DRIVING SUSTAINABLE
CHANGE TOGETHER

Products of change. News

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 delivers clear message to world leaders

Wed 13 Oct 2021 | 10:57 am GMT
Rob Hutchins | Products of Change Writer

Wildlife Photographer of the Year grand winner, Creation

It was a clear and concise call upon the world’s leaders for collective climate action that emanated from the balconies of the Natural History Museum last night, as the prestigious London venue and site of natural scientific research and discovery played host to the 57th Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards. The “remarkable edifice” provided the perfect setting for TV presenter, naturalist, and wildlife photographer, Chris Packham CBE and his co-host, photographer, ecologist, and conservationist Megan McCubbin, who made clear the message of the power of photography to move people and leaders to action in the fight for conservation, preservation and against climate change. An occasion for celebrating the beauty and wonder of nature and the talent of those that manage to capture it at its finest, its most poignant and hard-hitting – and often, its most bizarre – this year’s awards took on a rather more cautionary tone. With the world’s eyes turning to the UK in just a few weeks as leaders from across the globe descend upon Glasgow for COP26, it was a sense of urgency towards immediate and collaborative action that ran through the veins of the evening.
Chris Packham CBE and Megan McCubbin presenting the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards 2021
Speaking of the history and his relationship with the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards, Packham addressed viewers with recognition of the evolving nature of the awards, its entries, and the subject matter across each of its categories. “I remember in the ‘80s, it was very much about capturing the subject matter, and then the competition developed and it was far more artistic. These days, there’s a very powerful photojournalistic element to this competition. The competition has got some teeth,” he said. “And it needs to use those teeth at this critical time. We all know that our world is in the grips of a climate and bio-diversity crisis, and photography has a very important role to play. “These photographers have the capacity to communicate wonder, awe, but also the importance of that natural world to ourselves. And at this point, when we’re facing COP26 in just a few weeks time, and we need our global leaders to recognise the value of our natural world, then I believe that photography can play an instrumental role in guiding them in the right direction.” Wildlife Photographer of the Year More than 50,000 entries from across 95 countries were whittled down to just 19 category winners, one Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner, and one overall Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner. It was the French underwater photographer and biologist, Lauren Ballesta who was declared this year’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year for his enigmatic image, Creation that captured – and are you ready for this – camouflage groupers exiting their milky cloud of eggs and sperm in an annual spawning that only takes place around the full moon in July in Fakarava, French Polynesia.
Creation by Laurent Ballesta
Overfishing now threatens this vulnerable species, but it is here in Fakarava, where the image was captured, that the fish are protected within a special biosphere reserve. Photographer, Ballesta paid special thanks to the reserve for its work in protecting the species from overfishing, highlighting the importance of its work in enable unique flashes and moments of creation to occur. Chair of the judging panel, writer and editor, Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE, said: “The image works on so many levels. It is surprising, energetic, and intriguing and has an otherworldly beauty. It also capture 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.” Dr Doug Gurr, director of the Natural History Museum, added: “In what could be a pivotal year for the planet, with vital discussions taking place at COP15 and COP26, Laurent Ballesta’s Creation is a compelling reminder of what we stand to lose if we do not address humanity’s impact on our planet. “The protection provided to this endangered species by the biosphere reserve highlights the positive difference we can make.” Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year Meanwhile, it fell to ten year old Vidyun R Hebbar to collect the overall award for Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 for his colourful image, Dome Home – a picture of a tent spider as a tuk-tuk passes by. Hebbar first entered the competition when he was eight years old and enjoys photographing the often over looked creatures that live in the streets and parks near his home in the city of Bengaluru, India.
Dome Home by Vidyun R Hebbar
Cox, said: “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.” The two grand title winners were selected from 19 category winners that spanned the liked of Animals in their Environment, Animal Portraits, and Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles. This year’s competition also saw three new categories added, including Oceans – The Bigger Picture and Wetlands – The Bigger Picture which were added to shine a spotlight on these crucial ecosystems.
Grizzly Leftovers, Zack Clothier, USA - Animals and their Environment
Reflection - Majed Ali, Kuwait - Animal Portraits
Nursery Meltdown, Jennifer Hayes USA - Oceans The Bigger Picture
“Road to ruin” by Javier Lafuente, Spain Winner, Wetlands – The Bigger Picture
Elephant in the Room by Adam Oswell, Australia - Photojournalism
Displayed alongside insights from Natural History Museum scientists and experts, the 100 images will be showcased in lightbox displays at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the museum from October 15th 2021, before touring the UK and internationally to venues in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, USA, and others.
related articles
What are you reading? | Products of Change presents its Recommended Reads for 2022

