These images are both beautiful and heart-breaking

A photography competition with a difference has unearthed some of the most stunning – and damaged – landscapes from around the world.

The brief for the Photocrowd “Damaged landscapes” photography contest said,”Some of the most striking landscapes are those that have been damaged, whether through human intervention or by natural forces.”

The entries are as beautiful as they are disturbing, and here we share some of our favourites with you. You can use the links to view a larger version of the photograph.


‘Fiery Lake’ by Nadia/
Lake Mulwala, Australia.
Review by contest judge Paul Shears: “Looking at this image I was really struck by the desolation of so many broken and dead trees. It looks as if this place were some sort of tree grave yard. The pinkish light cast over the sky and the water give a very contaminated feel to the area, and the sense that nothing is likely to grow or thrive here again.”

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Wasteland’ by Froi Rivera/
Review by contest judge Paul Shears: “I really like this image a lot, as immediately you are presented with a scene of what looks to be total destruction of a forest area. There are some great tones and textures in the logs and stripped bark scattering the floor in the foreground.


‘Sail, Steam & Steel’ by Trevor Shelley/

Trevor Shelley: “In the foreground lay an ancient shipwreck from a sailing boat. The steam is emitted from the steel works reminding us that steel has replaced both sail and steam in the modern shipbuilding process.”


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‘Choked’ by Pal Szilagyi Palko/

Pal Szilagyi Palko: “A lake in Geamana, Rosia Montana, has been contaminated by mining residuals. The water is polluted by copper and gold mining waste residuals, and the village, church, houses and the cemetery of Geamana are totally flooded by toxic red water.”


‘Undercurrents’ by Lee Acaster/

Lee Acaster: “Tower Bridge in London. I thought the outflow pipe contrasted well with the iconic tourist idyll of Tower Bridge to illustrate a less salubrious side to London.”

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‘Drax’ by David Hopley/

Review by Paul Shears: “You really get a sense of the sheer size of the power plant and its dominance over the land. You can see large trees at the edge of the field that are just dwarfed by the size of the building and its stacks. I also like that the smoke from the stacks has blended in with the movement of the clouds, showing a continual cycle of pollution as it’s swept up into the clouds above.”


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‘Cracked Land’ by Chinmoy Biswas/

Review by Paul Shears: “For me this shot is very simple in its subject and composition, yet very powerful and metaphoric. You have the dramatic cracked earth throughout the frame, giving a sense of a barren, dead landscape, with footprints leading from the middle out toward the upper right corner. This combines with the stretched shadow looming over the land as if to suggest that perhaps somehow humans are responsible for this dry and damaged landscape.


The urbanisation of the Himalayas’ by Steve Speller/

Steve Speller: “It’s sad to see so much building going on in this beautiful region in India. A lot of it consists of holiday homes for rich Indians escaping the summer heat in the plains, but it puts a huge strain on local resources in an already fragile environment.”

Which image speaks to you the most? Share your thoughts below.