The world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition returns to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in nearby Toronto on Nov. 23 and runs until March 29, 2020. Featuring 100 vivid, evocative images, the exhibition showcases outstanding photography that communicates the beauty and fragility of nature.
At the ROM, visitors will get an up-close look at the work of this year’s overall winner, Yongqing Bao of China, revealed Oct. 15 by the competition’s organizing institution, the Natural History Museum (NHM) of London, England. Bao’s photo, The Moment, shows a Tibetan fox surprising a Himalayan marmot. The visually arresting image, appearing at first to be comical, in fact demonstrates the timeless dichotomy of predator and prey. Its effect on the viewer is jarring, as initial impressions of humor conflict with the potentially tragic outcome for the hunted animal.
This year’s exhibition at the ROM also includes the work of three Canadian photographers, all of which were selected as Highly Commended by the jury: From Ontario, Jo-Anne McArthur’s The Wall of Shame, in the category Wildlife Photojournalism, depicting the aftermath of a snake hunt; from Saskatchewan, Jason Bantle’s Lucky Break, in the category Urban Wildlife, featuring the precocious-looking raccoon peering out of a broken car windshield; and from Quebec, Françoise Gervais’s The Challenge, in the category Animals in their Environment, an astonishing portrait of a polar bear set against the vast blackness of a rocky hillside.
The exhibition’s remarkable photographs are mounted on large backlit displays for a vibrant visual experience and presented with captions that share the story of each shot. Located on Level 3, Centre Block (at the top of the stairs by the Museum’s iconic totem poles), the exhibition is divided in to sections: Behaviours, Habitats, Portraits, Photojournalism, Environments, Young Photographers, Portraits, Portfolio, and Grand Title Winners.
Dr. Burton Lim, assistant curator of mammalogy, curator for the ROM’s exhibition, sees the power of photography to communicate and reach people emotionally. “I take a lot of photos of bats and other animals during my fieldwork in Guyana and other parts of the world. My main purpose is to document and record biodiversity data, but I also know that taking a photo captures more than just information, it is a way to show and share why I find these animals to be fascinating and beautiful when others may not,” says Dr. Lim.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is organized by the Natural History Museum, London. Now in its 55th year, it is the longest-running and most prestigious photography competition of its kind in the world. Today the competition receives over 48,000 entries from 100 countries from photographers of all ages and experience levels. Photographs for the exhibition are selected by a jury of international wildlife photography experts based on artistic composition, technical innovation and interpretation of the natural world.
Selected by a panel of nine judges, the exhibition features 100 of the best photos, including two grand title winners. The exhibition also showcases several categories including Rising Star Portfolio Award, Wildlife Photojournalism, and in the Young Photographers category even an award for photographers 10 years old and under.
The Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 prize was won by 13 year-old Cruz Erdmann from New Zealand. His photograph, Night Glow, of a bigfin reef squid was taken on a night dive off the coast of Indonesia, and captures it displaying its masterful ability to change colors.
See ROM.CA for admission hours and pricing.