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Award Jury

The jury, made up of professional photographers, will select the winner of the Foundation's Environmental Photography Award as well as the winners in each category of the competition.

Daisy Gilardini

President of the Jury

Daisy Gilardini is a conservation photographer who specializes in the Polar Regions, with a particular emphasis on Antarctic wildlife and North American bears. She is from Switzerland originally, and is now based in Vancouver, Canada.

She fell in love with Antarctica during her first trip there in 1997. She has since devoted most of her time to photographing the Polar Regions. In 23 years of polar exploration, she has joined more than 90 expeditions to Antarctica and the Arctic. Among her accomplishments, she has skied the final degree to the North Pole.

She is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) and the SeaLegacy Collective, a fellow of the New York-based Explorers Club, and a member of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.

She represents a number of prominent, industry-leading brands in the photography field. She is an Ambassador for the following companies Nikon (Switzerland), Gitzo, Lowepro, Eizo, SanDisk and WesternDigital.

Daisy’s images have been published internationally in leading magazines such as National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, Canadian Geographic, Nature’s Best and Outdoor Photography. Her images have also been used by high-profile NGOs such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, among others.
Since 2018, she has been a photographer in residence with Canadian Geographic and she has been nominated Greenpeace Antarctic Ambassador.

Her work has been recognized by some of the world’s most prestigious photography awards, including BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Travel Photography of the Year and the Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice International Awards.

Her childhood passion for the natural world has evolved into a lifelong commitment to spread the message of conservation and the need to preserve what's left of the world’s remaining wild places.

Ragnar Axelsson

For over 40 years, Ragnar Axelsson, A.K.A. Rax, has been photographing the people, animals, and landscape of the most remote regions of the Arctic, including Iceland, Siberia, and Greenland. In stark black-and-white images, he captures the elemental, human experience of nature at the edge of the liveable world, making visible the extraordinary relationships between the people of the Arctic and their extreme environment – relationships now being altered in profound and complex ways by the unprecedented changes in climate.

A photojournalist at Morgunbladid since 1976, his photographs have been featured in LIFE, Newsweek, Stern, GEO, National Geographic, Time, and Polka, and have been exhibited widely.
Ragnar has published 7 books in various international editions. Andlit Nordursins (The Face of The North), was published in 2016, with a foreword by Mary Ellen Mark, and won the 2016 Icelandic Literary Prize for non-fiction.

Other awards for Ragnar’s work include numerous Icelandic Photojournalist Awards; The Leica Oskar Barnack Award (Honorable Mention); The Grand Prize, Photo de Mer, Vannes; and Iceland’s highest honor, the Order of the Falcon, Knight’s Cross.

Ragnar is currently working on a 3-year project documenting people’s lives in all 8 countries of the Arctic.

Laurent Ballesta

Laurent Ballesta is a French photographer from Montpellier. He is the author of 13 photography books dedicated to underwater wildlife. Co-founder of Andromède Oceanology since 2000, he has been leading major expeditions for the past 10 years. His Gombessa Expeditions gather 3 emblematic values: a scientific mystery; a diving challenge; and the promise of unique world first images. From the first pictures of the coelacanth taken by a diver at 120 meters deep, to the hunts of the 700 sharks of Fakarava at night, and the deepest and longest dive in Antarctica, Laurent illustrates the underwater world with a naturalist and artistic point of view.

In the summer 2019 he did a world first by successfully combining offshore saturation living systems with the technics of autonomous rebreather diving. For 28 days Laurent and 3 other divers lived in a 5 square meters pressurized chamber and dove daily in the mesophotic zone, between 60 and 140 meters deep with no limit of time between Marseille and Monaco. There, they were able to illustrate targeted ecosystems and put together unique scientific protocols.

In 2021, he was awarded the grand title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

Nick Danziger

Nick Danziger is one of the world’s most renowned photojournalists. Much of his life has been dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times in best-selling books, and in award-winning documentaries and photography. He has won numerous awards for his outstanding work, amongst them is an Honorary Fellowship awarded by the Royal Photographic Society, and the Royal Geographical Society’s Ness Award in recognition of raising public understanding of contemporary social, political and environmental issues through documentary films and photography. He has also won the World Press Photo 1st prize in the single portrait category. His photographs have been published internationally and are part of several museum collections.

Frederick Dharshie Wissah

Frederick Dharshie-Wissah is an award-winning environmental and humanitarian photojournalist, based in Nairobi, Kenya. He specializes in environmental stories that depict food and water insecurity and women's empowerment, with a focus on Africa.

Dharshie, as he is called, understands the struggles that his subjects experience, first-hand, and strives to focus both on problems and their solutions. 

In 2019 his passion and love for nature earned him the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) Environmental Photographer of the Year for his photo entitled “A young boy drinks dirty water in Kakamega, Kenya.” The results were announced at the UN Climate Summit in New York, and it was a defining point in his career.

Since then, Dharshie has been featured in Forbes, the Guardian, the Sun, National Geographic-NatGeo as well as the New York Times. He was a judge for the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Environmental Photography Award in 2020 and a resident photographer for OpenEye Gallery Liverpool in 2021.

When Dharshie is not behind the lens of his camera, he is working on his Not for Profit, the 'Souls of Charity Initiative' which aims to give back to vulnerable Kenyan communities through volunteerism.

