Roberto Marchegiani a nature photographer from Italy is the winner of the prestigious Nature Photographer of the Year 2020 competition and may call himself “Nature Photographer of the Year 2020”. The Nature Photographer of the Year competition is an initiative of Nature Talks, the organisation that is also responsible for the Nature Talks Photo Festival that takes place in the Netherlands every year. This year the festival will take place online because of the current circumstances.
Respect for the subject
The chair of the jury Magdalena Herrera (director of photography for Geo, France) explains why this photo of a giraffe in the forest is chosen by the jury as the winner. This image has a fairy-tale quality that goes far beyond a wildlife document. The contrast of the dark forest with branches like flashes of lightning and the little giraffe, who seems so innocent, is astonishing. Equally striking is the difference in scale and the relationship between a vibrant, threatening nature and the living element. The result, paradoxically, is a feeling of harmony and peace. We applaud here the poetic approach to this moment that was made possible by the photographer's patience and respect for his subject.
Roberto Marchegiani took this photo in Nakuru National Park, Kenya. To have a better chance of finding good light he went on a deliberately organised safari during the rainy season. Just before sunset Roberto and his friends noticed a group of giraffes passing in front of the forest. With a long lens (600mm) he found a magnificent glimpse into the forest that stroke him a lot. Instead of taking pictures of the giraffes passing by, he kept the framing on a specific point in the forest and was hoping the giraffes would pass at that point. The angle was narrow, there was a lot of vegetation in the foreground that could damage the image. Therefore he used the maximum aperture to blur the vegetation as much as possible. The new Nature Photographer of the Year 2020: ”In the end, I was rewarded by my stubbornness: the giraffes passed exactly in the right place. The scene reminded me of a Jurassic landscape, with a herbivorous dinosaur in the same position as the giraffe.”
Alejandro Prieto and the Border Wall Project
The judges had to choose from 19,547 images, coming from over 95 different countries. A new record for this competition. Photos could be entered in 12 different categories and also the Fred Hazelhoff portfolio award. This award was won by Alejandro Prieto, an Mexican photographer. He created an intriguing photo project about the wall between Mexico and the United States and the impact on wildlife.
The nearly two thousand miles long United States-Mexico border traverses some of the continent's most biologically diverse regions. This fragile ecosystem is home to a diverse population of mammals, reptiles, birds and plants. Many species migrate between the biomes in the south and north of the continent. Alejandro Prieto wants to give a voice to the animals with his project.
Amongst the other winners, runners up or highly commendeds were some great names from the world of nature photographers again. Jo-Anne McArthur in the category Man and Nature, Ruben Perez Novo in the category other Animals, Pål Hermansen in the Category Natural Art and Radomir Jakubowksi in the category Plants and fungi.
The youth category (11 – 17 years old) is won by the Hungarian Lili Sztrehárszki with a shot of a lesser horseshoe bat (the smallest horseshoe bat across Europe). All the category winners, runners up and highly commended photos can be found on www.naturephotographeroftheyear.com.
Members of this year’s judging panel were:
Magdalena Herrera (Fr) chair of the judging panel;
Christian Ziegler (Pan);
Marco Gaiotti (IT);
René Alblas (NL);
Wim Dirckx (Be)
Nature Talks Photo Festival
The Nature Photographer of the Year competition is organised by Nature Talks, the organisation behind the yearly Nature Talks Photo Festival. This year’s edition is Online and will be on December 12th & 13th. Nature-Talks is an all-round Nature Photography Online Event with a wide range of genres: macro, landscape, underwater, wildlife and storytelling. Besides 25 inspiring and educational talks by world class photographers, Nature-Talks organises live Q&As, masterclasses and portfolio and photo reviews.
Starting on December 27th 2020 you can enter photos for the Nature Photographer of the Year 2021 edition. The Nature Talks Photo Festival 2021 will take place on the 13th and 14th November.