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Press release

Wildlife photographer of the year 2004

Setting standards in wildlife photography for 21 years
Media preview: 21 October 2004, 10.30–12.00
Exhibition open to the public: 23 October
2004 – 17 April 2005

Diving into freezing cold oceans, perching on treetops, stalking through savannah and remaining motionless for hours – such is the dedication of wildlife photographers to capture the perfect image. Their hard work will soon be acknowledged as suspense mounts for the announcement of this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition winners on 20 October. The overall winner will gain the prestigious title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2004 as their winning photograph takes centre stage in a major exhibition of award-winning images at the Natural History Museum, opening on Saturday 23 October.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition, organised by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, is the most prestigious and successful event of its kind in the world. Amateur and professional photographers can enter and the 2004 competition attracted over 18,500 entries from more than 50 countries. This year, judges chose 90 winning and commended photographs, which will form the exhibition at the Natural History Museum, and tour across five continents after its London debut.

‘The Wildlife Photographer of Year Competition heightens the standard for wildlife photography every year,’ said Louise Grove-White, Competition Manager. ‘The winners’ portfolio is internationally recognised as the most exciting photography collection of the natural world, which appeals to enthusiasts of art, nature, photography and design everywhere.’

Every picture tells a story, and each image in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is captioned to reveal the tale of how and why it was taken. For most wildlife photographers, raising awareness of the threats faced by animals, plants and habitats is just as important as capturing the beauty of a moment with perfect composition and timing.

The competition’s aim is to showcase the very best photographic images of nature to a worldwide audience, showing the splendour, drama and variety of life on Earth and inspiring people to care for its future. At the same time, it aims to show the artistry involved in wildlife photography and encourage a new generation of photographers to produce visionary and expressive interpretations of nature.

All prize-winning pictures will be reproduced in a special souvenir brochure with the November issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine. The winning and commended images will also be published by the BBC in a commemorative book, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 14, priced £25, available from the Museum’s bookshop, and all good retailers.

- Ends-

Notes for editors:

  • The Natural History Museum (co-organiser and exhibition venue) and BBC Wildlife Magazine (co-organiser) must be mentioned in all editorial pieces.
  • The 11 adult entry categories are:
    Animals in Their Environment, Animal Behaviour: Birds, Animal Behaviour: Mammals, Animal Behaviour: All Other Animals, The Underwater World, Animal Portraits, In Praise of Plants, Composition and Form, From Dusk to Dawn and Wild Places. The World in Our Hands category is supported by WWF – the global environment network.
  • The Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition is open to photographers aged 17 years and under, in three age categories: 10 years and under, 11–14 years old and 15–17 years old.
  • The three special awards are:
    The Innovation Award given for the image that best illustrates originality of both composition and execution; the Eric Hosking Award given for the best portfolio of six images taken by a photographer in the age range 18–26; the Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife given for the best image of a species officially listed in the 2003 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2004 judges are:
    Rosamund Kidman Cox, former editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine; Chris Packham, wildlife photographer and film-maker; Tim Parmenter, head of the Photographic Unit of the Natural History Museum; Jonathan Scott, wildlife photographer and presenter; Pedro Silmon, creative director of Tatler magazine; Zoe Wishaw, European Director of Photography at Getty Images.
  • A range of merchandise will be on sale from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year website (, the Natural History Museum from 23 October and selected retail outlets throughout the UK from the end of October 2004.
  • For more information about Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 14, published by the BBC, please contact Caroline Wainer on 020 8433 3967 or email

Dates: Saturday 23 October 2004 – Sunday 17 April 2005
Tickets: £5, £3 concessions, £12 family, free to under 5s, NHM Patrons and Members
Open: Monday to Saturday 10.00–17.50, Sunday 11.00–17.50
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000
Nearest tube: South Kensington
Museum website:
Competition website:

For photographs, to arrange interviews or for further information, please contact:

Mairi Allan, Sarah Hoyle or Becky Chetley
The Natural History Museum Press Office
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7942 5156 / 5654
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7942 5354
Email: (Not for publication)

Issued: July 2004