Greenpeace Photographer wins World Press Photo Award

Feature Story - 2011-02-12
Greenpeace is delighted to congratulate Lu Guang on his World Press Photo award, won for a series of photographs shot for Greenpeace East Asia’s coverage of the Dalian Oil Spill. We are happy for Lu to receive the worldwide recognition and honor that his talent so richly deserves, but we must also remember that these photographs came with great human and environmental loss.

A set of photos released by Greenpeace shows firefighters trying fix an underwater pump during clean operations in Dalian, China. In these photos, one of the workers are seen to have been submerged underneath thick oil and has not emerged after nearly one hour. Greenpeace activists were on site to assess environmental impacts of the oil spill when the incident happened.

Greenpeace is delighted to congratulate Lu Guang on his World Press Photo award, won for a series of photographs shot for Greenpeace East Asia's coverage of the Dalian Oil Spill.

Lu Guang received 3rd prize for Spot News (breaking news) - the first time a non-governmental organization has won in this category.

We are happy for Lu to receive the worldwide recognition and honor that his talent so richly deserves, but we must also remember that these photographs came with great human and environmental loss.

Just days after an explosion spilled over 60,000 tons of crude oil into Dalian Bay on July 16, 2010, Lu and a Greenpeace rapid response team arrived on the scene to document the extent of the environmental disaster.

Lu Guang's photographs captured an extraordinary sequence: two firefighters jumped into the oil-clogged ocean to fix an underwater pipe, but the thick oil - estimated to be some 20cm thick - pulled the two men down. One man was immediately rescued, but 25-year-old Zhang Liang was not found until hours later.

These photographs are a stark reminder of the terrible price of our addiction to oil and all fossil fuels. In 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico and Dalian Bay, that price was paid in human lives, while in China, the reckoning goes on everyday in casualties of mining accidents and polluted air.

In the Greenpeace tradition of bearing witness, Lu Guang's photographs bring an environmental and human tragedy to the world's attention and ensure that we cannot forget. Like many of his fellow World Press Photo winners, his powerful images capture a wrong in the world - and asks us why such things continue to happen. It's time to change: make oil a thing of the past and power our future with clean, renewable energy.