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The top awards for the fiftieth Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition were announced this evening at a glittering ceremony held at London’s Natural History Museum.
The winners received their awards from the Museum Patron, The Duchess of Cambridge, Sir David Attenborough, wildlife presenter Liz Bonnin and renowned wildlife photographer Frans Lanting.
American photographer Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 by a panel of international judges for his serene black-and-white image of lions resting with their cubs in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Eight-year-old Carlos Perez Naval was awarded Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 for his image of a scorpion soaking up the Sun near his hometown in Spain.
These two images will be on show at the Museum with other shortlisted images from Friday 24 October until Sunday 30 August 2015.
Nichols’ photograph beat more than 42,000 entries from 96 countries to the grand title award. Following the pride for nearly six months meant they were used to his presence as he photographed them in infra-red, which he explains, ‘transforms the light and turns the moment into something primal, biblical almost’. Nichols set out to create an archetypal image that would express both the essence of lions and how we visualise them, a picture of a time past, before lions were under such threat. Here, the five females of the Vumbi pride – a ‘formidable and spectacularly co-operative team’ – lie at rest with their cubs on a rocky outcrop. Shortly before he took the shot, they had attacked and driven off one of the two pride males. Now they were lying close together, calmly sleeping.
Jim Brandenburg, chair of the judging panel and acclaimed wildlife photographer, said: ‘Nick’s image encapsulated so many elements that demonstrated artistic and technical skill, the sort that takes many years of professional work to hone and craft as he has done’.
Eight-year-old Carlos Perez Naval’s image, Sunbathing At dusk, shows the scorpion flourishing its sting as a warning to the young photographer, who had found it basking on a flat stone in a rocky area near his home in Torralba de los Sisones, northeast Spain. The late afternoon light was casting such a lovely glow over the scene that Carlos decided to experiment with his first ever double exposure to include the Sun.
The exhibition will embark on an international tour across six continents, giving millions of people the chance to see some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife photography.
Enter the next Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition from 5 January 2015 – 26 February 2015. It’s open to all professional, amateur and young photographers. For details see www.wildlifephotographeroftheyear.com.
Dates and times: Friday 24 October to Sunday 30 August 2015, 10.00–17.50 (last admission 17.15) To book tickets: www.nhm.ac.uk/wpy
Prices: Adult £12.60, child and concession £6.30, family £34.45 Adult £14*, child and concession £7*, family £38*
Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000 Nearest tube: South Kensington
* Help the Museum by giving a small donation with your ticket. If you are a UK taxpayer we can then claim Gift Aid on the full value of your ticket, as well as your donation. This means that an extra 25p in each pound you spend will help fund the Museum’s work.
To request images or to arrange interviews with photographers or spokespeople, please contact Laura Horton at the Natural History Museum Press Office. Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 5654 Mobile: +44 (0)7799 690151 Email: email@example.com
• 50 Years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year: How Wildlife Photography Became Art is published by the Natural History Museum, London, in hardback on 18 September 2014, price £35. ISBN: 9780565093518.
• The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition is co-owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide. BBC Worldwide owns BBC Wildlife Magazine, the competition’s magazine partner. BBC Wildlife Magazine helps its readers get closer to nature and to understand, experience and enjoy wildlife through spectacular photography and fascinating features. Find out more at www.discoverwildlife.com.
• Natural History Museum Publishing produces high-quality, fully illustrated non-fiction books about the natural world. To view the entire range of books, visit www.nhm.ac.uk/business-centre/publishing.
• Winner of Best of the Best in the Museums + Heritage Awards 2013, the Natural History Museum welcomes five million visitors a year as well as being a world-leading science research centre. Through its collections and scientific expertise it is helping to understand and maintain the diversity of the planet, with groundbreaking partnerships in more than 70 countries. For more information go to www.nhm.ac.uk.
• 5 January 2015 – Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 opens for entries. Please see www.nhm.ac.uk/wpy for details.
• 26 February 2015 – Wildlife Photographer of the Year closing date for entries.