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The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation announces the winners of its 2024 Environmental Photography Award



Press release

The winners of the 2024 Environmental Photography Award were announced on the evening of Tuesday 4 June, on the occasion of the official opening of the exhibition on the Promenade du Larvotto in Monaco, in the presence of the overall winner and several members of the jury. The photographs are on display to the public until 30 July 2024, after which they will travel internationally.

The 2024 Environmental Photography Award was awarded to photographer Aaron Gekoski for his image See No Evil, which also won in the "Humanity versus Nature" category.

Aaron Gekoski
See No Evil

Orangutans exploited by the tourism industry, Thailand, 2023


An internationally-renowned photojournalist and filmmaker specialising in human-animal conflicts, Aaron Gekoski has been travelling the world for over fifteen years to report on the complex relationship between humans and wild animals, covering subjects such as the illegal wildlife trade and deforestation, marine conservation and animal tourism.

Speaking about his photograph See No Evil, Aaron Gekoski reveals that at "Safari World in Bangkok, orangutans have been used in shows for decades. Every day, they are forced to perform in front of an audience that pays to see them. After the shows, they stoically wait for tourists to take photos with them. Beneath the glittering exterior lies a dark world of illegal activity and animal abuse. The orangutans used in the shows are often stolen from the wild, smuggled across borders and then trained using cruel methods. If humans were treated in this way, we would be talking about torture. For nearly five years, I have been working on a documentary called Eyes of the Orangutan, the first investigative film devoted to the world of wildlife tourism involving orangutans. The aim is to make people think twice before visiting places like Safari World. Because if we can treat one of our closest living relatives in this way, what hope is there for other species?

Sharing 97% of our DNA, orangutans are among the most popular animals in zoos around the world. At Safari World in Bangkok, Thailand, they take part in daily shows where they dance in bikinis, ride bicycles and fight against each other. They are also used for photo sessions, an activity they perform for hours on end, despite being naturally shy and solitary animals.

In 2004, more than 100 orangutans were confiscated from Safari World after DNA tests proved that they had been illegally imported from Indonesia. However, a few years later, the shows began again.

To attract tourists, young orangutans are captured in the wild and their mothers are killed. They are trained using cruel methods, including physical violence and starvation. When they become too old, they are locked up in cages for the rest of their lives.

This image was taken as part of an assignment for the American NGO Lady FreeThinker. For over five years, I have been studying the exploitation of orangutans in the tourism industry and I travel the world to document the fate of these animals in captivity.


As chairman of the jury, Alex Mustard, underwater photographer and marine biologist, speaks of the power of environmental photography and the role of the competition launched by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in 2021: "Photography, both powerful and accessible, is bursting into our lives through books, magazines, prints or on our screens. When it comes to the natural world, we know that people are more inclined to protect what they know and love. That's why we photographers have a vital role to play in informing the public, providing new knowledge and sharing our emotions and unique experiences. A successful environmental photograph can be both a work of art and an activist slogan. In a single glance, the best images can touch the senses and the heart and make a significant difference to our planet. He added: "That's why we're confident that the photos in the 2024 selection will strike a chord with viewers: they highlight the diversity and beauty of our planet's wild places, and above all they bear witness not only to the disasters that man is creating in nature, but also to the hope that lies in the many positive actions being taken around the world".

Commenting on the environmental photograph of the year, Alex Mustard said: "It captures one of the world's most intelligent animal species in a graphic composition that is emotionally charged to the point of obsession. This photograph will live long in the minds of all who see it.

Aaron Gekoski was unanimously voted the overall winner by the members of the jury, as well as the winner of the "Humanity versus Nature" and "Change Makers: Reasons for Hope" categories. He received a total grant of €7,000 and a trip to Ecuador to visit the SEK International University's research base in the Amazon rainforest.

"Conservation photography plays a crucial role in addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time. As our understanding of animal welfare evolves, the aim is to make orangutan boxing shows, elephant rides and dolphin shows a thing of the past. Images like See No Evil will then no longer need to be taken," says Aaron Gekoski, adding that "the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Environmental Photography Award not only highlights our broken relationship with nature, but promotes hope through stories like that of my other award-winning photograph, Substitute Rhinos, which showcases the work of Imvelo's Community Rhino Conservation Initiative in Zimbabwe preparing for the reintroduction of rhinos to Hwange National Park".

The selection for the 2024 edition of the Environmental Photography Award includes 36 photographs, 7 of which will be awarded prizes (the 5 category winners - "Humanity versus Nature", "Change Makers: Reasons for Hope ", "Ocean Worlds", "Into the Forest", "Polar Wonders" -, the Public Award and the Students’ Choice Award) and 10 runners-up (2 per category).

