You may have noticed a series of display units dotted along the pavement of Brighton seafront, inbetween the piers, looking especially magnificent when illuminated at night… Wild Planet features 80 of the most spectacular images taken from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year – the prestigious annual wildlife photography competition that has done much over the years to promote the extraordinary diversity of wildlife found on our planet.
“The team that manage and develop the competition felt that there should be a new format,” says Sharon Ament, Director of Public Engagement at the Natural History Museum, who organised this touring exhibition that will visit a number of other locations in the UK over the next few years. “Brighton was the right place to start this tour, especially the seafront location.”
Each large-scale image is captioned with the story of how they were taken, alongside insights into the species captured on film, with the aim of inspiring and educating a new generation of wildlife photographers, nature enthusiasts and the general public alike.
“The Natural History Museum is there to help people understand and care for the natural world,” says Sharon. “You get a sense of empathy for the natural world when looking at these images.”
The photographs are free to enjoy throughout the day and are illuminated at night for people to view while taking an evening stroll along the promenade. The remarkable ‘Starling Flock Above West Pier’, taken by James Warnock, while the West Pier was still standing, seems to sit perfectly comfortably alongside the remains of the real West Pier, just a matter of yards away. More incongruous, but just as fantastic, is Jeff Yonover’s underwater elephant image (pictured).
And Sharon’s favourite?
“The Dalmatian Pelican,” she says without hesitation. “I’ve got a picture of it in my office, looking at me. It’s an image of the bird waking up, its one eye opened looks wise and knowing, and checking up on me!”
Wild Planet, King’s Road, Brighton. Daily, with exhibition lit from dusk until 11pm at night. Until 26 September.