Beating more than 300,000 entries from across the globe, Scottish photographer Kieran was awarded 3rd place for his series, ‘Hierotopia’ in Sony’s internationally acclaimed competition. The world’s best imagery from 2018 will be on show at Somerset House for the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition. With more than 800 images on display, this global photography exhibition presents all winning and shortlisted entries, including the Photographer of the Year. Upon receiving third place, the humble photographer said he is just delighted that people will now know about these incredible places.

 

Kieran Dodds series Hierotopia, explores the tiny patches of protected forests surrounding churches in Ethiopia, where farming has led to huge deforestation. His series of drone photos showcase the church forests of Ethiopia – dubbed green islands of biodiversity – and how the local community is protecting them. “For years I have been looking at how indigenous ideas have preserved the environment and seeing how this can be scaled up. In Ethiopia I stumbled across something remarkable where the Orthodox Christians preserve the environment, seeing it as the ‘clothes of the church’ – a physical part of the church building and a miniature Garden of Eden.”

 

The award-winning photographer – whose work has featured across the globe in publications including the New York Times, National Geographic and Smithsonian Magazine – was up against 326,997 entries from 195 countries and territories, the highest number of entries to date. He began researching the project in 2015, and after perfecting his drone skills, returned to Ethiopia last year to capture the breathtaking aerial shots.

 

He added: “My personal work considers the role of the environment in human culture. “For years I have been looking at how indigenous ideas have preserved the environment and seeing how this can be scaled up. In Ethiopia I stumbled across something remarkable where the Orthodox Christians preserve the environment, seeing it as the ‘clothes of the church’ – a physical part of the church building and a miniature Garden of Eden.” Kieran used drone technology to gain a “divine angle” that resonates in this work.

 

He said: “I gained Civil Aviation approval in the UK and once you understand the rules it is truly is breathtaking. “The training is rigorous and challenging but essential.” The aerial shots make up half of the body of work as well as a bulk of Kieran’s time spent on the ground documenting the rituals of life in and around the forests.

SOURCES: www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com

Embassy of Ethiopia, London

www.youtube.com/EthioEmbassyUK