Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year to Open at Tring

Living Magazines: Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Owls' Road House by Carmel Bechler

Highlights from the world’s most prestigious nature photography exhibition will open at the Natural History Museum at Tring on 11 November 2023.

The annual exhibition returns to Tring running until 28 April 2024. Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year features 19 captivating images, depicting the rich diversity of life on earth.

Interpretation and Exhibitions Manager, Natural History Museum at Tring, Claire Walsh said: ‘We are delighted to bring photographs from this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition to our newly refurbished gallery at Tring.

‘Following the success of last year’s exhibition, we will showcase the outstanding young talent from the competition, as well as the two Grand Title winners. We hope these fascinating images continue to captivate imaginations, particularly those of our young visitors, and drive audiences to embrace the nature around them and share images of their own.’

The selection displayed on light boxes includes all photos awarded in the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023 competition, the Rising Star portfolio, and this year’s two Grand Title winners. It will also include short films telling the inspiring backstories of the two Grand Title images.

The winning images were selected from 49,957 entries from 95 countries by an independent panel of experts. In an intensive process, each entry was judged anonymously on its originality, narrative, technical excellence, and ethical practice.

Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023

Seventeen-year-old Carmel Bechler from Israel was awarded Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023 for his ‘Owls’ road house’, a dynamic frame of barn owls in an abandoned roadside building. Using the family car as hide, Carmel made the most of natural light and long exposure times to capture the light trails of passing traffic. 

Carmel was just 11 years old when he began wildlife photography, and this is his first award in the annual competition. ‘I hope to share with my photography that the beauty of the natural world is all around us, even in places where we least expect it to be, we just need to open our eyes and our minds,’ says Carmel.

‘This photograph has so many layers in terms of content and composition. It simultaneously screams ‘habitat destruction’ and ‘adaptation’, begging the question: If wildlife can adapt to our environment, why can’t we respect theirs?,’ says Chair of the jury and editor, Kathy Moran

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023 The golden horseshoe by Laurent BallestaFrench underwater photographer and marine biologist Laurent Ballesta was awarded Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023 for ‘The golden horseshoe’, an otherworldly image of a tri-spine horseshoe crab accompanied by a trio of golden trevallies. 

The tri-spine horseshoe crab has survived for more than 100 million years but now faces habitat destruction and overfishing for food and for its blue blood, used in the development of vaccines. But, in the protected waters of Pangatalan Island in the Philippines, there is hope for its survival.

Kathy Moran says, ‘To see a horseshoe crab so vibrantly alive in its natural habitat, in such a hauntingly beautiful way, was astonishing. We are looking at an ancient species, highly endangered, and also critical to human health. This photo is luminescent.’

Laurent is only the second photographer in the competition’s fifty-nine-year history to be awarded the Grand Title award twice. He was first awarded Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2021 for his intriguing image of camouflage groupers exiting a milky cloud of eggs and sperm in Fakarava, French Polynesia.

Catalyst for change

The flagship exhibition at the Natural History Museum, London also features videos showing the impact wildlife photography can have, and insights from jury members, photographers and Museum scientists to invite visitors to advocate for the natural world. The journey continues online with planet-positive actions audiences can take.

Dr Doug Gurr, Director of the Natural History Museum comments, ‘Whilst inspiring absolute awe and wonder, this year’s winning images present compelling evidence of our impact on nature – both positive and negative. Global promises must shift to action to turn the tide on nature’s decline.’

The sixtieth Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is open for entries from photographers of all ages, nationalities, and experience levels until 11.30am GMT on Thursday 7 December 2023. Ahead of the momentous anniversary, Wildlife Photographer of the Year has announced the international jury of industry experts, an entry fee waiver for over 100 countries, changes to the competition’s rules, and a new prize to further encourage hopeful stories of the natural world.

The exhibition runs at The Natural History Museum at Tring, The Walter Rothschild Building, Akeman Street, Tring, Hertfordshire HP23 6AP from 11 November 2023 - 28 April 2023. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am-5pm. Closed over Christmas from 24-26 December 2023, open New Year’s Day, 1 January 2024.

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