Right: Julian lying down on his sacred indigenous land. Left: An aerial view of the new road entering the Achuar territory.
The Photographer of the Year title was awarded to Pablo Albarenga (Uruguay) for his series "Seeds of Resistance".
Seeds of Resistance is a body of work which pairs photographs of landscapes and territories in danger from mining and agribusinesses with portraits of the activists fighting to conserve them. In 2017, at least 207 leaders and environmentalists were killed while protecting their communities from projects threatening their territories. According to a 2018 report by Global Witness, most of these cases occurred in Brazil with 57 assassinations being recorded, of which 80% were against people defending the Amazon.
Pablo's photo shows an indigenous man from the Achuar Nation of Ecuador. He fights collectively to protect his community of the consequences of a new road entering the Achuar territory, among other threats such as deforestation, which is already affecting his fellow indigenous Shuar neighbors.
This photo is part of his "Seeds of Resistance" series exploring the bond between the defenders and their lands – a sacred area in which hundreds of generations of their ancestors rest. In the photographs, the main characters in the stories are seen from above, as though they are laying down their lives for their territory.
The World Photography Organisation is a global platform for photography initiatives. Working across up to 180 countries, its aim is to raise the level of conversation around photography by celebrating the best imagery and photographers on the planet.