On October 12, 2021, the Natural History Museum in London (England) unveiled the names of the big winners of the iconic photo contest it develops, organizes and produces: the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 that highlights authentic representations of animal life in nature. . For yet another year, the Museum of London broadcast his ceremony online. It was moderated by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin, BBC presenters and biodiversity experts.
A Frenchman in the spotlight: Laurent Ballesta, winner in all categories
For the first time, the international jury of the competition chose a Frenchman as the winner of the award, all categories combined: Laurent Ballesta, awarded for “technical skills and exceptional vision” shown by his creative photo. It offers the underwater spectacle of a trio of camouflaged groupers “emerging from a milky cloud of eggs and sperm.” In fact, the snapshot was taken during the annual reproduction period of these tropical fish, which the French photographer and his team observe every year.
“These results of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 are a true consecration for a French photographer whose artistic talent we have already been able to appreciate -even during previous editions of this same contest- but also the qualities of scientific mediator that show images of the depths of the ocean, following in the wake of Jacques-Yves Cousteau ”, underlines Jean-Yves Kernel, editor of Biotope editions, who publishes a book that brings together the entire list of competition prizes.
Laurent Ballesta is a naturalist photographer specialized in underwater fauna, but also a marine biologist and diver. In addition to his various expeditions, he co-founded the Andromède Océanologie company, carrying out projects related to the study and enhancement of the marine environment since 2000. Among his adventures, we highlight the Gombessa 5 mission during which the photographer and three other Los Divers spent almost a month in a pressurized chamber to explore the depths of the Mediterranean Sea: the documentary Planète Méditerranée, released in September 2020, tracks this aquatic expedition.
Three new categories
This year new categories have appeared in the competition catalog. The emphasis is in particular on the beauty of ecosystems and their vital role for the planet and its occupants: “Oceans – see more”, “Wetlands – see more” and “Art of nature” have been very successful. The idea was, in particular, to make the general public aware of the urgency of the problems related to these important natural environments.
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