Mini-review: Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards at the Royal Ontario Museum.
One of my favourite museums to visit when I was living in London (England) was the Natural History Museum, especially when it was time for the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards exhibition. This year, it’s traveled to us across the pond here in Toronto, and it’s currently on show at the Royal Ontario Museum. I attended during the member’s preview hours on Friday, and was not disappointed.
Tucked away near the Roman galleries on level 3 is a space used beautifully to funnel you through the various categories of images. Animal behaviours, plant life, landscapes and more artistic captures are presented on backlit panels, making the quality and colour (or crispness of B&W) pop amazingly. It is hard not to be drawn in by each and every image not just because of the content and composition, but the sheer beauty of them all.
There’s no shortage of amazing photography in this exhibition, naturally – but I am always drawn to the young photographer’s categories. I have been fascinated by wildlife and nature from a young age (suckled on David Attenborough’s documentaries, and the like), so it’s encouraging and inspiring to see young folks getting out into the world to snap the incredible photos displayed in this exhibition. I wish I’d had the drive and skill when I was young to do the same – although I’m sure digital photography has made it a far more accessible hobby.
Passing through the specific categories of competition, towards the end of the exhibition there are more specialized showings of photos – portfolios of outstanding nature photographers, and photo essays. The essays are particularly striking not just because of their look, but their substance – the first is a horrifying look at the ivory trade, and the other on the devastating affect of dams along the Amazon. They’re brutal to see, but tell their stories incredibly well.
I encourage you all to visit the ROM in general, but it’s also worth the little extra admission to see this exhibition. Drink in the beauty of wildlife in their natural habitats, and how incredibly skilled all of the photographers are in capturing it. If you even have a passing interest in wildlife documentaries and imagery, you will not be disappointed. And if you’re going – let me know! I would visit this again and again.