Or Museum-of-Several-Weeks-Ago, as it now is. Before Christmas I went to the Natural History Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. I’ve visited it for the past few years at Bristol Museum, but this year since I’m in London I wanted to see the full show as it was intended to be seen. Which meant I had to pay for it (the touring version in Bristol is free. And on now, go visit it Bristol people!), but with my student card it was pretty cheap. And I’d say well worth £4.50. The images were stunning and, for an amateur photographer like myself, absolutely inspiring. I’m now researching digital SLR cameras so that I can take better photos, and maybe even one day enter Wildlife Photographer myself. Although the competition is stiff, and standards are incredibly high. This year, the first place prize was actually withheld in one of the categories! I thought all of the shots were beautiful, but they were still apparently not good enough for a first place. Which suggests that my unpolished efforts would stand no chance. Oh well, a girl can dream!
My favourite images included a lovely artistic black and white shot of a bird in a tree, a dolphin amongst a stack of false killer whales (because it’s a fantastic ‘spot-the-odd-one-out’ moment, and the first time the behaviour has been photographed), a coyote standing on railway tracks (in fact, I loved all of the urban wildlife shots), and a portrait of pelicans feeding. The overall winner was not a shot I would consider beautiful…it was wonderfully artistic, extremely well-composed, and very poignant, but it wasn’t one of my favourites.
The exhibition is on at the NHM until 11th March 2012, and also at various museums around the UK and the world. If you love wildlife and photography, I would definitely recommend going. And even if you don’t, I’d still recommend going.
Has anyone already been? Which photos were you particularly enamoured of? And what did you think of the winners?