The whimsical moment a gorilla walked through a cloud of butterflies was captured by UK photographer, Anup Shah.
This is just one example of the winning images for the 2021 TNC (The Nature Conservancy) photo contest. Announced last week, these photos inspire wonder and exploration, and help us cast a critical eye over the state of our global environment.
The Grand Prize winner this year is Anup Shah, for his photo of a western lowland gorilla surrounded by butterflies in the Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve in the Central African Republic.
This year’s images were selected by a panel of judges that included renowned American singer-songwriter Ben Folds who said of the winning image, “I like photos that keep dragging you in. The [gorilla’s] face. Tolerance or bliss. It’s really hard to tell and the insects draw you there.”
The People’s Choice award went to Prathamesh Ghadekar of India for a photograph of fireflies congregating around a tree before a monsoon.
After a one-year hiatus due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the photo contest returned with 100,190 photo submissions from a record-breaking 158 countries.
With submissions coming in from around the globe, categories for the contest included:
- people and nature
Although many of the finalists' images inspire beauty and wonder, the environmental state of our planet also made for some stark and striking imagery, reminding us that nature photography in the 21st century can often have an element of tragedy attached.
Founded in 1951, The Nature Conservancy is a non-profit environmental organisation working to save Earth’s land, forests, and oceans.
The annual TNC Photo Contest is a chance to share the wonders of our planet while bringing attention to the work that needs to be done in nature conservation around the world.