The winners of the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards 2022 have just been announced, from the staggering number of images that were submitted this year. Across the 10 categories which include birds, underwater world, landscape, and nature, more than 18,000 images were entered from 35 countries across Europe. All were hoping to take that prestigious first place.
Over the course of three days, the international jury decided that Russian photographer Mike Korostelev should be crowned the overall winner for his photos of a family of hippos swimming at a saltwater lake in South Africa. Using an underwater drone, Korostelev spent a lot of time observing and recording these graceful giants who are generally not very social. Felix Heintzberg, one of the jury members explains the jury’s decision; “We had many agreements and disagreements, but our very different photographic backgrounds were what led to the final choices and decisions, sometimes after having followed a long and winding road”
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He continued, “ This year's overall winning picture of the hippos by Mike Korostelev is such a photograph. It conveys something we have never seen before, as well as presence, interaction, and drama."
Across the 10 categories, an extremely diverse array of images were submitted covering all styles from the very realistic to the slightly more artistic but each highlight an incredible creature or landscape. In the bird's category, first palace was awarded to German photographer Jan Leßmann, the mammal's category was won by Italian photographer Milo Angelo Ramella while Tibor Litauszki from Hungary claimed the top spot in the other animal category for his photo of a butterfly.
Italian photographer Salvo Orlando impressed the judges with his image of flowers blooming on the slopes of Mount Etna, Pål Hermansen from Norway placed first in the Landscapes category with a stunning aerial shot of titles Winter is Coming and Polish photographer Jacob Degee triumphed in the underwater world category. Dutch photographer Theo Bosboom took home first prize in the Men and Nature category and GDT member Simone Baumeister took home the coveted first spot in the Nature's Studio competition.
Representing budding young wildlife photographers was Spanish photographer Adria Mas-Escandell who won first palace in the under-14 categories while Anton Trexler from Germany came first in the 15 - 17 years old category.
As well as the standard categories there are also two special awards: The Fritz Pölking Prize (FPP) recognizes outstanding work from a photographer dedicated to a particular project while the Rewilding Award which was new this year commends a photographer who has documented a rewilding project. Jan Leßmann who also won the birds category came first in the FPP for his project Lockdown Heron while young Dutch photographers David Hup and Michiel van won the The Fritz Pölking Junior Prize.
Joshi Nichell was awarded first place in the rewilding category and will win a trip to a region managed by rewilding Europe worth €1 500 while second and third place was awarded to Peter Fodor and Matthew Maran respectively.
For the first time since the pandemic, an in-person award ceremony took place on October 28 during the International Nature Photography Festival with sponsorship from Canon, Nikon, AC-Foto, Sigma and many more. All first and second-place winners received a cash prize of 800.500 euros while the overall winner was awarded 3,000.
The photos will now be part of a touring exhibition traveling through Germany and Europe, starting at the German Horse Museum in Verden on December 6, 2022. To find out how to get tickets or to see if the exhibition is coming to a city near you, check out the GDT website (opens in new tab).
Scroll down to see a selection of this year's winning photos
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