Review: Wildlife Photographer Of The Year @ Natural History Museum

All photography fans should have this annual event marked in their calendars. We’ve been the last two years running and been enthralled each time. The exotic creatures on display and the lengths that these photographers go to get the perfect shot never ceases to amaze us.

This year’s selection is no different, ranging from a messianic baby whale shark emerging from the gloomy ocean depths towards a light at the surface to a lazing lion peacefully sleeping on the grass and paying no heed to the violent thunderstorm in the distance.

But it’s not just exotic animals that shine. The black and white photograph of a lone hare in a vast freshly ploughed field is a minimalist masterpiece.

Many of this year’s selected photographs seem to transcend the animal kingdom and appear surreal at times. The orange reflections from an alligator’s eyes at night make it look like a B-movie monster while a bleating gazelle calf appears to be screaming as it runs from the four cheetah cubs that are eyeing it up.

As well as celebrating the diversity of the world’s wildlife there is also a category dedicated to the harrowing impact humanity has had on animal life. Animal lovers will struggle to stomach the image of a dolphin at the bottom of an empty aquarium tank and the rhino whose horn has been crudely cut off with a chainsaw. Saddest of all is the tiger who has been ‘domesticated’ and trudges alongside tourists as if he’s lost the will to live and is simply waiting for his eventual demise.

This is a spectacular exhibition of photographs that highlights the wonderful wildlife we have. Compared to the previous two years’ displays, the consistency in quality doesn’t quite measure up to such a high benchmark but this show is head and shoulders above most other photography exhibitions.

The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is on display at the Natural History Museum and runs until 3 March. Admission is £10 for adults, concessions available.

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