2020 AG Nature Photographer of the Year winners

By Australian Geographic 27 August 2020
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The winning images from the 2020 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the year contest have been revealed.

AS THE SECOND HALF OF of this extraordinary year unfolds, it’s worth noting that our annual celebration of the natural world is now in its third decade, and has clearly established itself as the most prestigious nature photography competition in our region of the world.

From its outset, the contest has encouraged us to appreciate nature captured by those with the talent and the eye to frame its beauty in ways that invoke awe, wonder, occasionally sadness and sometimes outrage. It has invited us to consider the true value of the natural environment and led us to question our relationship with it.

Each year we get an opportunity to see the wild world presented from new viewpoints and with fresh interpretations of familiar subjects and themes. The entry period for this year’s contest spanned a catastrophic bushfire season in Australia. The scale of the devastation was like nothing we’ve seen before, and the toll on native flora and fauna has been utterly heartbreaking.

This dramatic context is beautifully realised in this year’s winning image and is likely to influence how we view all the competition’s successful photographs, which are presented in two major exhibitions in Adelaide and Sydney. These images artfully demonstrate both the magnificence and fragility of the natural realm that we hold so precious.

Entry into the competition closed before COVID-19 changed our lives, and judging was completed before the pandemic hugely restricted travel. Combined with the impact of the bushfires, the limitations set by the spread of the virus will now certainly affect the ability of photographers to travel to remote locations and capture their prizewinning photos during this strange year.

But we encourage all would-be winners to get out and capture the beauty that can be found closer to home, including those wild creatures with whom we share our cities and suburbs. Backyard wildlife has always featured strongly in the competition. It acts as a vital indicator of the health of our altered ecosystems and provides ample opportunities for photographers to demonstrate the rich biodiversity of our unique geographical region.

Congratulations to those whose work is included among the category winners, runners-up and the portfolio prize. Well done to all whose work is included in the exhibitions at the South Australian and Australian museums.

Special congratulations to the overall winner, Ben Blanche, for his arresting bushfire photograph. Heartfelt thanks to the professional judges, Georgina Steytler, Michael Aw and Drew Hopper, for taking on the difficult task of selecting the successful images.

We are proud of our long-running association with this competition and its exhibitions, and would like to acknowledge Brian Oldman, Director of the South Australian Museum, and Tim Gilchrist for their contributions to the success of this annual event.

Own your very own copy of the winning and short-listed 2020 images in this stunning 120-page hardcover book.

Each image is accompanied by technical information as well as anecdotes from the photographers on how each photograph was taken. There are also useful insights from the judges, which help to shed light on how they came to select the winning images.

Order your copy here