Wildlife Photographer of the Year's reputation is reinforced by the expertise of our jury and the vigour of our judging process. Meet this year's international panel.
Chair’s foreword – WPY 2019
The fact that you are reading this means you are already contemplating entering. It also suggests that you have wildlife or conservation images that you value. If so, then this is the one competition you should enter, and here’s why.
It carries greatest prestige than any other competition – all the biggest names in the field have featured in it at some point in their careers – and it gives the greatest worldwide coverage. Indeed, the competition has set the standards for wildlife photography – ethically as well as aesthetically. And by showcasing the very best images by dedicated nature photographers and photojournalists, it enables people to marvel at the wonders of nature while giving international exposure to the conservation and environmental stories that so desperately need telling.
So, there you have it – the best of reasons to enter, more important than the awards and cash prizes. Now for some advice, most of it obvious but worth repeating.
The judges represent a mix of specialisations and nationalities, to give a range of visual viewpoints, experience and knowledge. Their combined memories of the images that have come before will mean that, to withstand the rounds of decision-making, a familiar photographic subject will need something extra – lighting, angle or expression – to lift it from the publishable but ordinary to the original and unforgettable.
While seeking skill and originality, the judges will also be influenced by the emotion that comes not just from a situation but from the feeling that will shine through an image taken with care and passion. If you truly believe in your image, enter it. Should you find it difficult to select exactly which images to enter, ask others for opinions. You might discard their views, but they will help you crystalize your own.
Check already prepared files to make sure that, in the past, you haven’t ‘cleaned’ away some distracting element. Every year, when checked against their ‘raw’ (unprocessed) files, finalists have to be dropped because of some tiny bit of unnecessary cloning.
Don’t agonise about the categories – if a picture is special, the judges will find a way to place it. But do read the rules – twice. ‘True to nature’ and ‘ethical’ should be your mantras. Also pictures that have already won in other competitions can’t be entered. And make a note of the date when raw files will be requested. No raw, no prize.
I truly wish you success. The reward for all of us involved with the competition is being party to the thrill of those whose pictures are chosen to be in the final one hundred.
Roz Kidman Cox, Chair of the Jury
Rosamund 'Roz' Kidman Cox (UK), Chair of the jury, writer and editor
Roz is an editor and writer specialising in wildlife and environmental issues, with a particular interest in photography. Previously editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine for more than 20 years, she now project‑manages and edits photography‑led books and is an affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers. Titles include the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio books and, for BBC Books, titles including Light on the Earth, Planet Earth, Frozen Planet, The Hunt and Planet Earth II. Roz is author of 50 Years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year and The Masters of Nature Photography and the Unforgettable photography titles for the Natural History Museum. She has judged the competition over nearly four decades.
Theo Bosboom is a passionate photographer from the Netherlands, specialising in nature and landscapes. He turned his back on a successful legal career to pursue his dream of being a full-time professional photographer. Since then, he has never looked back. Theo is regarded as a creative nature photographer with a strong eye for detail and composition and always trying to find fresh perspectives.
He has won numerous awards at major international photography competitions, including the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year and International Landscape Photographer of the Year. Theo is a regular contributor to leading magazines such as National Geographic (NL), GEO, Outdoor Photography and On Landscape, and his work has been published in many other magazines and national newspapers. He has also published two photo books: Iceland Pure (2012) and Dreams of Wilderness (2015). His third book, Shaped by the Sea - about the Atlantic coast of Europe - is almost finished.
Jürgen Freund is a natural history and conservation photographer living in Tropical North Queensland, Australia. He is as much at home taking underwater photographs in the ocean as he is in freshwater, rainforests, deserts and up in the air. Jürgen is a senior fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and his photographs have been published in many magazines and books worldwide, as well as shown in international exhibitions. For more than two decades he has been working with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) network, who use his images in their international conservation campaigns. In 2009, Jürgen and his wife, Stella, embarked on a milestone photographic expedition for WWF, travelling for 18 months through the six countries of the Coral Triangle. There Jürgen photographed nature, wildlife and the many people living in the world's most biodiverse marine ecosystems. Their photo stories from this epic journey culminated in the 2011 coffee-table book The Coral Triangle.
