On Monday 6th Feb I went to London to make my annual visit to the World Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum. As always there were some stunning images and I’m always impressed with the effort that goes into getting the shots at both the technical and travelling level! Over 50,000 images are submitted in a variety of categories (see the link) in what is the world’s premier wildlife photography exhibition.
I always look at the birds section first as this is an area where I do my own specialist photography. This year the winner was Steve Mills with ‘The Assassin’, a stunning image of a merlin that had just caught a snipe. This one has everything for me – not only the technical excellence of the image itself, but the perfection in the way that the wing and the bill of the prey frame the face of the killer. The talon holding the snipe sets the image off with a superb splash of colour in a bleak winter environment. Just magic.
My next port of call was the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. This was the first time I have been to a photographic exhibition other than wildlife and it left me with mixed feelings. Some of the photographs displayed were stunning in their detail and in the impact that they generated, whereas others were, at least to me, just snapshots of people that conveyed little in the way of message. The winning image ‘Harriet with Gentleman Jack’ was a simple shot of a girl with a guinea pig that had a great spontaneity to it rather than the heavily posed and contrived impression I got from some other photos on display. There was the usual sprinkling of images that crop up in portraiture that left me wondering whether they were intended as photography or pornography, and generally they fail on both counts!