The winning images in the national photographic competition won the lion's share of a prize worth R1 million, in a social media campaign run on Facebook, R600 000 in media space over the next year to showcase the designated causes: WWF's Black Rhino Range Expansion Project and the NGO Open Africa.
Picture the Change invited South Africans to draw attention to deserving causes through photos that reflect change or the need for it, in two main categories: general public and the media (including the marketing and advertising industries).
The campaign was described as "an unqualified success" by Ramsay Media's MD, Stuart Lowe.
"People responded to this competition from the heart, all wanting to help their chosen cause. The aim of the campaign was to get people talking and create awareness using social media platforms - and we certainly achieved that. One of the best debates was around an extraordinary photo of a rhino being dehorned that went viral, reaching more 2 500 people in a matter of days.
"I've no doubt this competition is going to grow significantly and develop into our most visible CSI project. By using our brands and their 360-degree platforms, we can showcase worthy causes to millions of readers and viewers every year, so it really is a win-win."
Rhino translocation moves people
The successful image in the media category was submitted by Michael Raimondo, founder and director of film production company Green Renaissance, which captured the translocation of 19 rhino to a safer locality as part of WWF's Black Rhino Range Expansion Project.
Receiving his award last night, Raimondo described the photo as "bizarre", but said it had a very positive message. "In the face of the rhino poaching onslaught, WWF is really succeeding in increasing the range of the black rhinos and ensuring viable new populations."
Dr Jacques Flamand, leader of WWF's black rhino project, commended Raimondo and his team for their commitment to using positive environmental images to affect change and inspire action, and said the generous ad space would enable WWF to inspire people to live in harmony with nature.
"His beautiful rhino translocation images have been shown all over the world. He has shown millions of people the serious conservation work that is being done to try and help our rhino populations. He captures the poignancy and hope of this epic process, in the face of the terrible dangers that rhinos face," he said.
The second award of the evening went to Durban photographer Rob Greaves. Captioned "some sacrifices in life are hard to understand"; it depicts a nanny carrying a white child on her back, while her own toddler walks alongside her. Greaves selected Open Africa, an NGO that uses tourism as a driver to create jobs for rural Africans, as his charity of choice.
"It means a huge great deal to me that Open Africa will reap the rewards of this ground-breaking initiative from as they carry the means to raise the bar to reach out more effectively with the vision they hold," he said.
Open Africa's general manager, Francois Viljoen, thanked Greaves for "his thoughtful nomination" of the NGO as his chosen cause.
"The willingness and optimism of Africa's people is inspiring to see and Greaves captured this perfectly," he commented. "His moving photo spoke a thousand words to us and so many others out there. Without great sacrifice, we cannot expect great change. As Open Africa's patron, Nelson Mandela said, 'It always seems impossible until it's done.'"