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"BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2001"
2001-12-11 until 2002-01-19
Bristol Museums and Art Gallery
Bristol, , UK United Kingdom

This exhibition presents stunning, moving and challenging entries to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Organised by BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum, London. The Competition was launched in 1964 by Animals, the precursor of BBC Wildlife Magazine, with just three categories, mammals, birds, and other animals. With 500 entries in those days, compared to the 19,000 recieved in 2001, the images were really record shots of species. The Competition has been awarding the best wildlife photographers for 37 years.

In 1981 the magazine now called Wildlife decided to extend the scope of the Competition not only to find new photographers but also to raise the status of wildlife photography. Now aesthetics was added to the main judging criteria and an emphasis was placed on photographs taken under wild and free conditions. The range of categories was also extended and the Competition was opened up to young people aged 17 and under to encourage a new generation of photographers. The Competition was still relatively small, judging took place in Eric Hosking's house and the first exhibition took place in a small London gallery.

It wasn't until 1984 when the partnership between The Natural History Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine was formed, that the Competition took on a life of its own. Now with a high profile venue at The Natural History Museum many more people were able to see the photographs in their full glory. It also became possible to host a full awards ceremony, flying in our overseas winners to receive their prizes from an impressive gathering of wildlife celebrities, who over the years have included Sir David Attenborough, Sir Peter Scott, Gerald Durrell, David Bellamy, Simon King, Virginia McKenna, and Charlotte Uhlenbroek.

The exhibition of the winning images has proved very popular and in 1987 it was offered as a touring event to museums and art galleries in the UK. It now tours over 30 venues across the UK. Year by year the reputation of the competition spread, attracting not only amateur photographers but also top professionals such as Frans Lanting, Jim Brandenburg, and Thomas Mangelsen, making this a truly international event. There is now also a number of worldwide tours visiting countries such as the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, France and Spain.

Today there are fourteen adult categories and three junior categories with awards for the overall winner and the junior overall winner. Since 1984 winners have come from India, Germany, Finland, USA, South Africa, Liechtenstein, The Netherlands and the UK. Throughout the years the competition has received financial support from a number of large organizations. This year we are delighted to celebrate 12 consecutive years of sponsorship from BG Group. We would like to thank BG Group for their great commitment and look forward to a successful future.

The BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition is undoubtedly the largest and most prestigious wildlife photography competition in the world and is an unforgettable experience for all participants, visitors to the exhibition and wildlife lovers alike.

Mervin D. Coleman (United States of America)
American Bison De-frosting

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