This year, Brighton Museum played host to the Wildlife Photographer of the year competition as it enters its 50th year.
Usually held at London’s National History Museum, this world renowned event is recognised for its outstanding and illustrious collection of photography. Ranging from a scorpion in the sunset to a rooftop full of shark fins, the brilliance of capturing the world around us is incorporated into every photo on display.
I must confess I am rarely present in museums, particularly where art is concerned. But it didn’t take very long for me to become engrossed in the beauty of such stunning photography, becoming particularly hung up on the idea that there is a story behind every picture.
Take Paul Hilton’s ‘Sea of death’ for example, a wonderfully peculiar image that depicts over 30,000 freshly sliced shark fins drying on a rooftop in Honk Kong. As well as being visually impressive, this image allowed Hilton to expose the new location of shark fin traders, after public outcry forced them to move their commerce out of sight. This photo epitomises what this competition is all about: perfectly blending spectacular photography with raising awareness of the horrors that our wildlife now faces.
But there was one shot that completely stole the show; the work of Carlos Perez Naval. At just eight years old, this abundantly talented Spanish youngster had already won awards across Europe prior to entering his “Stinger in the Sun” in this year’s contest. How Naval has managed to illustrate such breath-taking nature at such a young age is beyond me, and his work prompted due praise from judge Christian Zeigler, branding the photo “a delightfully mysterious image of an unusual creature.”
I can only describe this event as a resounding success, in the sense that I left Brighton museum with a newfound appreciation for wildlife photography. Who knows, I may even whip out my old Nikon and try and capture an entry for next year’s renewal.