A marvel of ants © Bence Máté.
After months of anticipation, the winners of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 were announced last night at a gala awards ceremony held at the Natural History Museum, London.
The much coveted title of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year was awarded to Hungarian photographer Bence Máté from Pusztaszer for his image A marvel of ants, a simple shot that captures the complexity of the behaviour of leaf-cutter ants in the Costa Rican rainforest.
Bence’s winning photograph is taken from a portfolio which won the competition’s Erik Hosking Award. This award is given to the portfolio of six images that represent the best work of young, talented photographers between the ages of 18 and 26 and has not been awarded since 2007, when Bence last won it. Bence has been passionate about nature since he was young. He won his first award in the competition in 2001, in the young category for 15–17 Years, and went on to have several further successes in the competition following this, including two previous wins for the Erik Hosking Award in 2005 and 2007. Speaking about Bence’s impressive portfolio, Chair of the judging panel, Mark Carwardine said, ‘These six strong images show a range of subjects and styles. The photographer is clearly a master of his craft with an artist’s eye.’
Fergus Gill from Scotland was crowned Veolia Environnement Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for the second year in a row. His image of a fieldfare, The frozen moment, was judged to be the most memorable of all the pictures by photographers aged 17 or under.
Living in rural Perthshire, Fergus has been interested in nature since he was young and started taking photographs at the age of nine, when his father encouraged him to carry a camera to record what he saw. Fergus has a second image, Eye of the bird, which has been highly commended in this year’s competition. At 14 he won first prize in his age category in the competition, which gave him the confidence to pursue nature photography as a serious interest. He concentrates in particular on wildlife near his home and the vast majority of his photography, including his winning image this year, occurs in his own back garden.
Speaking about Fergus’ winning image, Mark Carwardine says, ‘The hovering fieldfare is posed as an artist might paint it, the delicate yellow of the frozen berries echoing its breast feathers. A winning gem of a picture.’
Selected from tens of thousands of entries from across the globe, the images were judged to be the best of all those entered in the 2010 competition by a judging panel that included some of the world’s most respected nature photographers and wildlife experts.
These images will join more than 100 other prize-winning photographs from the competition’s 18 categories in a visually stunning and inspiring exhibition that debuts at the Natural History Museum on 22 October 2010. It will then tour nationally and internationally after its launch in the capital.
A commemorative book, Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio 20, edited by Rosamund Kidman Cox and published by the Natural History Museum, will be available from 21 October 2010, priced £25. The book contains all winning and commended images from this year’s competition.
Now in its 46th year, the competition is owned by the Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine and is sponsored by Veolia Environnement. It is an international leader in the artistic representation of the natural world and a competition that photographers worldwide aspire to win.
Photographers can enter next year’s competition online between12 January and18 March 2011. For further details about the competition and its various categories, or to enter online, visit NHM