OUT AND ABOUT: Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Laura Reynolds gets wild at the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum.

As I stepped off the tube and checked my map, I realised that I was actually a little nervous. I was on my way to the Veolia Environnement (not a spelling mistake!) Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London.   I had never been to anything like this before, had never frequented art galleries or photography exhibitions, and was suddenly painfully aware that I knew none of the etiquette of such situations. Would it be full of bespectacled scholarly types discussing the intricate ins and outs of the lighting and camera angle of every print, able to spot my amateur status a mile off? Fortunately not, and I breathed a sigh of relief as I joined the queue of families outside.

Once inside, I was overwhelmed with the quality and talent of the photographs on display. Coming from all over the world, and with photographers as young as ten displaying their work, it made a refreshing change from the usual ‘wildlife’ photos of kittens and puppies that we see everyday. The competition features categories such as ‘Animals in their Environment’, ‘Urban Wildlife’ and ‘Young Photographer of the Year’, in addition to the “Wildlife photojournalist of the year” which consists of a series of photos used to tell a story.  Particularly refreshing is the fact that anyone can enter their work into the competition, although judging by the standard of work on display, a particular talent or skill is required in order to be shortlisted.

Particularly original, although not for the faint-hearted,  was A Carcass Eye-View by Jürgen Ross, portraying a feasting lion through the eyes of its’ prey. Studying this photo and considering the situation of the photographer, I began to realise the pains people go through to capture these images.

My overall favourite was Storm Gathering by Antonio Busiello, as I love the balance between the calm nature of the giraffes and the impending rage of the storm above, an although I am not usually a fan of black and white photography, I think it works particularly well in this instance. Other notable pieces include: Swamp Heaven by Mac Stone. The Drop by Andrew Parkinson (again, not for the squeamish)  and The Moment by Bridgena Barnard.

I left the exhibition armed with postcards and prints purchased from the gift shop, and, feeling inspired by the stunning images, I have since bought myself a new digital camera!

This annual exhibition is nearly at the end of its run now, finishing on March 11th. However, I would definitely recommend future exhibitions for anyone with even the remotest interest in wildlife or photography, or anyone who just fancies a good afternoon out in London!

Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London; ending 11 March. The exhibition is open between 10am-5.50pm each. Tickets vary in prices. For more info and to book tickets, visit the Natural History Museum website.

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