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Noemie Goudal’s Project Pressure installation.

5’s best photography of 2020

Words: 5

Photos: Various

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It’s amazing how the very act of taking a photo can have an impact far beyond the lens of the photographer taking the shot. Until we can see the things that would otherwise remain hidden, we don’t always know where to focus our efforts. Or which victories to celebrate. In this, photographers have a special role. And that’s why we’re showcasing a selection of the photos that resonated most with us this year. Follow the links to explore the full story behind each image.

Simon Norfolk traced the previous glacial area of the Lewis Glacier, Mount Kenya, using fire to show the extent of the glacier in 1965. His dramatic juxtaposition of the historic as well as the current glacial front communicates a potent message. Winner of the Sony World Photography Award 2015 (landscape category). Read more

A surreal scene. Photographers Giulia Piermartiri and Edoardo Delille captured this sea of plastic bottles collected on Thilafushi island in the Maldives as part of their series on new eco-initiatives in this Indian Ocean archipelago. Read more

More great photography from 5

Are they blending into the landscape? Or is the landscape blending into them?

Proving that vegetables of all shapes are perfectly delicious to eat is Spanish food waste initiative Espigoladors. Barcelona photographer Gunnar Knechtel went to one of the farms they work with to see the gleaners in action. Read more

Dutch artist Thirza Schaap creates deceptively beautiful compositions using beach debris, as a way to raise awareness of the ugly reality of plastic pollution in our oceans. Read more

The winning photos from 5’s contest

See the stunning portraits that won our two €2500 prizes.

In his powerful series, Seeds of Resistance, Uruguayan photographer Pablo Albarenga tells the story of the indigenous people of the Amazon who are risking their lives to protect their land. The project won him the Photographer of the Year title in the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards 2020. Read more

Inspired by 16th-century still life paintings, Aliza Eliazarov creates opulent scenes of rescued food to highlight the wasteful decadence of what we throw in the bin. All of the food in her photos had been discarded when she found it. Read more

More great photography from 5

Award-winning photos by Mandy Barker that evoke the unimaginable scale of rubbish adrift in our oceans.

Award-winning Italian photographer Luca Locatelli went in search of the many ways we can make good use of waste and came across UK company Entocycle. The startup breeds black soldier flies as a sustainable protein-rich alternative to current animal feed, often made with South American soya or fishmeal. Read more

Together with Dutch impact investment firm Goodwell, Mercy Zulu works to empower local entrepreneurs making a difference in South Africa. This image was taken by Sylvia Szekely. Read more

More great photography from 5

Finnish artists Pekka Niittyvirta and Timo Aho provide a stark visual reminder of where climate change is taking us.

Welcome to Edward Burtynsky’s scenes from the Anthropocene. He has become known for visualising in stark clarity how humans are reshaping the earth. The epic scale of our footprint can best be understood when seen from above. Read more

This NASA image captures the natural beauty of our weather systems in action. Yet under the influence of climate change, these weather systems are becoming more extreme and could cause the demise of countless communities across the globe. Now Swedish company Ignitia is developing technology to help farmers better predict the rains and boost food security in their region. Read more


Into the blue

Cristina Mittermeier has photographed bowhead whales in the Arctic, sea turtles in the Galapagos and an awe-inspiring array of marine wildlife in the oceans in between. She shares her deep love of the ocean with 5.

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