A stunning view into wildlife- Jack Beales, Reigate College

I recently visited the Wildlife Photographer of the year 2021 exhibition at The Natural History Museum, which was an outstanding experience and must see for all. The awards themself being presented by Chris Packham CBE who has won and judged previously, this truly showing how far the award can take you.

It’s an eye-opening view into wildlife beyond the borders of our society that was not only immerse but also intuitive, inspiring me as an artist to take even more risks when it comes to my own artwork. Some photos where not only mesmerising in terms of capturing a moment in time but the backstories were even more impressive with certain photographers waiting for weeks, months and even years to gain the perfect shot. Their careers devoted to the cause of bringing this beautiful life to the worlds eye. These fragmented shots into landscapes and life are so diverse, breath-taking and unique that you have to look twice to be able to see the second layer and astonishing reality of these photographs. The sheer complexity and individuality these photographers have incorporated into their art not only reminds us that there is talent shining out there at these difficult times but also still a bright, beautiful, breathing wildlife out there. 

There are a multitude of categories ranging from Animal Portraits, Urban Wildlife, Plants and Fungi, Photojournalism and more, showing how the competition really values each section of photography in terms of wildlife. My favourite section of all was the Natural Artistry one due to the real abnormality of the artwork in the section. For each category there is one winner and my favourite photograph of the competition won from the  ‘Animals in Their Environment’ one, this was taken by Zach Clothier from USA and depicts the last frame captured before his subject the grizzly bear attacked the setup. The context of this piece makes it even more interesting due to the fact that this shot would’ve never been taken if the material equipment didn’t become part of the environment and wasn’t just watching over it, the fact that it did gave it that exciting edge. Even though this was unintentional there are many purposeful techniques photographers use throughout the exhibition such as manipulation of light, perspective and distance from the subject, these being significantly beneficial to the overall appeal.

In addition to this there are also portfolio awards which are a combination of photographs on a selected topic with the winner of this year’s focusing on fish by Agel Fitor from Spain. One thing that is so fantastic about this award is that it also offers the opportunity for children aged between the years of 10-17 to enter, this really expanding opportunity for young people, further encouraging this type of artistry. Not only are their winners for each category but there is also an overall winner for Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year these being won by Laurent Ballesta and Vidyun R Hebbar respectively with one judge (Roz Kidman Cox), suggesting that the young photographers winner used ‘such an imaginative way of photographing spider.’

One award that is still ongoing is the people’s choice award which even if you don’t attend the exhibition you can vote for on The Wildlife Photographer of the Year website, these all being extremely interesting and unique pieces that you should certainly check out. From my personal experience I advise you to for sure attend this wonderous exhibition that catalogues the wonders of nature in a thought-provoking and complex way looking deep into our relationship with the natural world.                                                                                                                                                   

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