More than 19,000 photos from 38 countries were submitted to this year’s contest held by The German Society for Nature Photography (GDT). The winners of the prestigious European Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest were awarded on Thursday, October 22 in the first virtual award ceremony.
And one photograph stood out from the rest. It was Jasper Doest’s “A Monkey’s Mask,” a moving snap that shows a Japanese macaque removing a human mask in between performances for a human crowd. Photographed at a sake house in north Tokyo, the picture “silently talks to us by questioning humans dealing with wild animals and nature.” Thus, it justly won the award of the overall winner.
Scroll through the rest of the winner photographs down below to see the ever-changing beauty (and pain) of the living world around us.
More info: GDTfoto.de
Category Plants And Fungi: "Spirits Of The Bamboo Forest" By Agorastos Papatsanis (Gr)
Category Mammals: "A Quick Sip" By Javier Aznar (Es)
The overall winner, Jasper Doest, took the moving photograph of a monkey wearing a human mask in a traditional Japanese sake house north of Tokyo. The artist explained that after dinner, the tavern’s guests can watch Japanese macaques performing tricks with various props on a makeshift stage.
“In the old days, the Japanese macaque or snow monkey was a sacred religious symbol, known to mediate between gods and humans. Today, the animal has been reduced to a secular scapegoat, a defaced outcast, and target of mockery.”
This photo is part of Jasper’s larger series of photos that he shot for National Geographic called “Sacred No More.” According to the artist’s website, “The Japanese macaque, best known as the ‘snow monkey,’ is revered as a bridge between man and the gods, but it has become so habituated to humans in recent years that its population has increased tenfold.”
Category Birds: "Following Mum" By Oscar Dewhurst (Gb)
One member of the jury, Angel Fitorthis, said that Jasper’s photo is, in fact, the icon of our time. On behalf of the jury, he stated: “A macaque on stage takes off his mask in front of a fake forest. As the mask slips, the wall of arrogance that we have built between us and nature over many centuries suddenly collapses. Never before has a portrait of an animal mirrored us like this: a naked monkey behind a human mask.”
Category Plants And Fungi: Winner: "Blooming Desert" By Marco Gaiotti (It)
Category The Underwater World: "Constellation Of Eagle Rays" By Henley Spiers (Gb)
Category The Underwater World: Runner Up: "Hitch-Hiking Octopus" By Magnus Lundgren (Se)
Category Birds: "Natural Colours" By Salvador Colvee (Es)
Category The Underwater World: Winner: "Whale Milk" By Mike Korostelev (Ru)
Category Other Animals: "Firefly Light Trails In The Rainforest" By Konrad Wothe (De)
Category Fritz Pölking Junior Prize: "A Flurry Of Snow" By Florian Smit
Category Young Photographers To 14 Years: Runner Up: "A Home In Pink" By Carlos Perez Naval (Es)
Category Birds: Winner: "Penguin Defence" By Ben Cranke (Gb)
Category Birds: "Storm Brewing" By Oscar Diez (Es)
Category Mammals: "A Study Of Art" By Klaus- Peter Echle (De)
Category Plants And Fungi: "Swamp Colours" By Mauro Battistelli (It)
Category Young Photographer 15 To 17 Years: Runner Up: "Musketeers" By Grzegorz Dlugosz (Pl)
Category Other Animals: Runner Up: "Curious Glances" By Manuel Plaickner (It)
Category Men And Nature: "The New Lighthouse Keepers" By Audun Rikardsen (No)
Category Men And Nature: Winner: "Empathy" By Marcus Westberg (Es)
Category Young Photographers To 14 Years: Winner: "Backlight" By Andres Domingues Blanco (Es)
Category Nature´s Studio: Winner: "Galaxy" By Thomas Hempelmann (De)
Category Birds: "Strange Encounters" By Hannes Klostermann (De)
Category Nature´s Studio: "Owl Forest" By Bertold Nagy (Hu)
Category Men And Nature: "Saving Orang-Utans" By Alain Schroeder (Be)
Category Men And Nature: "Busy Lines" By Pere Soler Isern (Es)
Category Other Animals: "In A Hat" By Katarzyna Gubrynowicz (Pl)
Category Plants And Fungi: "Wrapped" By Theo Bosboom (Nl)
Note: this post originally had 87 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.