Student Photographer of the Year: 'Aeiforia' by <a href="https://ioannasakellaraki.com/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Ioanna Sakellaraki</a> (Greece)
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Student Photographer of the Year: 'Aeiforia' by Ioanna Sakellaraki (Greece)

About this Series: Aeiforia presents night-time photographs of solar panels, wind turbines and battery farms used across the small island of Tilos in Greece which is the first in the Mediterranean to run almost entirely on renewable energy. View it, in its entirety, here.

In an era of climate change and challenges around sustainability, islands are particularly vulnerable. Insular by their very nature, these land masses usually depend on fossil fuels and imports for energy (despite the high transportation costs). Until a few years ago, the idea of an island being fully reliant on clean energy was almost unthinkable, and yet it is about to become a reality on Tilos in Greece.

This tiny island in the Dodecanese archipelago is the first in the Mediterranean to run almost entirely on renewable energy. Over the years it has received energy from a diesel power plant on the neighboring island of Kos, via an undersea cable, but during the tourist season this has proven unreliable, leading to frequent power cuts. Since 2015, however, the supply on Tilos has been reinforced with a hybrid system exclusively powered by renewable sources including solar and wind power.

These images were taken in the island’s capital, Megálo Chorió, which is home to just 70 people during the winter. At night the passageways, rooftops and yards are illuminated by moonlight, presenting plenty of opportunities for photography. The islanders use various solar panels and energy devices including some handmade versions. The aim is to keep these running for as long as possible to help sustain households throughout the winter.

My series looks at how these strangely-shaped devices and wires become an organic part of the scenery at night. As darkness falls, a harmonic symbiosis exists between this technology and the dry and mountainous landscape of Tilos. Aeiforia is a Greek word for defining progress based on the use of natural ecosystems and energy sources to ensure future resources.