Australian photographers dazzle at Wildlife Photographer of Year

The museum

Australian photographers feature prominently amongst Winners and Highly Commended finalists in a showcase of the world’s best wildlife photography at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Seven Australians number amongst the world’s best in the prestigious exhibition, represented in categories including Photojournalism, Plants and Fungi, Animal Behaviour and Natural Artistry. Over 100 images are on display, showcasing the world’s best wildlife photography, capturing rare insight into the fragility and wonder of the natural world.

Winner of Plants and Fungi category, Justin Gilligan, brings a seaweed forest to the surface, with his image of a marine ranger in a tropical reef off Lord Howe Island, where he is based. He said that the recognition helped to inspire people’s awareness of the natural world and bring the focus to critical issues of conservation.

‘It’s humbling to be recognised in this prestigious competition and exhibition. I’m excited to be among the winners, particularly because my image celebrates a thriving marine ecosystem. Seaweed forests support hundreds of species while capturing carbon and producing oxygen for our planet. But, just as warming water threatens our coral reef systems, it is also threatening our fragile seaweed forests.

‘Being recognised in this competition provides an important platform to inspire and educate thousands of people around the world about critical conservation issues. Everyone will get something out of attending this exhibition.’

Two Highly Commended images from Melbourne-based conservation and wildlife photojournalist Doug Gimsey highlight the impact of extreme heat on local bat colonies, encountered close to his home. ‘My Grey-headed Flying-fox images were all taken within 25km of Melbourne’s CBD; most people don’t have to go far from home to see some incredible wildlife if they know where to look and take the time.

‘Competitions and exhibitions like Wildlife Photographer of the Year are so important, as they help shine a spotlight on critical issues that otherwise may go unnoticed by many people – such as the impact of climate change driven heat stress events have on our gorgeous and vital flying-foxes. My hope is that the images I take and the information I share will inspire people to stop, think, and treat the world with greater kindness.’

Judges of the 57th Wildlife Photographer of the Year fielded a record-breaking number of entries, with over 50,000 submissions from professional and amateur photographers in 95 countries. Each entry is anonymously assessed by an international panel of industry experts, applying complex criteria – including creativity, originality, and technical excellence.

The world-renowned exhibition, on loan from the Natural History Museum in London, opened at the Australian National Maritime Museum on April 8 and will run until March 2023.

Winning and Highly Commended Australian photographers

Buddhilini de Soyza, Highly Commended, Behaviour: Mammals

Juergen Freund, Highly Commended, Plants and Fungi

Douglas Gimesy, Highly Commended, Photojournalism

Justin Gilligan, Winner, Plants and Fungi

Adam Oswell, Winner, Photojournalism

Highly Commended, Natural Artistry

Caitlin Henderson, Highly Commended, Behaviour: Invertebrates

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