Picture credit: Mohammad Fahim Ahamed Riyad

Mohammad Fahim Ahamed Riyad fended off more than 10,000 entries with an image called ‘In search of life’.

Described by organisers as ‘captivating’, the winning shot shows a fireman dealing with the aftermath of a fire in Dhaka.

Commenting on the image, Riyad said: ‘About 400 shanty homes were gutted and four people died in this incident, including a child of six years old.

‘However, no casualties were ever officially reported and the reason for the fire remains unknown.’

Competition judge Brigitte Lardinois said: ‘This image of a helmeted firefighter amid smoking ruins evokes the heroism of civic society coping with calamity.

‘The caption contradicts our expectations, recounting a shanty town devastated by a fire whose dead go unreported, its cause unrecorded.

‘This photograph gains power from the contrast between evocation of heroic endeavour and a sense of dispiriting futility.’

British photographers also scooped honours. Luke Duggleby clinched the Forestry Commission England Exhibition Award, while photographer and filmmaker Sean Gallagher won £1,000 for a film called ‘The toxic price leather’.

The contest is organised by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and was first run in 2007. It is sponsored by project management consultancy firm Atkins.

The winning entries are on display at the Royal Geographical Society in London until 4 July, before going on tour nationwide.

Picture credit: Luke Duggleby

Picture credit: Azim Faisal