Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016

Our favourite photographic competition is back - Wildlife Photographer of the Year returns to the Natural History Museum this year for its 52nd run. The captivating exhibition showcases 100 acclaimed international photographers on both a professional and amateur level, promoting the true beauty and diversity of life on our planet. We were lucky enough to visit this stunning display before it opened to the public on the 21st October - so, without further ado, here's our EJS take on #WPY52...

Left and right: The exterior of The Natural History Museum, donned with banners advertising the exhibition.

Left: We were greeted on arrival with an overwhelming welcome. Right: Interesting information on our entrance regarding the competition's and museum's history.

"The international judging panel reviewed almost 50,000 entries from 95 countries this year."

The prestigious title of 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year' is a highly sought-after accolade; the international judging panel reviewed almost 50,000 entries from 95 countries this year - a staggering amount. The categories were varied - from Mammals to Plants, and from Under Water to Birds, the competition was fierce. We thought each image was beautifully taken; kudos to the judging panel for whittling down the entries!

The exhibition was buzzing with individuals from all backgrounds - press, camera crew, journalists and the photographers themselves were all present during the presentation.

Left: The photographs were stunningly lit, showing every detail and colour within them. Right: One of our favourite shots by Ganesh H Shankar, titled "Eviction attempt" for obvious reasons.

Nayan Khanolkar / Wildlife Photographer of the Year - this beautiful photograph "The alley cat" is truly inspiring, highlighting how the local Warli people in Mumbai have a lot of respect for the big cats.

The winner of the competition was undeniably well-deserved; Tim Laman won the title for his image Entwined lives. The photograph exposes a critically endangered Bornean Orangutan above the Indonesian rainforest. Tim spent three days rope-climbing the 30 metre tall tree to position several GoPro cameras, enabling him to trigger the shots remotely. “Protecting their remaining habitat is critical for orangutans to survive. If we want to preserve a great ape that retains its vast culturally transmitted knowledge of how to survive in the rainforest and the full richness of wild orangutan behaviour, then we need to protect orangutans in the wild, now”, says Tim. We couldn't agree more. 

Tim Laman's striking image "Entwined Lives" was a clear winner.

Left and right: Tim also won The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Story for his portrayal of the orangutan, and their struggling survival in their dramatically decreasing rainforest.

"Protecting their remaining habitat is critical for orangutans to survive."

Left: Tim Laman, the winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016, giving a talk regarding his celebrated image. Right: A sorrowful portrayal of the heavily-hunted Pangolins.

Audun Rikardsen's photograph "Splitting the catch" was another firm favourite of ours.

As well as depicting the vast beauty within our world, the exhibition also also emphasised the many issues in preserving natures many organism's. Paul Hilton won The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image for his heartbreaking exposé. He photographed 4,000 defrosting Pangolins - one of the largest seizures of the animals on record. The poor mammals are frequently used in China and Vietnam for exotic-meat trade or traditional medicine, resulting in Pangolins becoming the world's most trafficked animals, with all eight species targeted. Additionally, Audun Rikardsen's portrayal of how humpback whales can become entangled in the nets of fishermen, purposefully or accidentally, is a sorrowful tale

Charlie Hamilton James also won The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Story for his depiction of the decline of the Falcon.

Left: We couldn't help but photograph the stunning birds that were shown during the exhibition - the muddy Flamingo was a humorous display. Right: Bence Máté's "Portrait of a pelican" featured arresting colours, textures and shapes.

Mats Andersson "Requiem for an owl" / Wildlife Photographer of the Year

However, many of the images were heart-warming portrayals of our favourite creatures - many of which were friendly EJS faces. Birds and beats of all shapes and sizes were photographed in their natural habitats living happily and freely, such as the muddy Flamingo in Laurent Chagnard's "Study in mud." 

We were overwhelmed by the incredible talent of all the participants and the display of natures diverse beauty on show in this years competition. We urge you all to go and visit this stunning display; there's a reason why it's nicknamed the 'Oscars' of the wildlife photographic calendar...


Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016

The Natural History Museum

21 October 2016 - 10 September 2017
10.00–17.50 (last admission 17.15)

Adult £15, child and concession £9, family £41


Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London