To celebrate February 11, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) Women in Photography group has launched its first annual Woman Science Photographer of the Year.
Now the first-ever winner has been announced, and it’s Margaret LeJeune’s image titled Wathershed Triptych. There are more category winners, so let’s take a look and learn more about this new competition which will, hopefully, exist for many more years to come.
About Woman Science Photographer of the Year
“Our culture cannot be imagined without science,” writes the contest’s team. “And in our visual world, it’s not enough to just speak about science; we must also show it. For this, we need photographers to capture it and to share it.”
Therefore, the Woman Science Photographer of the Year was made to celebrate the remarkable stories behind scientific exploration and application. It aims to show their impact on our everyday lives and to illustrate how photography helps record and explain global issues and scientific events.
As the name suggests, the competition is open to all female and female-identifying photographers. It’s international, and your age and photographic experience are not important. Student or researcher, amateur or professional photographer, scientist or a person interested in the world; anyone can participate!
Winners of the first Woman Science Photographer of the Year
The winning photo, Wathershed Triptych, is an “artistic representation of one of today’s key environmental issues.” One of the judges explains is as “an endorsement of just how far we can go when combining science and art in a thoughtful and informing way.”
What you’re seeing here is a tryptich made by harnessing the light of bioluminescent dinoﬂagellates to illuminate watershed maps from the United States Geological Survey Hydromap project.
“These organisms, colloquially known as sea sparkle, are also the same marine life that generate red tide algal blooms. Though sometimes naturally occurring, these harmful blooms have been increasing in numbers over the past 30 years as larger and more powerful storms ﬂood factory farms causing excessive nutrients to spill into the waterways from CAFO overﬂows. These maps represent the three largest watersheds in the United States and the outflow areas where algal blooms have been recorded.”
The contest also recognizes the Young Woman Science Photographer of the Year (under the age of 18), and Kelly Zhang’s The Beauty of Soap Bubbles won in this category. She reiterates the importance of the award as “it not only represents an achievement but also serves as an encouragement for other women and girls to pursue their passions and careers in science.”
Nanosatelite by Lina Yeleuova was selected runner-up in the Young Woman Photographer category for her documentation of the UniSat Nano-satellite Educational Programme for Girls (UNEPG), a joint initiative of UNICEF and Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.
The winners and finalists of the first Woman Science Photographer of the Year will be exhibited at RPS House, 337 Paintworks, Amos Vale, Bristol BS4 3AR until 30 March 2023. You can also take a look at them below, as always, and make sure to visit RPS’s website for more information.