Time is running short as the stunning wildlife images displayed as part of an exclusive showing of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit at the Detroit Zoo vanish from our view with the show’s close on April 26.
I’ve seen this annual show several times at the zoo, and it never fails to inspire and incite as photographers from around the globe bring the world to us in the form of more than 80 beautiful and often thought-provoking, images of nature.
Images range the lighthearted like Stefano Unterthiner’s close up of a quizzical black-crested primate the photographer nicknamed “Troublemaker” to David Maitland’s the truly troubling image of an endangered black colobus monkey in Gabon consigned to a fire in preparation for its illegal sale as bushmeat.
In between those extremes, the show offers plenty of beautifully serene images of landscapes around the world, juxtaposed with photos capturing wildlife at work and play, as well as images depicting the often difficult struggle between nature and man to peacefully coexist—or their failure to do so.
Captions thoughtfully detail photographers’ stories of capturing these images and often explain their thoughts on the significance of wildlife and its place in our world.
The BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year show, established 40 years ago, drew 32,351 entries for the 2008 competition. This year’s exhibit consists of 83 winning images taken by 72 photographers from 28 countries.
We’re incredibly fortunate to have this exhibit in the Detroit area, where the zoo began hosting it five years ago. Stops at the Detroit Zoo and the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, Canada constitute the entire North American leg of this tour, which features numerous stops in Europe.
The exhibit’s illuminated large-format images give the photographs an amazing depth and realism that many conventional photographic prints just can’t duplicate. Displayed in the zoo’s softly-lit Ford Education Center, the back-lit wildlife images seem ready to leap from the walls while the landscape scenes draw you right into them.
It’s easy to spend a couple of hours at the exhibit, lingering before each beautiful image. It’s a more difficult act to follow when you’re inspired to take your own camera out to shoot photos in the zoo, trying to capture images even remotely as beautiful and affecting as the images included in the exhibit.
Love photography? Love wildlife? Concerned about the interaction of humans and their environment? You need to see this show.
Really. Go. Now.
The exhibit is at the Detroit Zoo’s Ford Education Center until April 26, 2009 and is free with regular zoo admission.
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