The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is a prestigious annual competition that showcases the best of nature photography from around the world. The competition is organized by the Natural History Museum in London and attracts thousands of entries from professional and amateur photographers. The winners are selected by a panel of expert judges, but there is also a special award that is decided by the public: the People’s Choice Award.
This year, the People’s Choice Award winner is Nima Sarikhani, an Iranian photographer who captured a stunning image of a polar bear resting on a bed of ice in the Arctic. The photo, titled “Ice Bed”, was chosen by more than 75,000 people who voted online from a shortlist of 25 images. Sarikhani said he was honored and humbled by the recognition and hoped his photo would raise awareness of the threats facing polar bears and their habitat.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award Winner: Nima Sarikhani with “Ice Bed”
Nima Sarikhani is a self-taught photographer who has been passionate about wildlife since he was a child. He started taking photos with his father’s camera when he was 12 years old and later pursued a career in engineering. However, he never gave up his hobby and continued to travel and photograph wildlife in different parts of the world.
In 2023, he joined an expedition to the Arctic, where he spent 10 days on a boat observing and photographing polar bears and other animals. He said it was a dream come true for him and one of the most memorable experiences of his life. He took the photo of “Ice Bed” on the last day of the trip when he spotted a polar bear lying on a piece of ice that had broken off from a glacier. He said he was amazed by the contrast between the white fur of the bear and the blue ice and the calmness and beauty of the scene.
He said he wanted to capture the essence of the polar bear, which he described as a symbol of strength, resilience, and adaptation. He also wanted to show the fragility of the Arctic environment, which is under threat from climate change and human activities. He said he hoped his photo would inspire people to care more about the conservation of polar bears and their habitat and to take action to protect them.
The Top Five Photos Voted for by the Public
The People’s Choice Award is a popular category of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, as it gives the public a chance to have their say and to appreciate the diversity and beauty of nature. The 25 images that were shortlisted for the award were selected from more than 50,000 entries that were submitted to the competition in 2023. The public could vote for their favorite photo online from November 2023 to February 2024.
The photo that received the most votes was “Ice Bed” by Nima Sarikhani, but there were four other photos that also received a lot of attention and admiration from the public. These photos are:
- Aurora Jellies by Markus Andersson, a Swedish photographer who captured a mesmerizing image of jellyfish swimming under the northern lights in Norway.
- The Happy Turtle by Jack Zhi, a Chinese photographer who snapped a cheerful portrait of a green sea turtle in Hawaii.
- Starling Murmuration by Gideon Knight, a British photographer who witnessed a spectacular display of starlings forming shapes in the sky in Suffolk, England.
- Napping Polar Bear by Michelle Valberg, a Canadian photographer who observed a sleepy polar bear resting on a rock in Nunavut, Canada.
These photos, along with “Ice Bed” and the other winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, will be displayed in an exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London from October 2024 to May 2025. The exhibition will also tour internationally to various venues around the world.
The Prestigious Nature Photography Competition
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is the most renowned and respected nature photography competition in the world. It was founded in 1965 by the BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum and has since grown to become a global event that celebrates the art and science of wildlife photography.
The competition aims to showcase the diversity and beauty of the natural world, as well as to highlight the importance of conservation and environmental issues. The competition also seeks to inspire and educate people of all ages and backgrounds about the wonders of nature and the challenges it faces.
The competition is open to photographers of all levels, from amateurs to professionals, and from all countries and regions. The competition has 18 categories, covering various subjects and styles, such as animals, plants, landscapes, underwater, black and white, and photojournalism. The competition also has three special awards: the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio Award, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Rising Star Portfolio Award, and the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award.
The entries are judged by a panel of experts, who look for originality, creativity, technical excellence, and artistic vision. The winners are announced at a gala ceremony in London, where they receive trophies, certificates, and cash prizes. The winning images are also published in a book and featured in an exhibition that travels around the world.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is a prestigious and influential platform for wildlife photographers, as it provides them with recognition, exposure, and opportunities. The competition also serves as a source of inspiration and awareness for the public, as it showcases the beauty and diversity of nature, as well as the threats and challenges it faces.