Last chance to see Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008, last chance to enter for 2009

Press release - 09 March 2009

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008 exhibition at London’s Natural History Museum has been attracting record numbers of visitors but must close its doors for the final time on 26 April. Photographers hoping to feature in the 2009 exhibition have less than three weeks left to enter.

Entries for the world’s most prestigious wildlife photography competition close on 27 March (20 March for postal entries). Last year’s competition attracted more than 32,000 entries from 82 countries.

This year the competition is being sponsored by Veolia Environnement, a world leader in environmental services, and will be known as ‘Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009’.

As well as the Natural History Museum exhibition, the winning images tour regionally and internationally to more than 60 cities. The photos are also published in a hardback book and in a special supplement of BBC Wildlife Magazine. The competition, owned by the Museum and the Magazine, has been running annually since 1964.
Chair of the judging panel, zoologist, writer and photographer, Mark Carwardine said ‘Each year this great showcase for photographers raises the bar for innovative nature photography and plays an increasingly crucial role in provoking awareness of wildlife conservation’.

Mark said ‘Millions of people see the winning photographs through the exhibitions and the media coverage they generate. They not only get enjoyment from the visual impact of these images, they also gain new insights into the natural world.

‘The most important element for a winning photograph is originality. The judges will be seeing thousands of technically perfect, well-composed images. The ones that leap from the screen are those where the photographers have worked creatively to capture a different way of showing the drama, beauty or unique behaviour of the subject.’

Last year’s overall winner was American photographer Steve Winter for his image Snowstorm leopard. Mark said ‘Everything comes together in this striking picture – the drama of the snow, the mystery of the darkness, the posture of the rarely photographed snow leopard and the intriguing composition’.

Other successful photographs from the 2008 competition included Brian Skerry’s Underworld shot of a blue cod strolling on its fins through an otherworldly garden of vibrant soft corals and starfish. The soft corals are sea pens – usually found at considerable depths. But they grow in the shallow waters of Long Sound Marine Reserve in New Zealand, where tannin-stained surface water blocks out sunlight, ‘tricking’ deep-water animals into settling at shallower depths.

Ends

Notes for editors

  • Veolia Environnement is a world leader in environment services. With more than 300,000 employees in its global operations, it provides tailored solutions to meet the needs of municipal, commercial and industrial customers to reduce their environmental impact in water, waste and energy management as well as freight and passenger transport (see www.veolia.co.uk ).
  • Up to five images can be published free of charge as long as the mandatory credit – Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year is owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine – appears in the copy.
  • The two overall winners, Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Veolia Environnement Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year, will be selected from the category winners. Further competition and category details are at www.nhm.ac.uk/wildphoto
  • The Underwater World category is supported by Project AWARE Foundation (International) – a non-profit organisation dedicated to conserving underwater environments with direct support from divers and water enthusiasts worldwide. www.projectaware.org
  • The Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Wildlife is supported by ARKive. ARKive is the world’s centralised digital library of films, photographs and fact-files of threatened species – freely accessible to all online and preserved for future generations – with almost 30,000 images and film clips donated by leading wildlife filmmakers and photographers. www.arkive.org
  • Photographers can enter digital files or scans of images shot on film. To ensure all entries
    are viewed by the judges in the same way, the competition will not accept original transparencies or slides.
    Media contacts:

For more information, high-resolution images or to arrange interviews, contact:
Gary Spink, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Press Officer
The Natural History Museum
Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7942 5156; Email: wildpress@nhm.ac.uk