By combining his interest in humankind and his passion for the natural world, Dharshie seeks to educate and create awareness as well as inspire action.

Sergio Pitamitz

Award winning wildlife and conservation photographer Sergio Pitamitz has French and Italian dual citizenship. He is a National Geographic contract photographer for National Geographic Expeditions and NG Image Collection. On assignment he has traveled to more than 100 countries on all seven continents.

He is a contributor to National Geographic Magazine Italy and his images and stories have appeared in numerous other publications including BBC Wildlife, Terre Sauvage, Paris Match, The New York Times, Figaro Magazine and National Geographic’s magazines, books and websites.

His images have been awarded in international photo contests such as Nature’s Best, National Wildlife and Audubon. He won the NPPA - National Press Photography Association - “Best of Photojournalism 2016 - Environmental Category”. 

He is a Swarovski Optik Outdoor brand ambassador.

Gaia Repossi

Gaia Repossi was born in 1986 in Turin, Italy. She grew up with her father's and grandfather's passion for jewellery and developed a taste for the plastic arts very early on. After studying painting at the Beaux Arts de Paris, she pursued a career in archaeology, one of her passions.

In 2007, she joined her father's family business and took on the role of Artistic and Creative Director to instil her radically innovative vision. Her inspirations reflect her passion for art, particularly for visual artists such as Joseph Beuys, Franz West, Donald Judd, Robert Mappelthorpe, Walter de Maria and Robert Smithson. Architectural influences, including Bauhaus and Le Corbusier, can also be found in her work, and the current boutique in Place Vendôme is the result of her encounter with Rem Koohlas.

Her great openness to the world also has an influence on her collections, which are inspired by distant cultures and eras, crossing tribal or ancient references to combine purity and complexity. Gaia Repossi's creative direction is also based on creative dialogues with designers, artists and environmental advocates to whom she feels close, such as photographers David Sims, Juergen Teller and Glen Luchford. In 2010, the iconic Berbère collection marked the brand's contemporary turn.

Since then, it has been redefining the codes of jewellery by offering new shapes and ranges of modular design that meet the desires and expectations of the contemporary world.

Kathleen Ricker

An animal lover and conservation advocate from a young age, Kathleen Ricker always knew she wanted to spend her life surrounded by wildlife. While a path in animal and wildlife sciences didn’t seem in the cards she found a love for photography and decided to study it at University. After losing her mother to cancer in 2012 a lightbulb went off in her head. She realized how short life really was and how easy it was to push your dreams till later on. In 2013, Kathleen started planning adventures around the world to witness and photograph wildlife in its natural habitat. What started as small list of 5 places quickly grew.

Kathleen has camped with polar bears on an ice floe edge in the Canadian Arctic, sweated through the Borneo jungle’s picking leeches off her pants to see Orangutans in the wild, witnessed the birth of wildebeest during the migration, stood amongst a half a million penguins in South Georgia, snorkeled with orca’s in Norway, and her favorite adventure… trekked with Gorillas in Uganda. On the first trek into Bwindi National Park Kathleen fell in love with Mountain Gorillas and has since gone to trek with them 14 times.

What Kathleen loves most about photographing wildlife is watching how close their interactions are to human interactions. The more you watch an animal you start to recognize facial expressions. You can see happiness, pain, anger, embarrassment, and adoration. You learn how a mother interacts with her young is the same as a human, they are loving, protective, and exhausted. Capturing these emotions enables Kathleen to tell a story through her photographs.

Going forward, Kathleen wants to focus more heavily on photographing primates specifically gorillas. She is hoping to travel to every location that a species of wild gorillas inhabits and capture how they live. She wants to show how similar they are to humans in hopes to build people’s compassion and desire to keep these animals protected.

When Kathleen is not traveling the world she is a Wedding and Elopement Photographer (Love and Adventure Photography) based just outside of Washington DC in the US. She has been photographing weddings since 2005 and has photographed weddings and elopements around the world including in Antarctica and a safari wedding in Kenya.

Ami Vitale

Nikon Ambassador and National Geographic magazine photographer and filmmaker Ami Vitale has lived in mud huts and war zones, contracted malaria, and donned a panda suit—all in keeping with her philosophy of “living the story.” She has traveled to more than 100 countries, bearing witness not only to violence and conflict, but also to surreal beauty and to the enduring power of the human spirit. She has turned her lens to compelling wildlife stories, such as returning critically endangered, captive-born species like the giant pandas back to the wild, and efforts to save the last living northern white rhinos from extinction. Vitale’s work is exhibited worldwide in museums, galleries, and private collections. She has garnered prestigious awards including six prizes from World Press Photo, the International Photographer of the Year prize, and the Daniel Pearl Award for Outstanding Reporting. She has also been named Magazine Photographer of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association.

She is Executive Director of Vital Impacts, whose mission is to support grassroots organizations who are protecting people, wildlife and habitats. She is also a founding  member of Ripple Effect Images, a collective of scientists, writers, photographers and filmmakers who document challenges facing women and girls in developing countries. She is chair of the Photographers Advisory Board for National Geographic magazine photographers and also a member of the Executive Advisory Committee of the Alexia Foundations Photojournalism Advisory Board. Based in Montana, Vitale is a contract photographer with National Geographic magazine and frequently gives inspiring talks and workshops throughout the world.