Week 4 – Review – Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the National History Museum (November 2016)

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Figure 1 – Wildlife Photographer of the Year Banner (Wildlife photographer of the year, 2016)

On the 24th of October 2016 I went to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Natural History Museum. An annual exhibition at the museum with a supporting book released and other merchandise celebrating the selected 100 best Wildlife Photographs and therefore photographers of the year.

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Figure 2 – How the exhibition was presented (Visit the exhibition, 2016)

Set in the grand setting of one of the exhibition halls within the museum, there were darkly lit backdrops with subtle uplighters at the base, then you would have a large pixel perfect monitor with added brightness bringing out the absolute best detail and clarity of the chosen photography along with the information about the photographer, the story behind the image captured and where in the world the photographer was from and where they captured the photograph chosen.

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Figure 3 – Visitors interacting with the exhibition (Visit the exhibition, 2016)

Also there Photographs were broken down into sub catergories, notable catergories included Documentary, Landscape and Young Photographer of the Year. There would be a chosen winner in each catergory and the rest were runners up or notable selected entries. There was also an overall winning Photographer out of the entire exhibition as well as a winner for Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

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Figure 4 – Tim Laman – Joint Winner of The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Story (Laman, 2016)

Tim Laman (USA) was the joint winner in 2016 for The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Story for telling the story of the dwindling population of the Orangutang population in the world, his narrative of the imagery was filled with hope and dispair and impending sadness. You could see such majestic animals clinging to their ever diminishing habitat in the face of forest fires, desforestation and poaching. This photograph above was part of the collection highlighed in the exhibition.

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Figure 5 – Gideon Knight ‘The Moon and the Crow’ (Knight, 2016)

Gideon Knight won the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for 2016 for his photograph ‘The Moon and the Crow’ the story goes that he was looking for crows in his London home, as dusk began his scene was coming to life and once he found his subject with the moon as the backdrop with the intricate detail of the Sycamore tree, he found his winning composition.

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Figure 6 – Dan Hobson ‘Nosy Neighour’ (Hobson, 2016)

I wanted to highlight a few other selected Photographs that captured my own imagination, this entry by Dan Hobson called ‘Nosy Neighbour’ was a popular entry in the Urban catergory. I quite enjoy the spotlight being captured on the wildlife of the UK as well as those animals that may not have the best reputation along with Rats and Pigeons, this photograph captures the personality of the Urban Fox wonderfully in it’s urban environment of Bristol.

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Figure 7 – Nayan Khanolkar ‘The Alley Cat’ (Khanolkar, 2016)

The winner in the same catergory was taken by Nayan Khanolkar from India with his Photograph called ‘The Alley Cat’, this Leopard was captured in an outer suburb of Mumbai moving like a ‘ghost’ in the maze of alleys looking to feed on animals like stray Dogs, while I wouldn’t have enjoyed seeing such a meal, I really do like the way the image has captured a big cat behaving much like our own more domesticated smaller cats much more locally.

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Figure 8 – Angel Filtor ‘Dying of the Light’ (Filtor, 2016)

I wanted to finish up by saying I found the exhibition to be highly visual, interesting, creative and capturing wonderful moments of nature interacting with our planet and showing sides of our world that should be seen more often and cherished. It makes me sad that we don’t do more to protect our planet and our natural wonders, that we don’t see any value in conserving the world and our animal populations for our future generations, instead we carve up and pick away at delicate ecosystems pushing animal populations to the brink of extinction and sometimes to the end of their presence on the planet. There were moments captured in the exhibition showing our own impact and interactions with nature, animals fleeing their habitats from human interference, animals adapting to new urban surroundings even at a confusing price to their natural instincts and we an example of dumping waste into the sea where a coastal bird had been flying and hunting for a number of days with a coat hanger attached to his leg and sure even if he is aided and loses the hanger it may be too late to save his restricted leg. Those moments were important to be captured in the exhibition in hope of inspiring people to try and come together to protect fading animal populations and change habits and behaviour that may one day make a difference to our wildlife out there. The exhibition offered insights and drew attention in a way to catalogue such activity and begin to spread a message that this is not acceptable for activity like this to occur.

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Figure 9 – Tony Wu ‘Snapper Party’ (Wu, 2016)

I wanted to finish this blog post on a positive note capturing this truly unique photograph of two fish populations interacting in great numbers while navigating and avoiding nearby predators. The vivid colour, the artificial light from the camera and the behaviour of this population is truly fascinating and a worthy entry in the final exhibition. I highly recommend anyone to have seen this exhibition if they hand the chance or to find out more about the great collection of Photography captured if they happened to miss out.

References:

Filtor, A. (2016) Wildlife photographer of the year 2016 – t! Magazine. Available at: http://www.tmagazine.co.uk/wildlife-photographer-year-natural-history-museum/ (Accessed: 19 November 2016).

Hobson, D. (2016) Culture whisper: Personalised guide to London’s cultural scene. Available at: http://www.culturewhisper.com/r/visual_arts/preview/2241 (Accessed: 19 November 2016).

Khanolkar, N. (2016) Wildlife photographer of the year 52: The winners. Available at: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year-52-the-winners.html (Accessed: 19 November 2016).

Knight, G. (2016) Wildlife photographer of the year 2016 winners revealed. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3850944/The-Natural-History-Museum-s-Wildlife-Photographer-Year-2016-winners-offer-poignant-look-entwined-lives-man-beast.html (Accessed: 19 November 2016).

Laman, T. (2016) A peaceful photo of an orangutan has a worrying backstory about global warming. Available at: http://qz.com/813516/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year-tim-lamans-gopro-photo-of-an-orangutan-has-a-worrying-backstory-about-global-warming/ (Accessed: 19 November 2016).

Visit the exhibition (2016) Available at: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/wpy/visit/exhibition.html (Accessed: 19 November 2016).

Wildlife photographer of the year (2016) Available at: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year-2015-16-exhibition.html (Accessed: 19 November 2016).

Wu, T. (2016) Wildlife photographer of the year 2016 at the natural history museum. Available at: http://seenlondon.com/2016/10/25/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year-2016-at-the-natural-history-museum/ (Accessed: 19 November 2016).

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