Announcing the Winners & Finalists!

No matter where in the world we live, we all share the same planet. Photography is the most vivid language to convey the complex wonders and mysteries of nature. Likewise, it is one of the most powerful means to document the harmful effects of human intervention in the environment — while also applauding positive actions to preserve our fragile ecosystems.

Here are 34 unique points of view inspired by the earth, nature, and our shared surroundings. These award-winning photo stories and single images were selected by an esteemed panel of international photography experts for LensCulture’s Earth Awards 2015.

There are many difficult stories here that are meant to disturb viewers and inspire change. You will also discover amazing celebrations of the beauty and joy that nature provides. We hope you will look carefully at every one of them — we think they are all important works that deserve to be seen, shared and discussed around the world.

Series Winners

Single Image Winners

“So much amazing work, rich and deeply seen. I’m glad I didn’t have to choose the winners all by myself — I would have given at least ten first prizes.”
— Chris Jordan, Juror


earth awards 2015 jury

  • F hodgson pic
    Francis Hodgson
    Photography Critic, Financial Times
    Co-Founder, Prix Pictet
    London, UK
    more about Francis
    Francis Hodgson is Professor in the Culture of Photography at the University of Brighton, in England. He is also the writer on photography for the Financial Times, a contributing editor to Art Review and a critic for the Economist. Hodgson was a co-founder of the Prix Pictet (on which he served several times as chairman of the jury) and he also chaired the Sony World Photography Awards. He has published many monograph texts on photography and has often been a guest lecturer. Before these current positions, he served as head of the Photographs Department at Sotheby's and also worked as a gallerist at the Photographers' Gallery and Zwemmer Fine Photographs.
  • Molly roberts2 pic
    Molly Roberts
    Chief Photography Editor
    Smithsonian Magazine
    Washington, DC
    more about Molly
    Molly Roberts is a photography editor, curator and photographer, she currently serves as Chief Photography Editor at Smithsonian Magazine. With 25 years experience in the magazine publishing world, she is responsible for the content and appearance of many magazines, books, web sites and apps. She is an advocate for powerful visual storytelling and human rights and recently created the non-profit HumanEyesUSA to present documentary photography projects in public spaces and to use powerful imagery to help illuminate complex issues facing America.
  • Tetsuro pic
    Tetsuro Ishida
    Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography
    Tokyo, Japan
    more about Tetsuro
    Born in Osaka, 1968. After working at Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Tetsuro Ishida serves as the curator of Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, involved with art museum education and exhibition projects and organization. He has curated exhibitions of Nobuyoshi Araki in 1999, Rinko Kawauchi in 2012, Contemporary Japanese Photography vol. 12 in 2013 and more.
  • Kathy moran bio pic
    Kathy Moran
    Senior Editor for Natural History
    National Geographic Magazine
    Washington, DC
    more about Kathy
    Kathy Moran is National Geographic magazine’s first senior editor for natural history projects. A 33-year veteran of the Society, Moran has been producing projects about natural ecosystems for the magazine since 1990. Moran has edited several books for the Society, including “Women Photographers National Geographic.” She was named “Picture Editor of the Year” for her winning portfolio in the 2006 Pictures of the Year competition and the 2011 Best of Photo competition. She is a founding member of the International League of Conservation photographers and edited numerous books for ILCP photographers.
  • Melissa ryan pic
    Melissa Ryan
    Director of Photography
    Nature Conservancy Magazine
    Washington, DC
    more about Melissa
    Melissa Ryan is Director of Photography for Nature Conservancy magazine, the award-winning magazine of The Nature Conservancy. Ryan oversees & implements the photographic vision for the print, online and mobile editions. She works in close partnership with freelance photographers to publish dynamic environmental conservation stories. Ryan has over 20 years of photo editing experience working on magazines, books, newspapers, and online projects.
  • Chris jordan pic
    Chris Jordan
    Photographic Artist
    Seattle, WA, USA
    more about Chris
    Chris Jordan’s work explores contemporary mass culture from a variety of photographic and conceptual perspectives. Edge-walking the lines between beauty and horror, abstraction and representation, the near and the far, the visible and the invisible, his images depict viscerally the enormity and power of humanity’s collective will. Jordan’s works are exhibited and published worldwide.
  • A %20rinaldo pic
    Arianna Rinaldo
    Madrid, Spain
    more about Arianna
    Arianna Rinaldo is a freelance professional working as a photo editor, reviewer, curator and teacher. She is the Director of OjodePez, the documentary photography quarterly published by LaFabrica, Madrid. She is also the artistic director of Cortona On The Move, an annual international photo festival, taking place in the beautiful region of Tuscany, Italy. In 2014, she was the guest artistic director of DOCfield14, a city-wide celebration of documentary photography in Barcelona, involving more than 40 institutions and organized by Photographic Social Vision.
  • Ian shive pic
    Ian Shive
    Tandem Stills + Motion
    Los Angeles, CA, USA
    more about Ian
    Ian Shive is CEO & founder of the Los Angeles-based Tandem Stills + Motion, Inc., one of the world’s leading collections of licensable photographs and motion clips of the outdoors; a noted photographer; recipient of the prestigious Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography; author of 5 books on photography and the environment; an instructor in the photojournalism program at the University of Southern California (UCLA); and Executive Producer of a program on sharks for the Discovery Channel, among other noted achievements.
  • Casper pic
    Jim Casper
    Editor & Publisher
    Paris, France
    more about Jim
    Jim Casper is the founding editor and publisher of LensCulture, one of the leading destinations for contemporary photography from around the world. As an active member in the contemporary photography world, Casper organizes annual international photography portfolio review events, curates arts exhibitions, writes about photography and culture, lectures, conducts workshops, serves as an international juror and nominator for key awards, and is an advisor to arts and education organizations. He serves on the board of directors at SPE, the Society for Photographic Education, the world’s largest association of photography educators.

We would like to thank every photographer who participated in this competition, and offer a special thanks to the members of our international jury who had the very difficult job of selecting winners and finalists from such a strong group of projects. We were truly amazed at the high quality of work that was submitted by photographers from over 80 countries. So many of the stories are stunning, remarkable, and hard to forget. Be sure to stay tuned to LensCulture, as we will continue to feature many other great photographers from this competition in addition to the winners and finalists shown here.