Thanks to everyone who entered this year's Children's Eyes On Earth Contest – your photographs were all amazing! The judges and public who voted for their favourites had a very difficult job, but now the winners have been chosen, and congratulations to eight-year-old Anastasya Vorobko from Saint Petersburg in Russia, for her image SOS!, which scooped first prize!
Anastasya’s photograph shows a bird flying over thick smog being emitted from a factory funnel – the view from her school. On discovering that she had won the contest, Anastasya said, “I wanted to show everyone how bad the air is in our city. I see the bird in this picture as carrying a message around the world, with the hope that adults everywhere will start to care about the air that we breathe. If we don’t look after our planet, then who will?”
Founder of the Children's Eyes On Earth Contest, Reza, said: "Anastasya's picture perfectly captures the soul of the contest's I Love Nature and I Fear Pollution theme. She beautifully uses visual elements to express her ideas through photography. Congratulations on a fantastic photograph!"
Second place in the contest was awarded to Juan Carlos Canales, aged 14 from Spain, for his image Emergency Exit, which shows two ibis birds, flying over a factory in Saint-Nazaire in France. "I wanted to try and show how the beautiful things we see every day are being damaged by human hands'" reveals Juan.
Reza thought that Juan's photograph was fantastic: "The brightness of the birds contrasts strongly with the dark and desolate colours of the buildings and the wires that cut through the beautiful blue sky. To me, the birds symbolise hope, flying through a scene of destruction. It's an incredible image."
Joint third-place winners were Bianca Stan, aged 14 from Romania for Fields Of Green and 10-year-old Michael Theodoric from Indonesia with his photograph Morning At Situ Gunung. Both images captured the theme I Love Nature. Bianca says: "I wanted to show that nature has the power to unite us all and make us heroes. We're all part of the environment and we need to love and cherish it before it's too late." Michael's image was taken at sunrise in West Java, Indonesia. "I wanted to share my photographs and show people the places I've been to, so they can hopefully feel what I feel and see what I think," says Michael.
Reza loved both images and said: "Bianca's image is a wonderful example of visual art, which pays tribute to the idea of motherhood and Mother Nature. And Michael's work is in the tradition of the great Asian painters, which have always represented a hymn to nature and light. They are both very talented young photographers!"
The judges also awarded a Special Prize to Sophie Vela from France. The 14-year-old's photograph image In The Wind impressed them so much, they added an extra prize category! "The plastic bag in my photograph symbolises the millions of plastic bags littering our planet and stifling nature for millions of years," says Sophie. Reza was very impressed with Sophie's image. "This photograph highlights one of the biggest pollution problems facing the world today, but Sophie shows it in a beautifully visual way – well done!"
And of course, the public have had a chance to vote too for the Your Choice Prize. Over 45,000 votes were cast and the lucky winner was Kseniya Saberzhanova, aged 17 from Russia for her photograph The Last Breath. "I hope my photograph will make people think about what humans are doing to the planet and how we are killing so much of the beauty and nature that surrounds us," says Kseniya. The public and Reza felt that Kseniya's photo perfectly reflected the I Fear Pollution theme of the contest. "Kseniya has brought together her love of nature and fear of pollution in a very poetic way. This visual poem represents a universal plea from children to protect the beauty of the planet. It's a wake-up call for us all," says Reza.
Congratulations to all our winners, who will win some fantastic prizes, including cameras, iPads, an exclusive photography workshop with Reza and the chance to participate in the Children's Eyes On Earth Exhibition and Festival, which will take place in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 26th November to 1st December 2012.
But don't worry if you weren't one of our winners this year. Children's Eyes On Earth will be back in 2013, so keep on taking pictures!
All images: © Photographer / Children's Eyes On Earth 2012