Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016, Wolverhampton

Sunday, 31 July 2016 Wolverhampton, UK

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016, Wolverhampton

Blogging this year has brought me plenty of interesting opportunities, and I was super intrigued by this particular invite! The Wildlife Photographer of the Year award is a hugely prestigious recognition in a world full of budding photographers. A truly global competition, this extensive exhibition of the 75 best has been narrowed down from a whopping 40,000 entries from around the world!

The exhibition is usually held in the world renowned Natural History Museum in London. The event is now in its 51st year, and continues to attract photography and wildlife fans alike. Curated by a lady local to Wolverhampton and recent graduate in photography, she and the other staff present were more than happy to show me around the collection, including the extra special room full of this year's winners.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016, Wolverhampton

It also featured last year's overall winner, "A Tale of Two Foxes" (see it here along with the incredible story behind the photo) by Don Gutoski from Canada. It is a stark and controversial image, however the curator's passion for the image shone through as she explained its message. All the staff present were unfortunately subject to my highly nosy and curious questions, one of which wanted to understand what exactly pointed judges towards the images as a winner or even a finalist! Honestly, every image featured was breathtaking. There's such a huge variety in photography styles and topics, I found it impossible to decide my favourites!

As it happens, all finalist entries are sorted into various categories, for example by age (e.g 10 Years & Under - I know!), or by type of image (Birds, Invertebrates, Mammals), with 20 overall winners. Two images in particular stood out to me the second I walked into the exhibition - they are incredibly striking images to which these photos do no justice at all given the darkness of the entire room, so please excuse the terrible quality!

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016, Wolverhampton
"The Blizzard of Birth and Death", Urban Category, by José Antonio Martínez in Spain

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016, Wolverhampton
 "Mosquito Lookout", 10 Years and Under Category, by Laura Albiac in Spain (Credit due to the poor staff member who had to stand a bit awkwardly next to the photos - top marks)

As such, neither of these two entries were winners, which only goes to show that our ideas of what constitutes a "winner" is entirely subjective and individual. The choice of winner boils down to a mix of photography techniques, styles and creative flair. As a complete novice in the area of photography, this is a wonderful event which welcomes aspiring and experienced photographers, as well as fans of wildlife and nature. It's impossible to miss the extremely high calibre of each image, perfectly emphasised by the light boxes which were installed especially for the exhibition.

I also love that this competition welcomes entries from all level of photographer - last year's winner was an amateur however captured a truly stunning photo! It's a wonderful way of encouraging more people to take up photography and get involved.

I was left astounded by the Wildlife Photographer of the Year collection and I have no doubts that the exhibition will attract lots of visitors to the area! May I also add how pleasant the cafe is within the civic centre?! Be sure to stop in for a quick coffee and cheeky slice of cake.

The exhibition is open until 18th September 2016. Prices are £4 for adults, £2 for children and family ticket of four people is £10! More information here.

Thanks for reading! Will you be attending the exhibition?


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