

The Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year is one of the world’s fastest growing photography competitions. Exhibiting it for a third year in a row shows Forestry Commission England’s commitment to environmental awareness forming a key part of its Forest Art Works programme (INSERT HYPERLINK).

Ian Gambles, Director, Forestry Commission England says,

“I am delighted to select the work of Esme Allen for the Forestry Commission England Exhibition Award 2015. Esme’s photographs of the Mesopotamian marshes of Southern Iraq are a fascinating account of the return of the people who lived there as well as the ecological resilience of the flora and fauna of this unique landscape. We created the Forestry Commission England Exhibition Award to reveal the breath of the selected photographer’s work and focus in depth on a significant environmental story. We are delighted to continue our association with this exceptional project, bringing the exhibition to thousands of visitors across England’s Public Forest Estate.”

Hayley Skipper, ‎Curator for Arts Development at Forestry Commission England, says,

“This year’s Aktins CIWEN Environmental Photographer of the Year exhibition is set to be the most prestigious yet for Grizedale Forest. We have a particularly bold Forestry Commission England Exhibition Award winner this year with Esme Allen and a remarkable selection of winners across the many categories.

“This year’s winning entries explore many ecological challenges both natural and human-made and reinforce Forestry Commission England’s commitment to inspiring people to engage even more with environmental issues.”

For further information visit -


For hi-res images, interview opportunities or to visit the exhibition please contact Richard Hector-Jones at Creative Concern on 0161 236 0600, 07966 378 968 or

Notes to editors

Environmental Photographer of the Year - Background Information

Launched by CIWEM in 2007 the competition has grown from strength to strength and is one of the fastest growing photographic competitions in the world. The rapid growth and success of the competition has now outgrown CIWEM's in-house resources, therefore in 2012, in addition to partnering with Atkins, CIWEM is working with Parker Harris, who organise many of the UK's top visual art competitions, to take this initiative to the next level. For further details:

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world.
Atkins is one of the world's leading engineering and design consultancies*, employing some 17,700 people across the UK, North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe. It has the breadth and depth of expertise to plan, design and enable some of the world's most technically challenging and time critical infrastructure projects. *It is the largest engineering consultancy in the UK (New Civil Engineer Consultants File 2011) and the 13th largest global design firm (Engineering News-Record 2011).
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. Forest Art Works is a new partnership between Arts Council England and Forestry Commission England to support achieving great art for everyone in England's public forests.