The landscape of Israel is at once both eternal and ever-changing. That tension between the ancient and the new, the natural and the man-made, is the subject of a series by photographer Roei Greenberg who this week was given the Sony World Photography Award for Landscape Photographer of the Year.
Once the announcement was made on Wednesday, Greenberg was whisked away to London by the World Photography Organisation to a gala ceremony attended by the elite of the photography industry — quite a leap for a kibbutz-born photographer from the north of Israel.
Greenberg’s winning images: Brick Trail, Ein Zeitim (Galilee)
And Demilitarized Zone, Golan Heights
But in fact, the entire Landscapes 2013 series deals with the lines drawn on nature by humans, whether the taut wire fences strung along the Israel-Egypt border…
… the remnants of an antique wall that meanders through a forest…
… a road zig-zagging upwards on chiseled rock face.
Greenberg is interested in what lies beneath; the highway that cuts into the pastoral hills of the Golan Heights, an area where geopolitical tensions can flare up in a single moment…
Or the dunes on which Tel Aviv was famously built, sand lying only a few feet below the city surface.
Photographers from 166 countries submitted 139,554 images in total — 69,114 professional entries, 65,512 open entries and 4,928 youth entries images – the highest number of entries in the WPO awards’ seven-year history. From the submissions, the jury selected 14 category winners.
The WPO stated, “Greenberg’s stunning landscape images depicts a journey through the Israeli landscape, examining the relationship between the natural world and the man-made in a land that has been dramatically changed over the course of history. Together the series forms a unique point of view, a quiet, pictorial look over a land that is in constant conflict.”
Greenberg states, “I understand that the landscape as a medium needs to be treated carefully and with respect. I believe that it is filled and shaped by ideology. I seek to capture photographs that have double meanings where objects are symbols and places always have a history that charge them with more than the eye can see. Whether it is a personal experience or knowledge of the history, the images always act as a metaphor for something more.”
Greenberg’s winning series, together with work by the other professional winners and shortlisted photographers of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards, will be on display at Somerset House in London from 1-18 May as part of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition.
Images copyright of Roei Greenberg, Israel, Winner, Landscape, Professional Competition, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards. All images published by permission.