Today in South Kensington, the Natural History Museum announced the winners of the 2023 Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPOTY) contest. Believe it or not, this year’s competition saw nearly 50,000 photos from 95 countries! But there can only be one winner – and this year, for the second time, it’s Laurent Ballesta. His remarkable photo The golden horseshoe shows an ancient crab accompanied by three golden trevallies.
The 59th Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London. This year’s competition attracted a record-breaking 49,957 entries, so the jury had the difficult task of choosing the overall winner and the category winners.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Laurent Ballesta
The golden horseshoe is an otherworldly image of a tri-spine horseshoe crab. This incredible creature has survived for more than 100 million years. But now, it faces habitat destruction and overfishing for food and for its blue blood, used in the development of vaccines. Still, in the protected waters of Pangatalan Island in the Philippines, there is hope for its survival.
Chair of the jury and editor, Kathy Moran commented:
“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.”
Best Young Photographer: Carmel Bechler
Carmel Bechler, a 17-year-old from Israel, was awarded Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023 for his image Owls’ road house. His picture shows owls in an old building with car lights in the background.
Carmel started taking photos when he was 11, and this is his first big win. “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,” the young photographer commented. “We just need to open our eyes and our minds.”
The best photos from the contest will be shown at the Natural History Museum in London starting this Friday, October 13, 2023. Other than the awarded images, the newly redesigned exhibition also features videos. They show the impact wildlife photography can have along with insights from jury members, photographers, and Museum scientists. Their goal is to invite visitors to advocate for the natural world.
After this, the exhibition continues its journey across the UK and internationally to venues in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, New Zealand, Singapore, and more. In addition, there will be online events with planet-positive actions audiences can take.
Another thing to keep in mind and look forward to is the 60th WPOTY contest. It’s next year, folks! You can enter starting October 16, 2023, and there will be some changes like new judges, free entry for folks from over 100 countries, and even a special prize for hopeful nature stories.
The two Grand Title winners were selected from 19 astounding category winners, all of which showcase the rich diversity of life on Earth. Naturally, we can’t leave you without more of the awarded entries. So, please enjoy the selection of the 2023 WPOTY category winners, and make sure to visit the contest website for more.
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