An arctic walrus in focus for this entry into the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition (photo by Valter Bernadeschi).
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Wildlife Photographer of the Year, the Field Museum’s latest exhibition, opens this spring. Traveling from the Natural History Museum, London, and based upon a competition that has been running since 1965, this prestigious photography contest is the longest-standing nature photography competition in the world. Featuring the 100 most recent winners—picked from 45,000 submissions from 95 countries—the stunning images celebrate fascinating animal behavior, spectacular species and the breathtaking diversity of the natural world.
“Exploring, admiring, and ultimately protecting the richness of life on Earth is central to our mission here at the Field Museum,” says Jaap Hoogstraten, director of Exhibitions. “We hope to bring people closer to the stories behind each photograph, to deepen the public’s appreciation for how incredible, fragile, and amazing wildlife on our planet really is.”
In addition to viewing the astonishing photographs, visitors will learn about the intricacies behind each photographer’s shot in each of the exhibition’s panels. “Sometimes, the animal in the photo is the protagonist—you identify with that animal and its story. But the hero of a photograph can also be its photographer,” says Janet Hong, project manager of Exhibitions. “It takes perseverance to get a great shot—understanding an animal’s behavior can mean tracking it for days. And a great visual composition often comes from deep knowledge of a place or plant or animal. Also, it’s quite surprising to realize that some of the most arresting images were captured by keen-eyed kids.”
Jan English, head of Touring Exhibitions at the London Natural History Museum, notes, “Wildlife Photographer of the Year celebrates the very best nature photography, and it is consistently one of our most successful touring exhibitions, enjoyed by millions every year. These images tell thought-provoking stories about our planet that prompt us all to think differently about the natural world and the future we want to create.”
Ultimately, Wildlife Photographer of the Year is an invitation to look more closely: at the diversity of this planet’s wildlife, at our own relationships with nature, at the urgency to conserve the habitats these images depict. Through the photographer’s lens, visitors will journey through time and place to reflect on their own role in Earth’s rich, colorful narrative.
The exhibition opens March 22, 2019 and runs through January 12, 2020, presented in both English and Spanish. Admission will be included with either a Field Museum Discovery or All-access Pass. Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.
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