An underwater photographer from France, Laurent Ballesta, has been awarded the title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his image, ‘Creation’, which captures camouflage groupers leaving a cloud of eggs and sperm in Fakarava, French Polynesia.
Laurent returned to this lagoon every year for five years to photograph the annual spawning that occurs around the full moon in July. Diving after dark, Laurent was joined by hundreds of grey reef sharks, hunting the groupers in packs.
Groupers are threatened by overfishing, but in Fakarava they are protected within a biosphere reserve.
Chair of the judging panel, writer and editor, Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE says, “The image works on so many levels. It is surprising, energetic, and intriguing and has an otherworldly beauty. It also captures a magical moment –a truly explosive creation of life –leaving the tail-end of the exodus of eggs hanging for a moment like a symbolic question mark.”
Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021
The title of Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 has been bestowed on ten-year old Vidyun R Hebbar for his colourful image, ‘Dome home’, of a tent spider as a tuk-tuk passes by.
It’s not Vidyun’s first appearance in the competition; he was also featured as an 8-year old. He loves to photograph the often-overlooked creatures that live in the streets and parks near his home in the city of Bengaluru, India.
Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE says of Vidyun’s winning image, “It’s such an imaginative way of photographing a spider. The picture is perfectly framed, the focus is spot on. You can see the spider’s fangs and the crazy weave of the trap, the threads like some delicate nerve network linked to the spider’s feet. But the really clever bit is the addition of a creative backdrop –the bright colours of a motorised rickshaw.”
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 Category Winners
The Wildlife Photographer of Year competition comprises 19 categories, with the grand title winners being selected from the category winners shown below.
One hundred images selected from those submitted will be exhibited at the Natural History Museum in London, opening on 15 October 2021, before touring across the UK and internationally to venues in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the USA and more.
The 58th Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition will open for entries on Monday 18 October 2021. The international jury of industry experts has been announced, and the entry fee for photographers entering from 50 countries will be waived.