The moment (2010 competition) by Bridgena Barnard

The moment (winner, Mammals, 2010) © Bridgena Barnard

Women in wildlife photography

Meet the female photographers documenting wildlife and conservation issues across the globe.

Far fewer women than men enter the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, let alone win the grand title. But their work is moving, thought-provoking and vital for conservation efforts.

Bridgena Barnard

South African photographer Bridgena Barnard won in the Mammals category in 2010.

She took this dramatic image of cheetahs attacking a springbok in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa.

Bridgena had discovered that three cheetah brothers had a favourite dune in the desert for hunting. She knew the shot she wanted. By driving to the spot at dawn on Christmas Day, she captured the moment that a kill was made.

Speaking about the work of a lifetime, Bridgena says, 'Why do I do this? To live my life to the fullest as an artist, photographer, educator, conservationist and an example to my kids.'

Marina Cano

Heaven on Earth (2015 competition) © Marina Cano

Heaven on Earth (finalist, Mammals, 2015) © Marina Cano

 

Marina became a professional photographer when she was 17. She has published several books, and her work has been exhibited in South Africa, Spain, England, Korea and Cuba.

In this image, Heaven on Earth, giraffes in Namibia stop to drink alongside a black rhino. In the fading light, only their reflected silhouettes are visible.

Inspired to capture the dreamy atmosphere but avoid 'just another sunset shot', Marina flipped the image to show the animals the right way up.

Cherry Alexander

Blue ice and penguins (Grand Title winner, 1995)

Blue ice and penguins (grand title winner, 1995) © Cherry Alexander

 

Cherry won the grand title in 1995 for her shot of a blue iceberg off the South Sandwich Islands in Antarctica.

Towering ancient ice provides the frame for a group of Chinstrap penguins. Sightings of blue icebergs were rare at the time, although they are more common now.

Sandra Bartocha

The magical forest (2010 competition) © Sandra Bartocha

The magical forest (runner-up, Creative Visions, 2010) © Sandra Bartocha

 

Sandra specialises in landscapes and plants. This image was taken in Gespensterwald ('ghostly forest'), an old beech forest near Nienhagen, Germany.

After a heavy snowfall in January, Sandra spent the day alone in the forest. When it started to get dark and the snow began to fall again, she had the chance to create the surreal composition she hoped for, with the trees disappearing into snow and a curtain of large, magical flakes falling in the foreground.

Heart's delight (finalist, Plants, 2016)

Heart's delight (finalist, Plants, 2016) © Sandra Bartocha

 

Sandra was also a finalist in 2016 with this image of a Cotswold pennycress, taken on the Swedish island of Öland.

The Cotswold pennycress produces clusters of tiny, white flowers in spring, which ripen into delicate, heart-shaped seedpods.

This species grows in limestone soils and old walls throughout Europe. However, it is becoming increasingly rare due to the removal of marginal land and use of herbicides.

Jennifer Guyton

The collaborators

The collaborators (finalist, The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image, 2016) © Jennifer Guyton

 

Since graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Jennifer has spent more than four years working in Africa.

She has a master's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University and is currently working on her PhD in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique.

She took this image in South Africa while working with the Kalahari Meerkat Project. Jennifer wanted to document academic research and 'what it's like to interact closely with these fascinating and beautiful animals'. 

Ashleigh Scully

Mama's back (finalist, 11–14 Years Old, 2015)

Mama's back (finalist, 11–14 Years Old, 2015) © Ashleigh Scully

 

Ashleigh Scully became a Young Finalist in 2015, in the category for 11- to 14-year-olds. She wants to use photography to educate people about the importance of wildlife conservation.

Ashleigh spotted these fox cubs romping around outside a cabin in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

When the female emerged from the trees, the cubs bounded over to smother their exhausted-looking mother with caring nibbles.

Britta Jaschinski

Broken cats (winner, The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image, 2015) © Britta Jaschinski

Broken cats (winner, The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: Single Image, 2015) © Britta Jaschinski

 

Born in Germany and based in London, Britta learnt about photography while working in advertising. She still photographs for animal charity advertising campaigns.

Britta's work has been published and exhibited around the world and has garnered a number of awards.

This image was taken in Guilin, China in 2012. The cats had been drugged, their teeth and claws pulled out, and they were controlled during the show by poles with metal spikes at the end.

Audiences are often unaware of the level of cruelty involved - so photographers like Britta perform a vital role.

On women in the field, Britta says, 'There are so many women out there who have got fantastic work. I see it all the time at festivals, at exhibitions and in books - brilliant images.

'Often when I ask these female photographers if they have entered any of this work in competitions, they say no. Why? Is it a confidence thing? I don't know.

'There is so much great work out there and it would be wonderful to see more women winning this competition.'

Visit the exhibition

Enjoy the world's best nature photography at Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Open until 10 September.

Visit the exhibition

Enjoy the world's best nature photography at Wildlife Photographer of the Year.