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