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Powerful photo series of indigenous activists fighting to save the Amazon scoops top award

Updated 9th June 2020
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07 Sony World Photography Awards Winners 2020 RESTRICTED
Powerful photo series of indigenous activists fighting to save the Amazon scoops top award
Written by Jack Guy, CNN
A powerful series depicting the plight of activists fighting to preserve their communities from mining and agribusiness has led to Uruguayan photographer Pablo Albarenga being named Photographer of the Year at the Sony World Photography Awards 2020.
Albarenga won the award for his series "Seeds of Resistance" and will take home the $25,000 prize, according to a press release from the World Photography Organisation published Tuesday.
The series pairs photographs of landscapes at risk with portraits of the activists fighting to save the territories.
Albarenga's series uses aerial photography.
Albarenga's series uses aerial photography. Credit: Pablo Albarenga
"With this important award, I see two victories: first, the opportunity to tell the stories of the traditional communities of the Amazon by highlighting the people who are still fighting not only for their future, but for everyone's," said Albarenga in a statement.
"Secondly, that the photographer of the year award has landed in Latin America, a continent historically told through the eyes of foreigners."
Mike Trow, chair of the 2020 professional competition, said the series "is a brilliant set of images which offers a powerful visual record of how deforestation goes hand in hand with the destruction of communities and peoples."
This photo by Robin Hinsch shows the impact of the oil industry in the Niger Delta, Nigeria.
This photo by Robin Hinsch shows the impact of the oil industry in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Credit: Robin Hinsch
Winners were also announced in ten other categories. They include Sandra Herber in the Architecture category, Maria Kokunova in Discovery, Chung Ming Ko in Documentary and Robin Hinsch in Environment.
This image by Brent Stirton shows a pangolin, the world's most illegally trafficked mammal.
This image by Brent Stirton shows a pangolin, the world's most illegally trafficked mammal. Credit: Brent Stirton
Ronny Behnert took home the prize for the Landscape category, Brent Stirton won Natural World and Wildlife, and Cesar Dezfuli won Portraiture, while Ángel López Soto won Sport and Alessandro Gandolfi won Still Life.
Alessandro Gandolfi won the still life category for work including this shot of a robot.
Alessandro Gandolfi won the still life category for work including this shot of a robot. Credit: Alessandro Gandolfi
Six of the winners come from European countries, with one each from North and South America, Asia and Africa.
Now in its thirteenth year, the Sony World Photography Awards also honored UK photographer Tom Oldham in its Open category -- in which judges select the best single photograph -- Greek photographer Ioanna Sakellaraki in the Student category, and Hsien-Pang Hsieh from Taiwan as Youth Photographer of the Year.
The annual awards ceremony this year was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.