Follow the much loved exhibition on its international tour where the images are seen by families, wildlife enthusiasts and decision-makers across the world.
Featured in museums, art galleries, festivals and international conferences, Wildlife Photographer of the Year encourages its visitors to consider their responsibility to protect our planet's breathtaking biodiversity.
Where to catch Wildlife Photographer of the Year this summer
In Europe, take a trip to the Italian mountains of the Aosta Valley to reach the exhibition at Forte di Bard. Or, if you head down to the river Rhine, the exhibition will be on display for a couple more weeks in August at the Westphalian Horse Museum Munster, Germany. Furter north, enjoy the fresh and salty air from the Baltic Sea with a walk to the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.
Please check individual venues' websites for exhibition dates and potential temporary closures due to COVID-19.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 56 tours to Tel Aviv
Since Tuesday 23 March, the Eretz Israel Museum (Muza) in Tel Aviv, Israel, has been welcoming visitors back with fifty-sixth edition of Wildlife Photographer of the Year's dramatic and challenging images.
Dana Wohlfeiler Lalkin, Exhibition Manager at Muza, says, 'This coming exhibition is the first to open since COVID-19 entered our lives. This is a great exhibition to start with for the spring and the upcoming holidays as it suits both families and nature lovers.
'We hope we will be able to host a vast audience that can enjoy the exhibition and the museum's activities around it.'
Over the last year, the impacts of COVID-19 saw many of our partner venues close their doors, just as our Museum did in London. Between on-off closures and phases of reopening as countries relaxed or tightened their policies, our touring partners have shown great initiatives to adapt to the rules imposed on indoor public spaces.
At a time when social distancing and one-way systems have become part of our daily lives, Hampshire Cultural Trust (UK) came up with some lovely signage for their display of Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Winchester Discovery Centre, using a bear paw as a floor guide (see image).
Meanwhile, the Natural History Museum of Denmark employed more visitor assistants to guide the audience around the exhibition and manage the flow of people in the galleries. Across the Atlantic, the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada would have usually offered a French version of the exhibition texts as reusable printed guides - instead they created a secure online version accessible from the exhibition via a QR code, so visitors can avoid handling the guides.
Another way to stop the spread of the virus has been to reduce visitor capacity, with variable maximums as low as 20%. Nevertheless, we have been pleased to see some very good visitation figures at loyal partner venues who confirmed their numbers were consistent with previous years when applying the max capacity ratio.
Photo contests in the wake of Wildlife Photographer of the Year
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year touring exhibition is not just a great opportunity for hosting venues to present some of the best nature photography in the world. It is also a platform from which museums and galleries can inspire their audiences to become advocates for the natural world, develop an interest in wildlife and its conservation and grow a passion for photography as an art form.
Across the last few years, venues have also organised their own local photography contests to build on the excitement created by the presentation of the exhibition and engage their visitors with nature and photography on a deeper level.
In celebration of the fifty-third Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in the USA hosted a photography competition open to all Los Angeles students. Their aim was to promote sustainability and inspire children to connect with the natural world around them, including their own backyards and gardens.
Similarly, the Royal Ontario Museum regularly organised a wildlife photography contest to coincide with the annual launch of Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The competition is only open to Ontario-based amateur and professional photographers, and all adult and young participants are invited to share their images of the natural world for a chance to win prizes and have their photographs on display at the museum.
When partner venues organise these competitions, we always review their rules and guidelines to make sure they reflect the values of honest and ethical wildlife photography championed by Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 56 lands in New Zealand
The fifty-sixth annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition opened on 27 November 2020 at Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand. What's more, 2020 marks 150 years since the iconic grey basalt building, designed by B W Mountfort, first opened its doors to the public.
Canterbury Museum hosted Wildlife Photographer of the Year for the first time in 2018. The exhibition was a hit with both locals and overseas visitors, and the museum welcomed a record 802,595 people that calendar year.
Director Anthony Wright says Canterbury Museum is delighted to be one of the first venues to host Wildlife Photographer of the Year 56: 'The images were a big hit with the Canterbury public when we hosted the exhibition in 2018 and I'm sure this year's photos will attract just as much interest.'
He also spoke about the important role that the exhibition plays in creating advocates for the planet, saying, 'The exhibition is a testament to the natural world's endless ability to surprise and delight, but it also contains some sobering messages around conservation that are sure to spark discussion.'
The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University opened its new William B Dietrich Gallery to show the fifty-fifth of Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in September 2020.
As this marks our first exhibition partner in Philadelphia, USA, we were delighted to hear from Jason Farris, Manager of Exhibit Projects at the Academy, that Wildlife Photographer of the Year 'has been a wonderful first exhibit in the new gallery'.
One visitor to the exhibition at the Academy said, 'I came only for the special nature photography exhibit. It was phenomenal and transported me for 90 minutes from these anxiety-ridden times!'
Carolyn Belardo, Director of Public Relations at the Academy, said, 'Our visitors are entranced by the compelling photographs that take them to remote places as well as popular hangouts to see nature in action. Some have told us they are inspired by what they see - they want to do more to protect nature and the environment.'
Originally scheduled to open in March, the exhibition successfully opened on 5 September. It opened to visitors three days a week and at limited capacity. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the exhibition at the Academy has closed due to a shutdown in the city of Philadelphia until January 2021.
Every year, the stories behind the images of Wildlife Photographer of the Year are told through detailed captions which combine scientific analysis and first-hand accounts from photographers. Displayed alongside each award-winning photograph, the text is originally produced in English by the Interpretation team at the Museum in London. As the touring exhibition travels around the globe, many versions in many different languages come to life thanks to talented experts and translators around the world.
