‘Enigmatic image’ sees French biologist named Wildlife Photographer of the Year

A French biologist and underwater photographer was named Nature Photographer of the Year by the Natural History Museum this year.

Laurent Ballesta was named the competition winner after submitting his “Enigmatic Image” Creation, which shows stealth groupers exiting 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 happens around the full moon in July.

His picture was selected from more than 50,000 submissions from 95 countries and was chosen as the winner at a virtual award ceremony in the Natural History Museum in central London.

Jury chairwoman, writer and editor Rosamund “Roz” Kidman Cox said, “The image works on so many levels. It’s surprising, energetic, and fascinating, and has an unearthly beauty.

“It also captures a magical moment – a truly explosive creation of life – and for a moment leaves the end of the Exodus of Eggs hanging like a symbolic question mark.”

Meanwhile, Vidyun R. Hebbar was named Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021 at the ceremony.

The colorful picture of the 10-year-old, Dome home, shows a tent spider while a tuk-tuk drives past.

The two winners were selected from a total of 19 categories that aim to celebrate nature.

This year three new categories were introduced including Oceans – The Bigger Picture and Wetlands – The Bigger Picture.

A total of 100 images from the competition will be on display in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition in the Natural History Museum.

It opens on October 15th before touring the UK and internationally.

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