Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award – Critical Reflection
Walking through a long, thin, and very crowded room, displaying an array of stuffed birds ranging from blue-tits to peacocks not only made me feel a form of discomfort, but surprisingly prepared me for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition that laid ahead. I walked in to see the first collection entitled “Underwater World” that also held the overall winner of this years Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award. Looking at the only three photographs that were in this collection, I couldn’t help but disagree with the judge’s choice and found that I thought the runner-up’s photograph was a lot stronger in this particular collection through the use of lighting, leading lines, techniques and many other aspects. The winner’s photo was too crowded and didn’t leave me with the sense of “I wish I was this talented”. This left me feeling slightly disappointed and disheartened towards the rest of the exhibition as I thought that if the runner-up’s photo was better then the winner’s in this certain category, imagine the number of photographs that I would feel deserves to be the overall winner. However, I was not going to let this one, bad choice ruin the rest of the exhibition for me, so I stepped forward with an open mind. When I got to the second collection, I realized that beneath each photograph was a small paragraph describing where and how the image was created (with a small quote from the photographer), the technical information of the photograph, and a fact about the animal that is the main subject within the image. I found, personally, that this fact was used to anchor the meaning of the image and actually describes and explains one of the main and aesthetically pleasing aspect within the photograph. I then carried on with the exhibition, walking the zigzagged route around the exhibition hall, where I finally came across a collection that I could not fault: “Wildscapes”. This was easily one of my favourite and more memorable collections within the exhibition, but I find that I am incredibly bias towards landscape photography as this is one of my favourite subjects to shoot. After being blown away by this specific series of photographs, I then found two collections that were very hard-hitting as they show a true photojournalistic narrative about endangered animals and wildlife; they were entitled “The Wildlife Photojournalist Award” and “The World in Our Hands”. As I neared the end of the exhibition, I found myself automatically reflecting on what I had just seen. So what’s my overall view on the exhibition? Disappointing. I caught myself disagreeing with the judges on several occasions and found that only a rare few of the photographs included in this exhibition inspired me to experiment with wildlife photography. As this is, obviously, an annual competition, I couldn’t help but find myself comparing this years collections to last years, and the photographs in 2012 are just simply not up to the mark of those that entered and won the 2011 year. Lets hope that 2013 is the year of the comeback.
Twitter: Annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award for 2012? Disappointing. Lets hope that 2013 is the year of the comeback.