Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition opens at Centre for Life in Newcastle

County Durham pair's work highlighted as top wildlife picture exhibition comes to Tyneside

Michael Nichols The sleeping lions winning image by Michael Nichols - the winning inage in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition
The sleeping lions winning image by Michael Nichols - the winning inage in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition

An exhibition which has opened on Tyneside reflects the soaring interest in wildlife photography.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition celebrates its 50th anniversary with the best of the 2014 entries on show at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle, until April 19.

On display will be the winning pictures along with over 100 of the shortlisted images spanning the competition’s 14 categories.

The competition first took place in 1965 when it received 361 entrants with C V R Dowdeswell winning with his image of an owl.

In the latest competition American photographer, Michael Nichols beat more than 42,000 entries from 96 countries to be named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 for his black-and-white image of lions resting with their cubs in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.

David Gibbon Fox with meal, by David Gibbon
Fox with meal, by David Gibbon
 

Among those taking in the exhibition will be the growing ranks of the North East’s wildlife photographers who provided 1,289 entries to last year’s wildlife photography competition run by the wildlife trusts of Northumberland, Durham, Tees Valley and the Natural History Society of Northumbria.

Also making a date will be County Durham wildlife photography couple David and Louise Gibbon, who have held three exhibitions of their work over the last year.

The images captured by the husband and wife team from Coxhoe have been on show at the Bowlees vis tor centre in Teesdale, The Witham at Barnard Castle and can be currently seen at the WWT Washington Wetland Centre until the end of this month.

David, 40, works at Durham Passport Office and Louise, 37, at Durham County Council.

A visit five years ago to the RSPB’s Saltholme nature reserve centre on Teesside inspired the couple to take up wildlife photography.

David Gibbon Kingfishers by David Gibbon
Kingfishers by David Gibbon
 

“We bought a basic camera and progressed from there, and we have since taken thousands of images. We are out most weekends and when we have leave,” says David.

His work has won him finalist and highly commended honours in the Mammal Photographer of the Year competition and a highly commended in the International Photographer of the Year contest in the United States while Louise is a finalist in this year’s Countryfile Magazine Photographer of the Year.

For a gallery of the couple’s work go to www.davidandlouisephotography.com

To celebrate the 50th anniversary at the Life Science Centre, competition historic images will also be displayed and a short film will tell the story of the event and the changes in nature photography over the past half century. 

The competition is co-owned by the Natural History Museum, London, and BBC Worldwide..

Linda Conlon, chief executive of the Centre for Life, said: “This exhibition features some of the finest images of the natural world and we’re thrilled to be bringing it to Newcastle.

David Gibbon Arctic tern pictured at the Farne Islands by David Gibbon
Arctic tern pictured at the Farne Islands by David Gibbon
 

“The competition harnesses the power of photography to inspire greater understanding of the natural world and to encourage the conservation of its beauty and diversity for future generations. 

“The exhibition helps the photographers spread their message to a global audience, and enables visitors to witness a collection of the world’s greatest images of nature, and hopefully be inspired to think differently about wildlife, and maybe even enter the competition themselves.” 

*Readers of The Journal are invited to send their own wildlife photographs in to Life Science Centre, with a closing date of January 24.

Five winners will each receive a pair of tickets to the exhibition and a copy of the book,  50 Years of Wildlife Photographer of the Year: How Wildlife Photography Became Art.

Send entries to info@life.org.uk 

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