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Rajendra Mohan Pandey, Living Together, Kolkata, 2016
Rajendra Mohan Pandey, Living Together, Kolkata, 2016
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This Year's Syngenta Photography Award Focuses on the Challenge of Sustainability

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 7 March 2017
The annual photography award that seeks to engage a dialogue on significant global issues returns to London with a powerful selection of images that respond to the theme of Grow-Conserve.

As populations grow, technological advancements continue and climate change becomes a paramount issue, how do we conserve what we have for tomorrow’s generation? 43 international photographers from 22 countries highlight these prescient issues at the Syngenta Photography Award exhibition at London’s Somerset House.

Eric Tomberlin, Garden of Earthly Delights, Issaquah, WA, USA, 2010
Eric Tomberlin, ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’, Issaquah, WA, USA, 2010

Since its inception in 2012 by the leading agriculture company, Syngenta, the award has gained a reputation for raising awareness of crucial global issues through engaged, striking and narrative-based photography.

This year’s exhibition is no exception, with photographers exploring the challenges of pollution, city expansion, rural development, produce enterprise and displacement due to conflict.

Kenneth O’Halloran Rice Farmer, Sanwougou Lalle, Togo, 2015 | © 2016 Kenneth O’Halloran
Kenneth O’Halloran, ‘Rice Farmer’, Sanwougou Lalle, Togo, 2015 | © 2016 Kenneth O’Halloran
Dubai © Tor Seidel
‘Dubai’ | © Tor Seidel

Our dependency and influence on the environment is highlighted in Rajendra Mohan Pandey‘s images of Kolkata in West Bengal, where people who live along the river both rely on it for their daily needs as well as help keep it clean.

Rajendra Mohan Pandey, Living Together, Kolkata, 2016
Rajendra Mohan Pandey, ‘Living Together’, Kolkata, 2016
Ryan Koopmans, Pudong, Shanghai, China
Ryan Koopmans, ‘Pudong’, Shanghai, China | © Ryan Koopmans

While other photographers highlight the unexpected beauty and synergy of urban expansion like Ryan Koopmans who captured an enormous intersection in the financial heart of Shanghai through the spherical glass floor of the Oriental Pearl Tower.

Sharjah, UAE | © Toby Smith
Sharjah, UAE | © Toby Smith

Also included are works by the six shortlisted finalists of the Professional Commission and Open Competition. They ‘illustrate how the tension between growing demand for more food, energy and resources is being challenged as populations grow.’

Matt Hamon, Epona Nursing, 2016 | © Matthew Hamon
Matthew Hamon, ‘Epona Nursing’, 2016 | © Matthew Hamon
Lucas Foglia, Casey and Rowdy Horse Training, 71 Ranch, Deeth, Nevada 2012 | © Lucas Foglia
Lucas Foglia, ‘Casey and Rowdy Horse Training, 71 Ranch’, Deeth, Nevada 2012 | © Lucas Foglia

From Matthew Hamon‘s portrait of a Buffalo Bridge resident during the Native American Bison hunt near Yellowstone National Park to Lucas Foglia‘s series on cowboys and ranchers in Colorado, Montana, Nevada and New Mexico, each of the six photographers provides a very illuminating view of this ongoing issue.

Robin Friend, Gaewern Slate Mine, abandoned in 1970, from series 'Bastard Countryside', 2014 | © Robin Friend
Robin Friend, ‘Gaewern Slate Mine’, abandoned in 1970, from series ‘Bastard Countryside’, 2014 | © Robin Friend

The free Syngenta Photography Award exhibition is on at The West Wing Galleries, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA from March 9–28 2017.