Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Makes A Brilliant Return To The Natural History Museum

Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum ★★★★★

Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Makes A Brilliant Return To The Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum 5
Given the look of surprise it's easy to see why this is the overall winner. Copyright Yongqing Bao.

A marmot reacts with an almost human look of surprise as it’s ambushed by a fox, a puma slams into the side of a guanaco (a relative of the llama) sending a stream of grass flying from the side of its mouth in almost comical fashion, and a bull hippo crushes a calf of a rival to its death within its mighty jaws.

These brilliantly captured scenes are part of my favourite annual exhibition — Wildlife Photographer of the Year at Natural History Museum. Drama, action, sex, babies, death — it's the Game Of Thrones of exhibitions and I'm glad to report this is no season eight.

While this is a serious attack by a predator, there's something almost comical about this shot. Copyright Ingo Arndt.

It’s another year of stunning wildlife photography, though not a great year for frogs. One is gripped by a giant wandering spider and another in the jaws of a snake — both predator and prey unnervingly making eye contact with the lens. The predator that's the most lethal to frogs? Humans. A pool of the four-legged amphibians float in their own blood. They’ve all had their legs harvested as a delicacy, and the organs of these 'semi-frogs' spill out as they slowly die.

Some of my favourite images include: a bison in a snowstorm that looks closer to an abstract painting, a gang of long tailed macaques lounging around on the remnants of a sofa like teenagers, and a forest that took three glances for me to realise it’s actually an underwater snap. In a political piece a jaguar is projected on to the existing US-Mexico border wall, showcasing yet another 'migrant' whose movement would be restricted by the proposed wall — maybe Trump can get the jaguars to pay for it.

Time to get political with a jaguar projected on to the US Mexico border. Copyright Alejandro Prieto.

Savagery and beauty abound once again this year in an exhibition that always makes my jaw drop in awe. It once again reinforces that when it comes to true brutality humans can't be beat. This is evidenced by a festival in the US that includes rattlesnake skinning where all those involved mark the walls with bloody hand prints — it's terrifying to see how many of these 'signatures' are by children.

There is only one photography exhibition that matters. Wildlife Photographer of the Year. And it's back with a bang.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is on at Natural History Museum from 18 October to 31 May. Tickets are £13.95 for adults.

Last Updated 16 October 2019