Photography News 07

Competitions

13

SERGEY GORSHKOV / WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2013

ISAK PRETORIUS / WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2013

structure in order to better represent the diversity of life on earth. We’ve reorganised categories in terms of taxonomical organisation, so we’ve got a mammal category, a bird category, an invertebrate category and so on. We’ve done that in order to draw a diverse range of entries that we can curate to represent life on earth. We’ve also introducednewcategories to represent new technology, so for 2014 we have a category for time-lapse photography. Time-lapse allows us to see natural behaviour and movement that is otherwise hidden, so it opens up the competition to a different dimension. It’s also important for us to recognise technological developments in photography and film, and to represent this in the competition. Time- lapse has been around for a while, but it’s now becoming more accessible and popular amongst wildlife and landscape photographers. We’re really hoping that it will drive some really interesting and different content for us because it will be the first time we’ve had moving images in the competition. Greg’s image was quite interesting because it focuses on African mammals, a subject that some people have stopped photographing as much because they think it has been overdone. So Greg’s shot proves that trends always come back around. People are now increasingly going to different habitats such as the Russian Far East to photograph wildlife as they believe it hasn’t been seen as much. What we would like to see more of is people documenting their immediate environment. Your back garden could be a huge farm in South Africa or it could consist of just a little garden pond – whatever it is, we want to see it! Where does the exhibition tour? We have two different versions of the tour, one is the light-panel exhibition that shows at the Natural History Museum as well as in Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore. We have another set of printed images that tours around the UK and the world. Do you have any predictions for imaging trends that will crop up in 2014’s entries?

wildlife photographers, underwater photographers and a range of industry and technology experts. The judges are looking more into how the image was taken, why the image was taken and what the story is behind the image rather than being wowed by anything extreme. An exciting entry is an image that makes you think, that provokes a response or challenges or moves you in some way. They’re looking for a demonstration of technical skill but also vision and creativity. Creativity really underpins the whole competition. If an image is taken in a creative way, for one judge that could completely overturn the technical element. That’s why we can see images now that may not be technically perfect but can stop you in your tracks. For lots of photographers when they win they say that the most important thing for them is getting their message out to so many people. Our competition message reaches about 800 million people and for Greg winning meant being able to get his message out about the importance and vitality of elephants that was so key for him, and it’s had a huge impact on his career. Are there any names to look out for? Photographers from our Eric Hosking portfolio, our young award for photographers aged 18 to 26, have gone onto great things. Bence Máté and Vincent Munier both won the category a few times and have gone on to be incredibly successful, Connor Stefanison won that award this year and I’m sure will go on to do really well, so photographers in that category are really the ones to watch. Greg has entered before and now he’s made that jump to become one of the world’s best wildlife photographers; if you’d asked me a couple of years ago Greg would have been on that list. WPOTY is redefining the categories for 2014; why and how? For the 50th year, we’ve changed the category Why do you think that photographers want to win WPOTY in particular?

An exciting entry is an image that makes you think, that provokes a response or challenges or moves you in someway winner. When the Plosky Tolbachik volcano erupted for the first time in 36 years, Sergey took his Nikon D4 and lenses up in a helicopter. ABOVE LEFT Sticky Situation by Isak Pretorious, Behaviour: Birds. When the seafaring lesser noddies head for land to breed, the red- legged golden orb-web spiders’s silken webs get in the way, holding them fast. ABOVE RIGHT The Water Bear by Paul Souders. Animals in Their Environment winner. Paul scouted for three days before he spotted this young female bear. TOP LEFT The Cauldron by Sergey Gorshkov, Wildscapes

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is a really special and unique competition because they themselves take it so seriously. For me, I think it’s just an incredible conservation tool because the way the exhibit is displayed you are just touched by our planet’s beauty. It’s a great education tool too because of the strong focus on endangered animals and how we are impacting our environment. I was over the moon when I found out I had won. It came at a very good time for me in terms of my career because just the week before I had launched my coffee-table book AWE, African Wildlife Exposed . In the last five years I had two photographs highly commended so it wasn’t the case for me that I just got lucky, it was something I’d worked really hard for. I’m just so passionate about wildlife and photography so for me it’s a joy and a privilege to even be able to enter. The one piece of advice I always give is to photograph whatever you’re passionate about and do it passionately. If you photograph what you’re passionate about then you’ll be able to capture photos that are special, unique and interesting and that will stand out. AwordfromGregdu Toit, lastyear’swinner... Is there anything special planned to celebrate WPOTY’s half-centenary year? We will definitely be having lots of celebrations around the 50th competition. We’re looking into a series of additional activities and live events, but that’s all I can say at the moment.

π To find out more, go to www.nhm.ac.uk.

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