The British Wildlife Photography Awards (BWPA) 2017 exhibition launched last weekend at The Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, showcasing a range of images from a somersaulting otter to ethereal dawn woodlands by amateur and professional photographers of all ages.
With photographs capturing an expanse of the British countryside from the Shetland Islands to back gardens in Essex, the winning image, “Heathrow Roosting”, shows a pied wagtail backlit by Christmas lights in Terminal 5 of the airport.
Daniel Trim, 30, is an amateur photographer and the overall winner of the BWPA 2017. Trim, a clinical researcher from Hertfordshire, told East London Lines he was “absolutely over the moon” with his win. He added: “It’s really surprising how much wildlife there is in central London and all the boroughs.
“Don’t underestimate how good London is for photography. London’s parks are brilliant for wildlife and that would be my main advice for people in Lewisham or in London. Don’t underestimate how good the parks are and make the most of them being on your doorstep.”
The BWPA exhibition coincides with Lewisham Council’s promotion of #LoveItLewisham; a campaign encouraging residents to take part in local creative projects as part of Lewisham’s bid to become the London Borough of Culture.
#LoveItLewisham was launched on September 7 at The Horniman Museum and Gardens following the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s new initiative London Borough of Culture, devised to support arts projects across London.
Trim told ELL: “For urban [photography], it’s easier to get close to wildlife, so you spend more time trying to be creative with natural light or street light. It gives you more flexibility to be creative.”
Khan also began his own enterprise to encourage cultural creativity on a local level alongside LoveItLewisham, launching last week a filmmaking competition ‘My Local Culture’, designed to encourage filmmaking by young Londoners. The submission requires a film of three minutes, with the footage taken in and/or about their local borough.
Khan said: “This is a great chance for young Londoners to tell us what they love about their local area and why they think their borough should be London Borough of Culture.”
The BWPA exhibition spread across 15 categories, with prizes ranging from cameras and equipment to £5,000. Within the categories, two are dedicated solely to junior contributors under 18 to recognise young talent across the country, with the youngest category winner, Oliver Teasdale, aged 10. His photograph, “Puffin in a Hole”, shows the eye of an Atlantic puffin peering through foliage on Skokholm Island in Pembrokeshire.
Trim said: “I’ve always been a wildlife lover ever since I can remember and [my interest in] photography came from that when I was about 10. [Oliver’s] photo is much better than what I produced at the age 10.
“[Photography] gives kids something to do, to channel their creativity. It’s a hobby that gets you out and about which is important to get people out in the green spaces.”
In the exhibition’s accompanying book British Wildlife Photography Awards 8, published by Ammonite Press, the BWPA Director Maggie Gowan wrote: “The driving motivation to set up the Awards evolved through the nation’s growing awareness of the local environment and the need for its protection.”
East London Lines reported last week on residents anger at Lewisham council’s tree felling programme in Beckenham Place Park. On Twitter, residents are questioning the alleged destruction of healthy trees, particularly prevalent following the recent report that Lewisham’s air pollution is up to six times higher than WHO regulation guidelines.