You may have seen our article on the winners of the main competition, which were entirely decided by a judging panel, but now, in its 53rd year, for the first time ever members of the public are able to have their say on the competition’s best submissions.
From a shortlist of 25 images, pre-selected from over 45,000 entries, voters can choose their overall favourite. With voting open until 5 February 2019, there’s plenty of time to browse the selection, but only one vote is allowed per person.
The winning image will be exhibited at the museum in London from February to June 2019, alongside the top picks from the main competition. What’s more, the top five voted photographers will be displayed on the official Wildlife Photographer of The Year website.
The award comes alongside a rise in the profile of wildlife photography, having become increasingly more accessible and important amid concerns about climate change, deforestation and illegal wildlife trade. The hope for the organisers is that by having the public engage with the award in such a direct way it will help to inspire creativity, evoke yet more compassion towards animals and further support wildlife photographers as they continue in their pursuit of truth and beauty.
The 25 contending shots for the LUMIX People’s Choice Award are full of impact and originality, subtle tones and strong textures. Likewise, the photographers contending for the award are as diverse and distinctive as their submissions themselves. Most images reflect the personal backgrounds of the creators behind them, who range from Spanish deep-sea divers and Norwegian Arctic explorers to advocates of British wildlife and African conservationists.
Some of the entrants also departed from their usual signature styles, such as Anna Henly who trialed a highly artistic approach with contrasting patterns and monochrome. Others, such as Antonio Leiva Sanchez and Franco Banfi, made use of techniques such as high-speed and long-exposure photography to capture movement and light in futuristic ways.
Many of the shots are designed to evoke particular messages. The images of Federico Veronesi and Phil Jones, for example, provide a dynamic look at the struggles within the animal kingdom, whereas Suzi Eszterhas and Justin Hofman comment on how human interference can either help or hinder our wildlife respectively.
Colourful, underwater macro-photography features in the intriguing photos of Pedro Carrillo and David Barrio; whereas Christian Vizl and Rob Blanken fly the flag for elegantly sharp and simple portraiture.
A running theme across a large proportion of the entries is the portrayal of group or family dynamics between animals, with Bence Mate, David Lloyd, Konstantin Shatenev and Tin Man Lee among others conveying ideas of playfulness, love and teamwork. However, if you prefer more intimate work which depicts a personal story of endurance or emotion, you may wish to vote for the likes of Audren Morel or Cristobal Serrano.
Whatever the outcome of this award, one thing’s for sure – all 25 images demonstrate the adventurous nature of a wildlife photographer, by showcasing the daring practises employed to get shots which genuinely need to be seen to be believed. Whether it be using aerial or underwater photography, hiding out in the wilderness or facing dangerous subjects head-on, these contenders manage to achieve angles, lighting and perspectives which provide new and revealing insights into our wild world.
To cast your vote, visit www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/wpy/community/peoples-choice/2018/index.html.
Fancy a shot at the title? Enter next year’s competition now at www.wpy-entry.com.
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