A Lens on Nature’s Wonders: Celebrating the 2023 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

a herd of cattle standing on top of a mountain
Amit Eshel, “Life on the edge,” Israel. All images © the artists, courtesy of the Natural History Museum,
  • Laurent Ballesta won the 2023 Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest for his image "The Golden Horseshoe."
  • The contest, in its 59th year, received about 50,000 entries from 95 countries.
  • Notable entries include Sriram Murali's Fireflies and Fernando Constantino Martínez Belmar's portrayal of deforestation in Mexico.
  • The exhibition of winning photos is available at the Natural History Museum in London until June 30.

Imagine, for a moment, you're perched on a cliff edge in the Zin Desert. The air is dry, and your lips taste of salt and adventure. Below, the landscape unfurls like a canvas painted with time itself. It's here, amidst this rugged beauty, that the story of the 2023 Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest begins.

You see, this contest isn't just about snapping pictures. Oh no, it's about capturing moments that tell the tales of our Earth. The kind of tales that don't need words, just a glance, and suddenly you're there, feeling the heartbeat of the wild.

Agorastos Papatsanis, “Last breath of autumn,” Greece

Take Laurent Ballesta, the chap who won this year. His photo, "The golden horseshoe," is nothing short of magical. Picture this: a horseshoe crab, ancient and mysterious, trudging along the ocean floor. Behind it, a trio of golden trevallies, like tiny underwater suns, dancing in the crab's wake. It's not just a photo; it's a dance of life, caught in a single, fleeting moment.

And you know what's crazy? There were nearly 50,000 entries from all corners of the globe - 95 countries to be exact. Each photo, a window into a world we often forget exists. Like Sriram Murali's shot of fireflies. I tell you, it was like looking into the night sky, each tiny light a star in a vast, inky universe.

Bertie Gregory, “Whales making waves,” U.K.

Or take Fernando Constantino Martínez Belmar's photo that lays bare the tragedy of deforestation. It's a punch in the gut, a stark reminder of what's at stake. These photos, they're not just images; they're stories, pleas, and celebrations of our world.

And guess what? If you're around London, drop by the Natural History Museum. They've got all these winning shots on display till June 30. It's not just an exhibition; it's a journey. You'll walk in, and you'll walk out changed, trust me.

In the end, what strikes me most about the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest is this: it's a call to see, really see, the world around us. To look beyond our screens, our busy lives, and witness the unscripted, breathtaking drama of nature. It's there, in the quiet flap of a butterfly's wing, the fierce gaze of a lion, and the delicate dance of fireflies. It's life, in all its unfiltered glory.

a close up of a hillside next to a body of water
Fernando Constantino Martínez Belmar, “The tourism bulldozer,” Mexico
a bird sitting on top of a grass covered forest
Hadrien Lalagüe, “Silence for the snake show,” France
Mike Korostelev, “Hippo nursery,” Russia
Rachel Bigsby, “The art of courtship,” U.K.
Sriram Murali, “Lights fantastic,” India
Laurent Ballesta, “The ancient mariner,” France