These images were selected from over 11,000 images by 2,600 photographers from around the world, both professional and amateur, by a jury of renowned photographers and personalities committed to conservation:

Alex Mustard, chairman of the 2024 jury, underwater photographer and marine biologist,
Javier Aznar, National Geographic photographer specialising in nature and wildlife conservation,
Jasper Doest, photographer specialising in conservation issues and wildlife,
Esther Horvath
, National Geographic photographer, photographer for the Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, specialising in climate research in the polar regions,
Britta Jaschinski
, photojournalist specialising in crimes against nature,
Alexa Keefe
, deputy photo editor for National Geographic magazine,
Steve Winter
, photojournalist specialising in big cats and documentary film-maker.

For this 2024 edition, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation also collaborated with Sergio Pitamitz, wildlife and conservation photographer and photographer for National Geographic Expeditions. As president of the competition, he oversaw the various phases of the competition, ensuring that the values promoted by the Foundation and the ethical requirements of environmental photography were respected.


Now in its fourth year, the Foundation's Environmental Photography Award aims to become a benchmark event for wildlife and conservation photographers working to protect the planet. As one of the Foundation's flagship awareness-raising events, the Award allows the voices of those who travel the world to bear witness to its different realities to shine through. Whether it's denouncing the human actions that contribute to the destruction of our environment or raising awareness of the many conservation projects that exist, it's always about protecting the nature to which we belong and the complex ecosystems that are vital to the health of our planet.

The travelling photographic exhibition and accompanying publication promote high-impact stories and convey powerful environmental messages through the emotions conveyed by the photographs. This mission is also part of the Foundation's 'Green Shift' initiative, which is devoted to new ecological imaginaries.

Olivier Wenden, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, points out that "it is essential to bring knowledge to the public so that environmental awareness is transformed into action in our daily lives. While scientific communications do not always succeed in bringing about the expected change, art and culture have a major role to play in proposing other models of commitment to a sustainable and desirable future".

The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Environmental Photography Award 2024 was supported by Barclays Private Bank, SEK International University and the Permanent Delegation of the Principality of Monaco to UNESCO as part of the celebrations marking 75 years of the Principality of Monaco's membership of UNESCO (1949-2024).


Please note: the competition for the 2025 edition will be open on the Environmental Photography Awardwebsite from 3 September to 3 November 2024.


Winner in the "Humanity versus Nature" category and Environmental Photographer of the Year

Aaron Gekoski

See No Evil

Orangutans exploited by the tourism industry, Thailand, 2023


Runner-up in the "Humanity versus Nature" category

Alvaro Herrero Lopez-Bletran


Injured humpback whale, Mexico, 2022


Runner-up in the "Humanity versus Nature" category

Fernando Constantino Martínez Belmar

Face to Face

Jaguar trying to attack a pig, Mexico, 2021

Winner in the "Change Makers: Reasons for Hope" category

Aaron Gekoski

Cobras" protection unit exercises, Zimbabwe, 2022


Runner-up in the "Change Makers: Reasons for Hope" category

Marcus Westberg

Seeds of Hope

Marking operation, Southern Sudan, 2023

Winner in the "Ocean Worlds" category

Magnus Lundgren

Inner Space Hitchhicker

Argonaut-sailor aboard a jellyfish, Philippines, 2019


Runner-up in the " Ocean Worlds" category

Andrew Pollard

Gentoo Flying High

Papuan penguins, Falklands archipelago, British Overseas Territory, 2021


Runner-up in the " Ocean Worlds" category

Nataya Chonecadeedumrongkul

Barrel Sponge Symphony Orchestra

Dancing prawns in a barrel sponge, Thailand, 2022


Winner in the "Into the forest" category

Jaime Rojo

Explosion of Monarchs

Monarch butterflies in fir forests, Mexico, 2022

Runner-up in the "Into the forest" category

Soumya Ranjan Bhattacharyya

Galaxies at my feet

Yellow leafhopper on a mushroom, India, 2022


Runner-up in the "Into the forest" category

Vladimir Cech Jr.

Sumatran serow

Saro from Sumatra, Indonesia, 2021


Winner in the "Polar Wonders" category

Daniel Valverde Fernández

Shaking off the snow

Polar bear in a blizzard, Canada, 2022


Runner-up in the "Polar Wonders" category

Florian Ledoux

On the thin ice

Polar bear on the ice floe, Norway, 2021


Runner-up in the "Polar Wonders" category

Ivan Pedretti

Rainbow glacier

Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon, Iceland, 2020


Public Award 2024 and runner-up "Change Makers: Reasons for Hope"

Fernando Faciole

Rainy Release

Release of a giant anteater, Brazil, 2023


Students’ Choice 2024

Thomas Vijayan

Parenting Goals

Family of emperor penguins, Antarctica, 2022


Find out more about the Environmental Photography Award:


Instagram: fpa2.photoaward