Curated to fit anyone at any stage along their sustainable journey, the Products of Change recommended reading selection features the works and compilations of some of the most celebrating leaders in sustainability.

Read More

Thu 16 Dec 2021 | 02:33 pm GMT

EDUCATION
Products of Change's first Sustainability 101 Workshop hailed a success by ViacomCBS

Products of Change’s educational arm is beginning to gather momentum and setting the right tone for 2022, thanks to the success this week of the platform’s first Sustainability 101 Workshop.

Read More

Tue 14 Dec 2021 | 11:53 am GMT

EDUCATION
Netflix celebrates Earth Month with curated library and learning tool for parents and teachers

Netflix is celebrating Earth Month this April with a curated library of content focused on the planet and its heroes, as well as an accompanying guidebook for teachers.

Read More

Wed 13 Apr 2022 | 08:02 pm GMT

EDUCATION
Your waste has value | Find out how to unlock it at the Circular Economy 101 Workshop

Products of Change is hosting its first in-person Circular Economy 101 Workshop in London on July 13 to help businesses discover the true value in their waste.

Read More

Thu 07 Jul 2022 | 01:30 pm GMT

EDUCATION
Most read stories
Sustainability in Licensing Conference returns for 2021

SILC21 will take place at The British Library, London as well as streamed digitally globally on Thursday 24 June 2021.

Read More

Thu 11 Feb 2021 | 08:48 am GMT

NETWORKING
The National Trust partners sustainable clothing brand Frugi

Frugi has partnered with The National Trust once more to launch its fourth capsule collection of clothing and accessories designed to get kids out into the garden and growing vegetables.

Read More

Thu 24 Mar 2022 | 11:18 am GMT

FASHION
Dr Seuss Enterprises celebrates Earth Day with plantable The Lorax books

Dr Seuss Enterprises will print 10 copies of The Lorax on plantable paper made from wildflower seeds. These books can then be planted and watered to grow wildflowers.

Read More

Thu 21 Apr 2022 | 11:47 am GMT

PUBLISHING
Is remote working here to stay?

COVID-19 has forced businesses to rethink how they manage people and production from virtual locations, and this ‘temporary fix’ might actually become the norm

Read More

Tue 26 Jan 2021 | 08:19 am GMT

PACKAGING
In toon with the planet | Animation that is bringing the climate conversation home

BBC Studios marked Earth Day with a kids' content commitment, ZAG is tackling plastic pollution through Miraculous, and Young Captain Nemo is here to protect our oceans.

Read More

Tue 26 Apr 2022 | 12:31 pm GMT

CONTENT
Mattel sets new goal to reduce plastic packaging by 25 per cent per product by 2030

"Our new plastic packaging goal responds to increasing global attention on single-use plastic packaging waste, and addresses changing consumer preferences.”

Read More

Thu 28 Apr 2022 | 11:50 am GMT

TOYS
SILC 2022 | Keynote speaker Alan Moore talks the art of beautiful business

The business innovator, designer, and author, Alan Moore will open the Sustainability in Licensing Conference on Wednesday, 22 June with a keynote speech on beautiful business.

Read More

Thu 31 Mar 2022 | 09:45 am GMT

NETWORKING
Global Recycling Day to celebrate #RecyclingHeroes as Wastebuster launches Hidden Treasure Hunt

The Global Recycling Foundation sets scene to celebrate the heroes of the recycling space when its educational campaign, Global Recycling Day celebrates its fifth anniversary tomorrow.

Read More

Thu 17 Mar 2022 | 12:48 pm GMT

EDUCATION