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Events & Exhibitions

The World-Renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition is Coming to Canterbury Museum at CoCA on 10 May.


The world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is coming to Canterbury Museum at CoCA on 10 May.

On loan from the prestigious Natural History Museum in London, the exhibition offers a fascinating glimpse of wildlife across the world, taking visitors from the bottom of the oceans to the peaks of mountains. The 100 photographs on display include spectacular images of a three-legged Arctic fox backlit by the midnight sun in the Canadian Arctic, a polar bear drifting off to sleep on a Norwegian iceberg, and an endangered golden tri-spine horseshoe crab cruising the seabed in the Philippines.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the most prestigious photography event of its kind, providing a global platform that has showcased some of the best photography talent from around the world for nearly 60 years.

The 59th competition attracted an astounding 49,957 entries from photographers of all ages and experience from 95 countries. During an intense week at the Natural History Museum in London, entries were judged anonymously on their creativity, originality and technical excellence by an international panel of industry experts.

The winning images were announced in October 2023 at an awards show in London hosted by wildlife presenters Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin.

Nima Sarikhani’s stunning photograph of a sleeping polar bear, called Ice Bed, won the People’s Choice Award. The image was taken during a 3-day sea expedition off Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. The expedition encountered two polar bears just before midnight. A young bear clambered onto a small iceberg and, using his strong paws, clawed away at it to carve out a bed for himself. Nima captured the moment the polar bear drifted off to sleep.

Natural History Museum Director Dr Doug Gurr says the exhibition is increasingly relevant in the face of climate change.

‘We are facing urgent biodiversity and climate crises, and photography is a powerful catalyst for change. The Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition reveals some of nature’s most wondrous sights whilst offering hope and achievable actions visitors can take to help protect the natural world.”

Judging panel chair Kathy Moran says the diverse range of photographs both challenge and inspire.

“What most impressed the jury was the range of subjects, from absolute beauty, rarely seen behaviors and species to images that are stark reminders of what we are doing to the natural world. We felt a powerful tension between wonder and woe that we believe came together to create a thought-provoking collection of photographs.”

Canterbury Museum Tumuaki/Director Anthony Wright says the exhibition was enormously popular when it last showcased at the Museum in 2019.

“It’s easy to see why with such a diverse and astonishing array of images on display. We can’t wait to share this extraordinary exhibition with visitors to Canterbury Museum at CoCA.”

Exhibition details:

Canterbury Museum at CoCA, 66 Gloucester Street, Christchurch.

Exhibition runs 10 May to 8 September, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Free entry; donations appreciated.

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