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.
- Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE (UK), Chair of the Jury, editor, photo-editor and writer
- Jordi Chias (Spain), underwater photographer
- Dr Natalie Cooper (UK), evolutionary biologist and researcher, Natural History Museum
- Britta Jaschinski (Germany), photojournalist
- David Lindo (UK), naturalist, broadcaster and writer
- Dr Piotr Naskrecki (USA/Mozambique), entomologist, conservation biologist and photographer
- Staffan Widstrand (Sweden), nature photographer and writer
Read the judges' full biographies below.
Chair's foreword: words of advice
What follows is a little encouragement and a few tips from the judging room that even competition aficionados would be wise to read:
It’s been one hell of a year. And for anyone depending on photography and travel for a living, it’s been an especially hard time. But perhaps being forced to stay put, with time to develop ideas and start projects close to home, has provided creative rewards. And perhaps time at home may have resulted in proper reviews of past shoots, from which overlooked gems may have emerged. Could any of those pictures be winners in two important categories, new for this year – ‘Wetlands’ and ‘Oceans’? Both invite images that have something to say, symbolically or literally, whether though broad strokes or specifics, beauty or impact, about the importance and functions of the great variety of freshwater and marine ecosystems and their living components. Read the category description and think wide, about the message as well as the aesthetics.
While there is no specific category now for black and white images, those images can be entered in any category, and skilful use of the genre, playing to its tonal and design strengths, gives them an equal chance of winning against colour. That is especially true when it comes to the new category ‘Natural Artistry (replacing Creative Visions)’. In one sense, it provides a home to those original images that don’t quite fit the criteria of any other category. But a key requirement is that an image is ‘true to nature’ – with the creativity coming from how you see the beauty of a subject or scene but revealing what is already there rather than trying to improve on it with excess technique.
One challenging but important category remains the Photojournalist Story. To work as a story, an entry must have a narrative thread, told with equally memorable pictures, each documenting a different element. So an action-sequence burst, for example, of an animal hunting, isn’t a story. In the case of either of the portfolio awards, an entry comprises pictures of related or unrelated subjects, each with standalone quality and interest. If you are entering the Rising Star Award – rewarding a young person (18–26) showing the greatest promise – your portfolio must show a range of skills. So it should display variety. But, as with all portfolios, you should still think of all the images looking good together as a collection.
This is a competition open to everyone, at whatever level, and young entrants are a vital element. So if you know any talented youngsters (17 or under), encourage them to enter their age category, and perhaps help them do so.
Most important, don’t put off entering until the last moment; the closing time is final, irrespective of internet problems. And read the rules carefully. Every year, pictures are rejected – potential grand-title winners included – as a result of the rules being overlooked. Often the mistake is excess processing (usually unnecessary) or removal of backscatter (adjustments made for publication and then forgotten about), revealed when the RAW files are checked. Last year, another common mistake was entering an image that had already been successful in another competition – distressing for the judges if the discovery occurs after an image has risen to the top.
Finally, an esteemed and expert international jury awaits sight of your work. So start selecting your entry now, and don’t miss that December deadline.
Roz Kidman Cox, Chair of the Jury
David is The Urban Birder - broadcaster, writer, speaker, educator and bird tour leader. His mission is to engage city folk around the world with the environment through the medium of birds.
He has written countless articles on urban birds, urban conservation and wildlife in general for many websites, publications and magazines, and has written the forewords to several books. He is a regular television and radio presenter and has been featured on the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 in the UK, as well as television and radio channels around the world including CBS in the US.
David was recently named the seventh most influential person in wildlife by BBC Wildlife Magazine and in 2020 was shortlisted for the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) Columnist of the Year Award.
He is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Writers and a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers. He is the founder of the Tower 42 Bird Study Group and 2015's Britain's Vote National Bird Campaign, which resulted in over 226,000 votes.
David is the author of The Urban Birder, Tales From Concrete Jungles, #Urban Birding and How To Be An Urban Birder.
He is also Vice President of Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust; President of Friends of Suntrap Forest Centre; Honorary Presidentof the Colombia Bird Fair; World Ambassador for Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society; Urban Ambassador for CJ Wildlife; Digital Ambassador for Naturehood (Earthwatch Europe); Ambassador for Leica Optics, London Wildlife Trust, Rare Bird Alert & Flight of the Osprey/Conservation Without Borders; and Patron of Birding For All & Lundy Island.
Piotr is an entomologist, conservation biologist, author and photographer based at the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University, USA. He also directs the E O Wilson Biodiversity Laboratory at Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, where he trains a new cadre of Mozambican biologists and conservationists and helps rebuild the park, which suffered during the recent civil war in that country. He is actively involved in the work of the IUCN Red List and serves as the first Chair of the Half-Earth Project of the E O Wilson Foundation, leading the Half-Earth Scholars initiative in Mozambique. In addition to conservation and education work in Mozambique, he has an active research programme in systematics and behaviour of insects, including a comparative study of acoustic and other behavioural responses of katydids to bat echolocation in the Old World (Mozambique) and the New World (Costa Rica).
Piotr's work focuses on projects that include invertebrate animals in conservation practices and he strives to promote understanding, appreciation, and conservation of 'non-charismatic' animals. In his photography he tries to capture both their beauty and roles as vital, often critically important members of the planet's ecosystems. He is one of the founding members of the International League of Conservation Photographers and his photographs and nature writing have been published in a number of national and international publications, including Smithsonian Magazine, Natural History, National Wildlife, National Geographic, BBC Wildlife Magazine, BBC Knowledge, Terre Sauvage, Time, Ranger Rick. His books illustrate a multitude of threats faced by invertebrate animals and other organisms (The Smaller Majority, A Window on Eternity), explore ancient organisms and ecosystems of the globe (Relics), and his most recent title - Hidden Kingdom - showcases the diverse insect fauna of Costa Rica.
Multiply-award-winning professional nature photographer based in Sweden. All his work is about highlighting the attractiveness of our natural heritage, and inspiring wide audiences to better protect and take care of it.
He has initiated several long-term nature conservation communication and media projects (Wild Wonders of Europe, Wild Wonders of China, Rewilding Europe, the Swedish Ecotourism Association, Scandinavian Big Five project).
Partner in the nature photo travel agency “Wild Nature Photo Adventures”. A National Geographic Explorer and a Sony Imaging Ambassador. Author of 18 books in 9 languages.
A frequent judge in leading international photo competitions, including “World Press Photo”, “Wildlife Photographer of the Year”, “Golden Turtle” (Russia), “European Nature Photographer of the Year-GDT” (Germany), “Xishuangbanna Biennal” (China) and “Humanity Photo Awards” (China).
Staffan has been called one of the world's “Most influential nature photographers” by Outdoor Photography magazine. He is the Managing Director and co-owner of Wild Wonders International.