-This exhibition is now closed-
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year prize exhibition at the Natural History Museum is an annual must-see show for me, and I was delighted to visit again when the exhibition opened last week.
I am always blown away by the quality and variety of the images on show. Highlights this time include the work of young photographer Connor Stefanison, winner of the Eric Hosking Portfolio Award for an outstanding collection of images taken in Stefanison’s home region of British Columbia, Andrew Walmsley’s characterful Bad Boys image, featuring a gang of menacing Indonesian macaques and Luis Javier Sandovai’s Dive Buddy close-up of a Mexican green turtle, which seems almost luminescent while feeding underwater.
The photojournalism categories are always a sadly powerful reflection of the state of the world’s wildlife. This year, Bent Stirton’s God Ivory series depicts the cruel and deadly poaching of African elephant ivory for illegal sale to Thailand and China, where ivory ornaments and jewellery form part of religious traditions. Daniel Bertrá’s The Damned Rainforest collection documents the devastation of certain areas of the Amazon rainforest during the construction of the Belo Monte Dam hydroelectric complex in Brazil.
The biggest surprise of the show is that there is a not a penguin in sight. Either a mass extinction has happened, or the prize jury has decided to branch out from these usual favourites to bring attention to lesser known creatures, which perhaps explains the charming series of underwater photos of the Egyptian dugong by Douglas Seifert, winner of commendations in various categories.
This year’s victorious photograph, Greg du Toit’s Essence of Elephants, captures a herd of elephants with an almost eerie sense of motion and an unusual vantage point, giving the viewer a unique perspective on one of these most-photographed animals.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide. The exhibition is open until 24 March.