20 Incredible Images From The 57th Wildlife Photographer Of The Year Contest

by Stephanie

The 57th Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 awards was streamed live from London's Natural History Museum's Hintze Hall on October 13th. With 50,000+ submissions by photographers from 95 countries, it's fair to say that choosing the winners was no easy feat for the prestigious jury.

The BBC Wildlife Magazine initially founded the Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPOTY) in 1965. Back then, it was simply called 'Animals.'

In 1984 The Natural History Museum jumped on board, and the competition evolved into what it is today. The WPOTY showcases the incredible beauty of Mother Nature in all her glory and animals in their natural habitat.

The contest is open to photographers of all levels, nationalities, and ages. One hundred winners are chosen from 19 categories by seven esteemed jury members.

This year's Wildlife Photographer of the Year grand title was awarded to French underwater photographer Laurent Ballesta. His winning image, 'Creation,' captures camouflage groupers exiting their cloud of eggs and sperm in Fakarava, French Polynesia.

Rosamund Kidman Cox, chair of the jury, speaks highly of the stunning photo. "The image works on so many levels; it is surprising, energetic, and intriguing and has an otherworldly beauty," she said.

"It also captures 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."

There were also many other highly deserving winners from each category. Scroll down to take a look at some of the winning photographs, as well as some of the other stunning entries.

1. The Great Swim by Buddhilini De Soyza (Sri Lanka/Australia)

1. The Great Swim by Buddhilini De Soyza (Sri Lanka/Australia)
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2. Storm Fox by Jonny Armstrong (USA)

2. Storm Fox by Jonny Armstrong (USA)
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3. Raw Moment by Lara Jackson (UK)

Lara Jackson captured this young lioness as she failed to make a clean kill and began eating a wildebeest while still alive. The beautiful creature stared Lara down as she held down her prey with a paw.

"She was already quite full," Lara said. "Probably after feeding the night before, but she grabbed the opportunity for an easy meal."

3. Raw Moment by Lara Jackson (UK)
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4. Mushroom Magic by Juergen Freund (Germany/Australia)

4. Mushroom Magic by Juergen Freund (Germany/Australia)

5. Lynx On The Threshold by Sergio Marijuán (Spain)

5. Lynx On The Threshold by Sergio Marijuán (Spain)
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6. Lockdown Chicks by Gagana Mendis Wickramasinghe (Sri Lanka)

6. Lockdown Chicks by Gagana Mendis Wickramasinghe (Sri Lanka)
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7. Apollo Landing by Emelin Dupieux (France)

Emelin Dupieux found himself surrounded by butterflies while on holiday in the Haut-Jura Regional Nature Park on the French‑Swiss border. This beautiful Apollo butterfly stopped for a rest on an oxeye daisy.

It was a dream come true for Emelin, who had always wanted to photograph an Apollo. The large mountain butterfly is one of Europe's most threatened species.

7. Apollo Landing by Emelin Dupieux (France)
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8. A Caring Hand by Douglas Gimesy (Australia)

8. A Caring Hand by Douglas Gimesy (Australia)
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9. Up For Grabs by Jack Zhi (USA)

9. Up For Grabs by Jack Zhi (USA)
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10. The Gripping End by Wei Fu (Thailand)

10. The Gripping End by Wei Fu (Thailand)
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11. Beautiful Bloodsucker by Gil Wizen (Israel/Canada)

Gil Wizen says the best way to photograph a female ornamented mosquito is to let her bite you. These pretty mosquitoes are only found in Latin America.

Only the females bite, as they need the blood to help produce eggs. When this one landed on Gil in central Ecuador, he didn't waste any time capturing the image.

11. Beautiful Bloodsucker by Gil Wizen (Israel/Canada)

12. Net Loss by Audun Rikardsen (Norway)

12. Net Loss by Audun Rikardsen (Norway)
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13. Toxic Design by Gheorghe Popa (Romania)

13. Toxic Design by Gheorghe Popa (Romania)

14. Deep Feelers by Laurent Ballesta (France)

14. Deep Feelers by Laurent Ballesta (France)
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15. Natural Magnetism by Jaime Culebras (Spain)

15. Natural Magnetism by Jaime Culebras (Spain)

16. The Nurturing Wetland by Rakesh Pulapa (India)

16. The Nurturing Wetland by Rakesh Pulapa (India)
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17. Creation by Laurent Ballesta earned the underwater photographer the grand title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year

It was no easy task for Laurent to capture his winning image. The photographer and his team went back to this lagoon each year for five years and dived all day and night to avoid missing the annual July spawning.

Grey reef sharks joined them after dark as they would hunt the groupers in packs. What an incredible sight!

17. Creation by Laurent Ballesta earned the underwater photographer the grand title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year

18. Dome Home by 10-year-old Vidyun R Hebbar of India won him the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 prize

18. Dome Home by 10-year-old Vidyun R Hebbar of India won him the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 prize
via: ABC
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19. Elephant in the Room by Australian Adam Oswell won the Photojournalism category

19. Elephant in the Room by Australian Adam Oswell won the Photojournalism category
via: ABC

20. Rich Reflections by Justin Gilligan won the Plants and Fungi category

20. Rich Reflections by Justin Gilligan won the Plants and Fungi category
via: ABC

The 58th Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest is currently open for entries. Contestants can enter up to 25 photos into the competition, which will close to submissions on December 9th.

The winning images from the WPOTY each year go on to form a stunning exhibition open to all. The show premieres at the Natural History Museum before going on tour around the world.

The WPOTY exhibit will run from October 15th, 2021 to June 5th, 2022. Tickets can be purchased from £15.50.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what beautiful photos emerge with the next Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. What a stunning world we live in!

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