Thursday, 20 November 2008

Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum (London)

Turns out, we went to a lot of exhibits when my parents were in town.  

Their last day in London, we went to the special exhibition on the Wildlife Photographer of the Year, which is held at the Natural History Museum in London each year.  I went with my parents because I knew my dad wanted to go.  I'm not usually a "photography" sort of person, but as it turns out, this may be the best thing we saw in 10 days.

Highlights included:
  • None of the photographs are actually printed.  Instead, they were displayed on screens.  Even if this was a bit gimmicky, I loved it.
  • Each photograph was accompanied by a short quotation from the photographer, explaining their take on the picture.  Then, a brief snippet was included about the species/scene/behaviour that is shown.  This was great if you aren't a naturalist/biologist, and it was the perfect amount of info.  They also included a map with where the photo was taken, and the specs on the equipment used.  I usually gripe on the presentation of information at this exhibits, but I couldn't imagine a better way of doing this.
  • Pictures were grouped according to subject, or occasionally, who took the photo (there were categories for photographs taken by children aged 11-14, and 15-17).  Winners for each category or group were displayed along with runners-up and honorable mentions.
  • The overall winner was a photograph of a snow leopard taken by Steve Winter, a National Geographic photographer.  He spent months in India trying to capture photographs of the snow leopards, and had to set up an apparatus that would take photos automatically when the leopards passed the cameras.  The results are phenomenal.  His efforts are also shown in the BBC TV series "Planet Earth" (also available on DVD now).  
  • Subjects depicted in the photos included: a battle between a snake and a frog; images of glaciers melting; a giraffe being chased by a lion; and an underwater shot of a whale just a few feet away from a diver.  Really impressive stuff.  
This is a fabulous exhibit.  It is well worth an hour of your time, and the £7 entrance fee (£3.50 for students/concessions).  It's there until the 26th of April.

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