2nd Place: Portraits in Ashes by Gideon Mendel
As our global temperatures rise we have seen an unprecedented increase in the extremity of wildfires around the world. In 2021 I travelled to Greece, Canada and the USA to document the aftermath of fires that had destroyed homes, killed numerous people and burnt millions of acres of land. I choose not to document the burning flames, but rather to seek out their aftermath. These portraits are made across different communities and cultures around the world. My subjects pause and engage the camera, looking out from their devastated lives. While their poses may seem conventional, the context is catastrophe, and their gazes are unsettling. They are not disempowered victims: in their encounter with the camera they invite us to engage with the calamity that has befallen them, bearing witness to the impacts of climate change which will be so much worse unless meaningful action is taken.