Photography News 07

12

Competitions

LUIS JAVIER SANDOVAL / WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2013

JASPER DOEST / WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2013

INTERVIEW

Wild for 50years Over the past 50 years, Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPOTY) has brought us some of the most iconic, poignant and creatively outstanding images of nature from around the world. Communications officer Rosie Pook tells us more about WPOTY then and now

ABOVE LEFT Essence of Elephants by Greg du Toit, Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013. Greg used a slow shutter speed and filter to get his ghostly shot at a waterhole in Botswana. TOP RIGHT Dive Buddy by Luis Javier Sandoval, Behaviour: Cold-blooded Animals winner. Luis took his shot at Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, a holiday resort, as well as a nesting site for endangered green turtles, who now regard people as part of the environment. ABOVE RIGHT Snow Moment by Jasper Doest, Creative Visions winner. Fascinated by the effect of a cold wind at these Japanese hot springs, Jasper used a polariser and fill-flash to photograph this macaque.

initial appreciation and want to share their story through photography.

because there is enormous biodiversity right on your doorstep, wherever you live in the world.

Interview by Megan Croft

Have you finalised the judging panel for 2014? Yes, we have five judges now all with a range of expertise and experiences. Our chair again this year is Jim Brandenburg who is a legend in wildlife photography. He was a National Geographic photographer for 35 years and is incredibly successful and awarded but also has an amazing vision that really helps drive the competition. Jim wants to see those creative, fresh perspectives which helps push our entrants to achieve the best. With Jim at the helm again, we’re confident that it’s going to be a really good year. We have an initial online judging session in which each of the 43,000 images is seen by at least two of our judges. Our final round of judging sees all our judges brought together in the Natural History Museum and about 10,000 or so images are projected onto a screen for discussion until they have been whittled down to the category winners and then grand title winner. What makes a winning image? Our judges come from all over the world and we draw from a big range of expertise: photo editors, Can you give us an insight into the judging process?

Howmany entries did you receive last year? We received about 43,000 entries from96 countries. It’s grown into a global phenomenon. We are the largest wildlife photography competition in the world and are considered to be the most coveted. Where do you receive the most entries from? We see a lot of entries from the UK as it is a UK owned and run competition, as well as from Europe, North America, South Africa and Australia. Predictably, most of our winners come from these areas too, but interestingly we’ve never had a grand title winner from Australia yet. We are seeing more entries from Korea, Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan and Peru for example which is fantastic because that is where the fresh content and diversity of wildlife is coming from. Lots of wildlife photographers start out as scientists, guides or conservationists. They engage with the world around them and want to start documenting and showing the amazing wildlife they work with in a different light. Last year’s winner Greg du Toit started out as a wildlife guide himself, so lots of people come into wildlife photography from an Is there a typical kind of person who enters WPOTY?

WPOTY has been running for 50 years, tell us about the history of the competition. The competition was founded in 1965 by what is now known as BBC Wildlife magazine, but back then it was simply called Animals . The first competition had about 500 entries in three different categories, but even then it was known as one of the most prestigious wildlife photography competitions in the world. The Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide combined forces in 1984 to take over the running of the competition and it’s really grown from there. In the early years of WPOTY wildlife photography was mostly about documentation because, without the Internet, it was one of the only ways that people were able to see such a variety of wildlife. Then in the ’80s and ’90s, wildlife photography became more of a tool for conservation awareness, which resulted in a lot of images of endangered and rare species. Photography was really used to highlight the plight of wildlife in need. Today, we want to illustrate the diversity on earth, challenge perceptions and inspire people to get more involved in wildlife and wildlife conservation. One of our main aims is to get people to reconnect with the world so we focus a lot on urban wildlife and the immediacy of your surrounding environment

Photography News | Issue 7

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