A striking image of the preserved body of the famous tortoise Lonesome George has taken top spot in the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2018, and a gallery of beautiful shortlisted entries are available to view.
“I believe that George’s body is a powerful reminder to humankind as to how our actions can be devastating to animals”
The ‘Overall Winner’ of the prestigious competition was taken by 17-year-old Lucy Hutton from Northumberland. The powerful picture features the Pinta Island Galapagos tortoise, whose death marked the final extinction of his species. Lucy captured Lonesome George in the temperature-controlled room in the Charles Darwin Research Centre in the Galapagos, then entered him into the new Human Impact on Animals category.
Lucy said, “I’m so happy that my picture won. I am passionate about the conservation of endangered species and I believe that George’s body is a powerful reminder to humankind as to how our actions can be devastating to animals.
“It was quite a challenge to get this shot. I only had six minutes to get a photo without people in it, so just before we had to move on, I ran to the back of the room hoping to get the shot I’d imagined – and I did!”
Young people aged up to 18 were invited to capture the animal kingdom on camera or on their mobile device for this year’s awards. Lucy managed to beat off fierce competition with her photo that was singled out from the thousands of entries. The Overall Winner was chosen from the winners of nine categories including; Under 12 years, 12–15 years, 16–18 years, Portfolio, Picture Perfect Pets, The Human Impact on Animals and Mobile Phone and Devices.
The winning images across nine categories, including three different age groups, were announced during an awards ceremony hosted by wildlife expert and TV presenter Chris Packham at the Tower of London yesterday (Wednesday 19 December).
Judge and awards host Chris Packham said, “This photo of Lonesome George really stood out to all of us as it was a very powerful winning image. It told the story of species extinction through the tragic tale of an iconic creature which is recognised across the world.
“Taken in black and white, and by someone so young really increased its impact. The picture was very graphic, beautifully composed and was a stark reminder of the impact that humans can have on the natural world.
“I’ve been judging the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards since they started. It’s exciting to see it move with the times, particularly with a new category this year showing the human impact on animals and the welcome return of a pets category.
“We’re also pleased that the Mobile Phone and Devices category continues, because as no separate camera is required, this has really opened up the competition to almost anyone.”
Amongst the winners was the eye-catching picture ‘Best Friends’ which was singled out for the Judges’ Special Mention as well as winning the Under 12 Mobile Phone and Devices category. The close-up features the eyes of pet dog Willow and her owner Millie. Runner-up for the Picture Perfect Pets category was 17-year-old Sophie Bramall from Stafford, who captured an amusing picture of a pet cat enjoying a spray of water and called it ‘The fountain of life’.
Reflecting on the strength of the competition this year, Chris Packham added, “It’s nice to see so many creative photos of people’s pets and a range of wildlife in such a strong competition. It needs real imagination to make commonplace species interesting, showing that the photographer has been really innovative.
“The fantastic images we have seen this year range from creatures in the desert and pets at play to animals just getting on with their life in the wild. The competition is a great way for young people to go out and experience the environment around them.
“There are some beautiful pictures in this year’s winners’ gallery, with real talent shining through. This year’s entrants have been really creative and that is what we wanted to see.”
You can view all the winning images in the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2018 gallery.
Images by RSPCA