South African photographer Greg du Toit has been announced as Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 in an awards ceremony hosted by the prestigious annual competition.
Greg won with his image Essence of elephants, a mysterious and energetic portrait of African Elephants in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve of Botswana. Five other South African photographers have also been awarded for their images, including Brent Stirton who won the competition’s Wildlife Photojournalist Award for his photo story God’s ivory on illegal ivory trading and Isak Pretorius won the Bird Behaviour category. All images were awarded by the international panel of judges.
The images will take centre stage at the exhibition, opening on 18 October at the Natural History Museum in London. They will feature alongside Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner Udayan Rao Pawar and other winning images to form the world-renowned show of 100 breathtaking photographs. Co-owned by the Natural History Museum, London, and BBC Worldwide, the competition is fiercely contested and this year attracted almost 43 000 entries from across 96 countries.
Chair of the judging panel, accomplished wildlife photographer Jim Brandenburg said of Greg’s winning image: “Greg’s image immediately catapults us to African plains. This image stood out for both its technical excellence and the unique moment it captures – it is truly a once in a lifetime shot.” He added: “These talented photographers have made capturing wildlife on camera a true art form. They have given us a rare glimpse into moments in nature and places on our Earth that are constantly changing but, through their photographs, can be enjoyed by future generations. I am honoured to be a part of such an important competition.”
The acclaimed show celebrates the rich array of life on our planet. As environmental change impacts the systems upon which life depends, the exhibition reflects the beauty of our world while also highlighting its fragility.
“A regular contributor to Africa Geographic, Greg’s work has delighted our readers for almost eight years. It’s a huge privilege to present his photographs in the magazine (his most recent portfolio, ‘Magic hours’, appeared in July 2013) and I’m delighted that he has achieved wildlife photography’s most prestigious accolade – it is richly deserved. Well done!” – Sarah Borchert, editor of Africa Geographic Magazine.