Helen Gilks is owner and manager of Nature Picture Library, a specialist nature and travel photo agency based in the UK and formerly part of the BBC Natural History Unit. The collection is especially strong in animal portraits and behaviour, but also includes landscapes and travel, plants, tribal peoples and images illustrating environmental issues. Previously, Helen was manager of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
Paul Hilton is a Hong Kong-based photojournalist and wildlife trade consultant. He focuses on global environmental and conservation issues and endeavours to bring about urgent change in the way we treat our surroundings. Presently he is working on the palm oil issue, documenting deforestation, land clearing and the wildlife trade in Sumatra's Leuser Ecosystem, Indonesia, in collaboration with Rainforest Action Network, Wildlife Asia, and Forest Nature and Environment Aceh.
In 2009, Paul became a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, and in 2010 launched his first book, Man & Shark, highlighting the global shark-finning industry. He has received numerous awards for his conservation photography, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year titles in 2012, 2014 and 2016. His photos were published in the book Black Market, which deals with the wildlife trade in Asia and included investigative photojournalism in the wild animal markets and theme parks of China.
Paul's undercover footage of the illegal wildlife trade features heavily in the 2015 film Racing Extinction, produced by the Ocean Preservation Society and directed by Oscar winner Louie Psihoyos, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Ole Jørgen Liodden
Ole Jørgen Liodden is a professional wildlife photographer, author, expedition leader and conservationist. His photographic work has reached people around the world, and he has received a dozen international photo awards, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Before Ole became a full-time photographer he earned master's degrees from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in natural resource management, resource economics and environmental politics. He has also studied wildlife management, ornithology and mammalogy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Ole has always been interested in environmental conservation and resource management, and now he uses his photography as a tool to generate interest in environmental issues in the Arctic and in marine ecosystems.
Tim Littlewood is Head of the Department of Life Sciences Department at the Natural History Museum, London. He is responsible for botanical, entomological and zoological collections and research within the Department. His personal research has focussed on molecular tools to understand species diversity and diversification, particularly on helminth parasites that infect vertebrates.
Kathy Moran is National Geographic's magazine’s senior editor for natural history projects. A 37-year member of the National Geographic Society, Kathy has been producing stories about terrestrial and underwater ecosystems for the magazine since 1990, and at last count has edited over 350 stories. Recent highlights include overseeing The Year of the Bird series celebrating the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and curating the Society's traveling exhibition, 50 Best Wildlife Photos. She was the project manager for the National Geographic Society/Wildlife Conservation Society's award-winning collaboration of photographer Nick Nichols and Dr Michael Fay's trek across central Africa. The resulting stories were the impetus for the creation of Gabon's national park system.
Her single-topic issue on the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem was published in 2016, a team effort with 11 photographers and writer David Quammen. She was named Picture Editor of the Year for her winning portfolios in the 2006 and 2017 Pictures of the Year competition and the 2011 Best of Photo competition.
Kathy has edited several books for the Society including most recently, Tigers Forever. She was the photo editor for 100 Best Wildlife Pictures and Wildlife, The Best Photos.
She is a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and has served on the Executive Committee, editing numerous books. She served on the Executive Committee of Wildscreen USA and has been on the jury for numerous international photo competitions. She lives in Arlington, VA, with her husband and three bad cats.
Melissa Ryan is the deputy director of photography for the The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the world's leading environmental conservation organisation. Melissa works with a team of photo editors to manage photo assignments and creative projects. For more than 16 years, Melissa has been a leading advocate of photography at TNC and has held a variety of positions, most recently as director of photography for Nature Conservancy, TNC's award-winning magazine.
Melissa believes in the power of collaboration and works in close partnership with photographers and editors to create and publish dynamic environmental conservation stories that reveal the connections between global natural resource use, scientific research, and the beauty and wonder of the natural world.
Melissa began her career 25 years ago with a photojournalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She has extensive experience in photo editing for newspapers, newswire services, books, magazines and online projects. Prior to working at TNC, Melissa worked for National Geographic Books, editing 16 books on subjects from natural history to travel, science and culture. http://nature.org