Enthusiastic photographers and animal enthusiasts are likely to follow the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award at the London Natural History Museum. The annual competition displays captivating and heartbreaking images of the natural world by photographers across the planet, and 2020 has yet to become the deadliest – perhaps surprisingly proven.
You can throw darts around the 2020 timeline and get the bad news, but a number of dramatic images have emerged from Australia’s devastating wildfires, which saw what a new year would do. It looks like those who voted for the 2020 People’s Choice Awards didn’t shy away from complex issues, as they praised children’s television personality and wildlife photographer Robert Irwin (yes, Irwins) as the winner for his crisis photo.
To capture a spectacular image of the Australian bushfire using drone photography, the son of zoo and TV legend Steve Irwin must be the family mascot genus, Crocodilia from with countless wildlife – with an estimated more than a billion animals – lost in the blaze that transforms the landscape, the image carries a heavy message. Straight to the title “Bushfire”, the hunting shot framed 50:50 delicious green trees against the black remnants that they would soon be.
As smoke rose from the horizon of the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in Cape York, Queensland, Irwin identified the opportunity: a protected land that supports more than 30 ecosystems, including some endangered species. “I am incredibly excited to win the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People’s Choice Award. For me, nature photography is about telling a story to make a difference to the environment and our planet, “Irwin said in a press release about the award.” As a reminder of our impact on the world and our responsibility, take care of it.”
The PCA received nearly 50,000 images for the 2021 competition, which was shortlisted by the Museum of Natural History in just 25 images. Irwin’s PCA will feature four highly acclaimed images as well as part of an exhibition at the museum, which at the time of writing intended to run until August 2021 – although dates may change due to ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns in the UK.