From photograph titles to precise explanations, translators have the important task of conveying essential information while ensuring that local visitors can relate. According to Lucie Chevalier, who translated the exhibition into French for the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada, the most interesting challenge is 'finding equivalent titles that express the witticism of the original title and/or carry the same message but are geared to a Francophone public'.
Interestingly, many translators working on Wildlife Photographer of the Year have scientific knowledge themselves. For example, Ina Fischer Andersen, who provided the Danish translation for the Natural History Museum of Denmark, said, 'As a biologist, I am interested in mammalian behaviour. This category fascinates me the most.' Ina also added that while translating the texts she gained considerable knowledge about how humans treat wildlife: 'It's tough to know, but when you communicate knowledge, you create opportunities for people to act and change the situation for the better.'
Over the last decade, the exhibition has been translated into nearly 20 languages, including Italian, Spanish, French, Greek, Russian and Mandarin. Wildlife Photographer of the Year travels each year to multiple countries over four continents and is seen by over two million people across the world.
The WPY 56 tour opens in Birmingham
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is an annual highlight of the Natural History Museum's touring exhibition portfolio. New displays open around the world and this year is no exception. New partners, both within the UK and further afield, are preparing to host the exhibition on its global tour visiting 20 venues in 10 countries.
The very first venue to open this year after the London launch is Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
Birmingham last played host to Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2010, and the Touring Exhibitions team is pleased to work with another branch of Birmingham Museums Trust who will welcome the fifty-sixth edition of Wildlife Photographer of the Year to the spectacular Gas Hall.
Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery will open Wildlife Photographer of the Year on 17 October 2020.
Gum Kenth, Museum Manager at Birmingham Museums Trust said, 'We're honoured to be displaying the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery this year. It's a world-renowned spectacle that showcases the beauty and fragility of the natural world and we're so pleased to be able to bring it to Birmingham.
'This year in particular many of us have connected with the environment like never before, exploring the nature on our doorstep on a deeper level, and we know these remarkable images and the stories behind them will fascinate everyone who visits.
'The exhibition is part of our reopening plans and it's going to be one of the highlights for visitors over the months ahead!'
2020 World Economic Forum
Cruz Erdmann, Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019, took part in the World Economic Forum's 2020 Annual Meeting. He was joined by world-renowned marine biologist Dr Sylvia Earle in a panel discussion on underwater photography and ocean conservation.
For the second year in a row, images from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition were presented at the Forum as a large-scale projection installation. We were proud to showcase a selection of breathtaking images at a time when international dialogue and debate about the challenges facing the natural world has never been more pressing.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year, a celebration
In 2020, the Geneva Natural History Museum (Muséum d'histoire naturelle de Genève) turns 200 and is celebrating with a display of the award-winning images from the fifty-fith annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
When it first opened to the public in 1820, the Geneva Natural History Museum displayed objects and specimens from the cabinets of curiosities owned by local researchers. Two centuries later, it is the country's largest natural history museum, with an important collection and a team of passionate scientists devoted to researching the natural world. Like the Museum in London, which will soon turn 150, the celebration of wildlife and its breath-taking diversity are at the heart of its mission.
Showed for the first time at the Geneva Natural History Museum, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition aligned perfectly with the Swiss institution's annual programme of celebratory exhibitions and events, sharing remarkable stories about our planet and inspiring greater understanding of the challenges we are all facing. The exhibition is on display in Geneva until June 2021 and will conclude the international tour of the images from the fifty-fith annual competition.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year at Forte di Bard
Forte di Bard is one of the most fascinating venues to regularly host Wildlife Photographer of the Year. It is a majestic nineteenth century fortress nestled within the Alpes in north-western Italy's Aosta Valley. The fortress, surrounded by the magnificent but fragile Alpine ecosystem, is a fitting location for the exhibition, which celebrates the wonders of the natural world while promoting the protection of the environment. Every year, over 25,000 people on average come to experience Wildlife Photographer of the Year here.
'The link between Forte di Bard and Wildlife Photographer of the Year was established over 10 years ago' says Maria Cristina Ronc, the Director of the venue. 'It has developed into a truly special relationship over time. The exhibition has now become an unmissable event for all nature photography lovers in Italy.'
For many, Wildlife Photographer of the Year is also a chance to learn about photography and discover the nature around the venue. Forte di Bard regularly organises events to complement the exhibition, including seminars with some of the winners of the competition, photography courses with industry professionals and special guided tours. Thanks to these initiatives, photography becomes an engine for cultural development in the region and an opportunity to nurture the knowledge and passion of nature enthusiasts.
2019 World Economic Forum
Skye Meaker, Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018, gave a presentation at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland on his photographic journey. He was joined by legendary primatologist Jane Goodall and together they shared images and tales of their close encounters with majestic creatures.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2018 competition images were displayed as a large-scale projection mapping installation in the central atrium. This was a unique opportunity for these images to engage with global decision-makers during the four-day programme heavily focused around the state of the planet, conservation and environmental sustainability.
10 Downing Street, October 2019
Winning images from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 exhibition were displayed at a special preview event at Number 10 Downing Street. Hosted by Zac Goldsmith MP, the Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and at the Department for International Development, the event's attendees included the winning photographers, directors of several museums, scientists and schoolchildren. Museum scientists exhibited specimens of endangered species which related to the themes of the photographs in the state rooms. Treasures from the Museum's scientifically valuable collection, such as Charles Darwin's pet octopus, were also on display.