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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org