The National History Museum has announced their winners for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest. For 2017, the grand winner was a photojournalist named Brent Stirton for his portrayal of the horrors of rhino poaching.
His photo was taken in South Africa where he captured a photo of a rhinoceros who had had its horn removed by poachers. Stirton usually shoots for National Geographic and his photos have been featured in the publication numerous times.
National Geographic reported that competition judge Roz Kidman Cox spoke in a press release of Stirton’s work. “To make such a tragic scene almost majestic in its sculptural power deserves the highest award. There is a rawness, but there is also great poignancy and therefore dignity in the fallen giant. It’s also symbolic of one of the most wasteful, cruel and unnecessary environmental crimes, one that needs to provoke the greatest public outcry.”
“It’s the common human elements that we all instantly identify with, that makes a great photo what it is,” Stirton has said of his work and what inspires him to take photos.
Daniël Nelson has been named the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his portrait of a gorilla in their habitat and he hopes to capture the seriousness of their endangerment.
Of the photo, Lewis Blackwell, chair of the jury said, “This is a lovely moment, combining careful and protracted observation of an animal in its habitat with an eye for compelling composition. Our eyes move through the image, from the face to the hand on the breadfruit and back again.”
“The photo takes us right into the life of the young gorilla called Caco and makes us curious to understand his day. Images this good can help inspire and educate, and may perhaps help save this critically endangered species,” he continued.
The contest is designed not only to praise those who have taken stunning photos but the title is also awarded to those who capture photos that encourage viewers to think more about their planet and the world around them.
There are several other categories people can submit their pictures to, which includes animal portraits, animals in their environments, and animal behavior.
This year’s winner of animals in their environment is Marcio Cabral for his portrait of the glowing termite mounds. He has been visiting the same park for years trying to capture the right moment.
The National History Museum also offers awards to youth, which includes a category for 10 and under.