A French underwater biologist and photographer was named this year Wildlife Photographer of the Year from the Natural History Museum.
Laurent Ballesta was selected as the winner of the competition following the submission of his creation “enigmatic image”, which captures camouflaged groupers emerging from their milky cloud of eggs and sperm in Fakarava, French Polynesia.
For the past five years, Mr. Ballesta and his team have returned to the lagoon, diving day and night so as not to miss the annual spawning which only occurs around the full moon in July.
Her image was selected from over 50,000 entries from 95 countries and was named the winner in a virtual awards ceremony at the Natural History Museum in central London.
Jury chairperson, writer and editor Rosamund “Roz” Kidman Cox said, “The image works on so many levels. He is surprising, energetic and intriguing, and has an otherworldly beauty.
“It also captures a magical moment – a truly explosive life creation – leaving the end of the Egg Exodus hanging for a moment like a symbolic question mark.”
Meanwhile, Vidyun R Hebbar was named Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 at the ceremony.
The colorful image of the 10-year-old, Dome home, shows a tent spider as a tuk-tuk passes.
The two winners were chosen from a total of 19 categories that aim to celebrate the natural world.
Three new categories were introduced this year, Natural Artistry, Oceans – The Bigger Picture and Wetlands – The Bigger Picture.
A total of 100 images from the competition will be exhibited at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum.
It opened on October 15th before touring across the UK and overseas.