National Geographic has a pedigree in photography of the natural world that is largely untouchable, and each year, much of the memorable imagery we consume of the world’s aesthetics is from the National Geographic’s archives. As such, to enter a photograph into one of their competitions is akin to submitting a piece to the New Yorker.
The entries for the Nature Photographer of the Year Competition are divided into four categories when looking through the list of hopefuls: Wildlife, Landscapes, Aerials, and Underwater. These are then broken up into the week within which they were submitted, as the competition is drawn out for two months, ending on November 17th. The entries are, naturally, submitted from across the globe, and looking through what has been submitted, is to travel by snapshot.
When looking at the Editor’s Picks for each week of the competition, there are many photographs that are the standard fare for this type of event. A close-up of a chameleon’s eye, cheetahs waiting for their prey, a leopard moving through grass. But there are those that stand out from among the less memorable, that have captured something more particular than the familiarity that can come with nature photography. One of these is Joshua Blouin’s shot of a bee, wearing a coat of pollen, ready to enter a new flower. Both flower and bee are painfully fragile, and in Blouin’s true, if less-than-poetic, ‘Without them, our world would be a very bleak place.’
Another is by the photographer Tibor Kercz, simply described as, ‘A little owl with its prey on a rainy night’. This, for all its technical skill and stark brilliance, is most importantly a funny shot. The owl’s expression has been caught perfectly. In a very different manner, then, is Daisy Gillardini’s image worth mentioning. ‘On the Hunt’ is entirely white, and against its domestic backdrop, her polar bear seems not dangerous but isolated.
Featured Photo Credit: Joshua Blouin