Award-winning photographer dedicates prize to Denis Sinyakov and Arctic 30

by Cassady Craighill

October 17, 2013

A young polar bear (Ursus maritimus) wanders on ice, seen from the Greenpeace ship during an expedition to document the lowest sea ice level on record.

© Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace

It was avery special night for me: I received second place at the prestigious Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year.

My prize was for a series of photographs I had taken for Greenpeace International asJohn Novishad commissioned me to shoot the Belo Monte mega dam in the Brazilian Amazon.

Belo Monte Dam Project Site

During the wonderful ceremony on October 15th at London’sNatural History Museum, I could not help but think of the Arctic 30 detained in bleak Murmansk. How could I celebrate while people I know have been stuck for weeks in a Russian jail for peacefully protesting against drilling in the pristine Arctic?

Over the last two decades I’ve worked – as afreelance photographer with many talented brave individuals who dedicate their time to creating a better world.

I’ve been very lucky to be a part of expeditions to the four corners of our globe. These adventures have been captured in my photographs and have received many accolades.

In 2012, I joined Greenpeace International as a freelance photographer to bear witness to thelowest level of summer sea icein the history of the Arctic. It was a beautiful yet eerie experience.

Polar Bear in the Arctic

Our world is melting in front of our eyes and we don’t seem to realize the urgency of this crisis. I am appalled by anyone who tries to justify drilling in such a fragile and pristine environment, especially after witnessing first hand the tragedy of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Oil from Oil Rig Disaster


I could have beenDenis Sinyakov, my fellow freelance photographer. He has been unjustly detained for doing his job. To honour him, I want to dedicate my Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year award to Denis, to the crew and activists of theArctic Sunrise, tofreelance videographer Kieron Bryanand especially to my friend the ships captainPeter Willcox.

They all deserve our respect, admiration and full support for their commitment to saving the Arctic.

We urgently need to get them released. Please sign this petition if you haven’t already done so, availablehere.

Cassady Craighill

By Cassady Craighill

Cassady is a media officer for Greenpeace USA based on the East Coast. She covers climate change and energy, particularly how both issues relate to the Trump administration.

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