A French biologist who captured a rare underwater scene has been crowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 by the Natural History Museum
The winner of the Natural History Museum's prestigious Wildlife Photographer of Year competition has been named.
Biologist Laurent Ballesta took the top prize for his ‘enigmatic image’ of a rare underwater moment.
His stunning photo, Creation, captures camouflage groupers swimming away from their milky cloud of eggs and sperm in the waters of French Polynesia. This spawning happens annually in July around the full moon.
To catch the moment, Laurent and his team had returned to the same lagoon in Fakarava every year for five years, diving day and night.
The species is currently under threat of overfishing, but in this location they are protected within a special biosphere reserve.
Chair of the judging panel, Rosamund ‘Roz’ Kidman Cox OBE, described the image as being ‘surprising, energetic, and intriguing' with 'an otherworldly beauty’, while Dr Doug Gurr, Director of the Natural History Museum said it's ’a compelling reminder of what we stand to lose if we do not address humanity's impact on our planet.'
Meanwhile, ten-year-old Vidyun R Hebbar was awarded the title of Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year. A passing tuk-tuk brings a splash of colour to the background of his fascinating tent spider visual.
The image was taken near Vidyun's home in Bengaluru, India, where he loves to capture tiny creatures that live in the streets and parks.
In its 57th year, the Wildlife Photography Awards received more than 50,000 entries from 95 countries.
The two winners were selected from 19 category winners that all ‘celebrate the captivating beauty of our natural world’.
A total of 100 images from the submissions will be displayed at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition by the Natural History Museum from 15 October, before going on tour around the UK and internationally.
Entries for the 2022 competition open on the Monday 18 October 2021, with the entry fees waived for the first time in 50 countries.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London
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