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New book: 50 years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year images

To celebrate the 50th year of the longest running photography competition of its kind, the Museum has published a landmark book featuring some of the most compelling wildlife photographs of the last half century.

Written and edited by Rosamund Kidman Cox, 50 Years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year: How Wildlife Photography Became Art, charts the development of nature photography, from the first hand-held cameras and the colour film revolution of the 1960s, to the increasingly sophisticated photographs of wild animals and unexplored places that are taken today. On sale now at the Natural History Museum bookshop or online www.nhmshop.co.uk (£35, hardback).

Sir David Attenborough has said of the book and competition:

‘Great pictures of nature have one thing in common – they are unforgettable. They can also be a profound source of beauty, wonder and joy. This is a collection of work from the competition that, over the past half century, has become an international showcase for the very best wildlife photography – images that have the power to affect how we feel about the natural world and therefore how we treat it. It’s a collection that will make you think.’

The stunning image of a solitary dune oryx in the Namibian desert gained the top award for Jim Brandenburg, who braved a war zone to get the shot he wanted in 1988. Braving icy weather was Cherry Alexander from the UK, whose phenomenal shot of Adélie penguins won in 1995, capturing an image said to be ‘the most magnificent of a blue iceberg ever produced’ in the process. Jan Vermeer took this beautiful composition of whooping swans while balancing on ice on Lake Kussharo in Japan in 2007.

Others have conveyed the relentless life and death struggle that drives the natural world. Barrie Wilkins from South Africa was in the right place at the right time in 1993 as this lion was tormenting a defiant porcupine, while fellow South African Richard du Toit captured this dramatic image of two leopards fighting in 1995. Finally Frans Lanting’s 1991 shot of an impala drinking alongside elephants gives us a little more of an idea of the size of these majestic creatures.

The competition was launched in 1965 with just 361 entries and today it has become a truly global event with almost 42,000 entries received from 96 countries in 2014. The one hundred winning images from this year’s competition will be displayed at the Natural History Museum from 24 October 2014 until 30 August 2015, before embarking on an international tour that will allow them to be seen by millions of people across six continents.

Media contact

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: wildpress@nhm.ac.uk

Notes to editors

• 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.

• 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. It is also 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

• 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

Exhibition information

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 £7.00*, family £38*

Visitor enquiries: 020 7942 5000

Nearest tube: South Kensington

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wildlifephotographeroftheyear

Twitter: @NHM_WPY

* 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.