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Photography exhibition exposes where the wild things are

By
Published 16 January 2010

Ants drink from raindrops, pygmy elephants lunch on leaves and yellowhammer birds, mid-flight, fight. The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, now open at the Natural History Museum, shows scenes of nature at its most unimaginable.

Henrik Lund / Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009

Photographers from around the world captured rare moments with both big and small as well as extinct and everyday wildlife. The exhibition, which opened in October and runs until the 11th April 2010, features the winning photos from 18 categories as part of the 2009 competition.

The overall winner of the exhibition was Spain’s Jose Luis Rodrigues. His photo, entitled The Storybook Wolf, is a striking, almost unbelievable image of an Iberian wolf jumping over an ancient, wooden cattle fence at night. Rodrigues told judges he wanted to show the majestic animal in action while reflecting the long-standing battle between wolf and man in northern Spain, but it wasn’t easy.

“The photo I imagined in my head seemed impossible to capture, and I couldn’t help feeling worried. But all my negative thoughts disappeared when I saw the first shots and realised it was possible, and every day I was getting closer to achieving it.”

The Veolia young photographer of the year is U.K.’s own Fergus Gill, who managed to seize a moment between fighting yellowhammer birds last February. Clash of the Yellowhammers features two males battling for oats in mid-air.

Fergus Gill / Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2009

Nearly 43,000 amateur and professional photographers from 94 countries entered the competition, owned by the Natural History Museum and the BBC Wildlife Magazine. The exhibition reflects the variety and photographic excellence judges had to contend with.

Other awards, which range in distinct categories from mammal behaviour to the underwater world, show hares in a spat, salmon escaping a bear’s grip and river dolphins playing polo. Winning photos of the competition, now in its 45th year, needed to have aesthetic appeal, a unique interest value and dramatic action.

The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, featuring large-format reprints, can be viewed with audio guides featuring comments from the awarded photographers and competition judges as well as descriptions of several photographs for visitors with visual impairments.

The exhibition, held at the Natural History Museum in South Kensington, is open from 10 a.m. to 5:50 p.m. Monday to Sunday, with the last admission at 5 p.m. The show runs now through 11 April 2010. For more information about the exhibition, to view competition images, to book tickets and to get directions for the Natural History Museum, visit www.nhm.ac.uk/wildphoto.

The official hardcover portfolio with all the full-page high quality images from this year’s exhibition is available, entitled “Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Portfolio 19“. It is available for sale at Waterstones and Amazon.co.uk.

Article written by Natalie Appleton.


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