A spectacular natural world captured with the click of a shutter

One of the nation’s most eye-opening photographic exhibitions has ventured outside London and has set up home in Ipswich. The annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is run by The Natural History Museum and the BBC Wildlife Magazine and attracts entries from some of the best wildlife photographers from around the globe.

The exhibition has spread its wings and left London for the first time and is currently on show at the Ipswich Town Hall galleries. More than 100 prize-winning prints are on show and represent the very best that the profession has to offer.

Viewing the exhibition, it is difficult not to be bowled over by the spectacular nature of the images on show or by the sheer diversity of the subject matter. From tiny ants, to fast-winged birds in a feeding frenzy, to a huge, majestic shark, all the short-listed photographers have managed to conjure some breath-taking shots. The exhibition has an inspirational effect. It makes you want to rush home, grab your camera and start taking pictures yourself. It is only then, of course, that you realise the skill that has gone into getting these magnificent pictures.

The much coveted title of Veolia Environment Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010 was awarded to Hungarian photographer Bence M�t� for his image ‘A marvel of ants’, a simple shot that captures the complexity of the behaviour of leaf-cutter ants in the Costa Rican rainforest.

Mark Carwardine, Chairman of the judging panel commented on the winning photograph saying, “Imaginative, well-executed and striking, this is a picture that jumps out at you. Deceptively simple, yet with so much going on, it forces the eye to explore every single corner.”

Andrew Cann, Ipswich Borough Council, Culture Portfolio Holder said, “Being the first venue for the UK tour is a real coup for Ipswich and we hope that the local community and visitors to the region will enjoy this rare opportunity to experience this collection of inspirational photography drawn from around the world.”

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is now in its 46th year and is an international showcase for the very best nature photography. Mr Cann added: “This is a large scale exhibition in the heart of the town centre for all to enjoy. There are over 100 photographs from the competition’s 18 categories in a visually stunning and inspiring exhibition that debuted at the Natural History Museum, London and is now on the first stop of its tour - in Ipswich! Providing this exhibition to the public demonstrates the benefits of this unique museum partnership that both Ipswich and Colchester Borough Council have.”

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Marie Taylor, from Ipswich and Colchester Museum Services, said that they were looking for a high profile exhibition to appeal to a wide ranging audience when word reached them that this leading photographic exhibition was looking for a home outside London. “We knew this was too an opportunity to pass up. “The fact that we were a large-scale service gave our application credence as they were only interested in major venues. We also wanted to relate the exhibition to our museums collections of natural history at The Ipswich High Street Museum and our collection at the Natural History Museum in Colchester. But, equally importantly, giving access to photography which fits with us supporting the arts and giving the opportunity for the eastern region to see this national exhibition without having to go to London.“

The exhibition is at the Ipswich Town Hall Galleries from Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm until February 25 2011. Admission is free.

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