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

#1

Category Birds: "Night Hunter" By Jonas Classon (Se)

Category Birds: "Night Hunter" By Jonas Classon (Se)

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Bardhi's Dad
Community Member
1 month ago

Looks like a scene from "Harry Potter", doesn't it

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#2

Category Plants And Fungi: "Spirits Of The Bamboo Forest" By Agorastos Papatsanis (Gr)

Category Plants And Fungi: "Spirits Of The Bamboo Forest" By Agorastos Papatsanis (Gr)

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Loki’s Lil Butter Knife
Community Member
1 month ago

Dizzying heights- really neat use of perspective.

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#3

Category Mammals: "A Quick Sip" By Javier Aznar (Es)

Category Mammals: "A Quick Sip" By Javier Aznar (Es)

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Some Cool Guy
Community Member
1 month ago

Sluuuurp!

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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.”

#4

Category Mammals: "Hareball" By Andrew Parkinson (Gb)

Category Mammals: "Hareball" By Andrew Parkinson (Gb)

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lastof4
Community Member
1 month ago

*think warm thoughts, think warm thoughts, think warm thoughts...*

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#5

Category Birds: "Following Mum" By Oscar Dewhurst (Gb)

Category Birds: "Following Mum" By Oscar Dewhurst (Gb)

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Soap
Community Member
1 month ago

Little fluffs!

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#6

Category Men And Nature: "Crab Road" By Tom Schandy (No)

Category Men And Nature: "Crab Road" By Tom Schandy (No)

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glowworm2
Community Member
1 month ago

What unusual weather they're having.

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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.”

#7

Category Plants And Fungi: Winner: "Blooming Desert" By Marco Gaiotti (It)

Category Plants And Fungi: Winner: "Blooming Desert" By Marco Gaiotti (It)

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Turnip and a Frog
Community Member
1 month ago

This pink is shocking against the bleak background. And it makes sense colour-wise. I like it very much.

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#8

Category The Underwater World: "Constellation Of Eagle Rays" By Henley Spiers (Gb)

Category The Underwater World: "Constellation Of Eagle Rays" By Henley Spiers (Gb)

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Turnip and a Frog
Community Member
1 month ago

I love this one. It’s hard to tell whether it’s a pencil sketch or a photo. It could be butterflies or bird as well. And I love the air of mystery and calmness of the underwater world.

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#9

Category The Underwater World: Runner Up: "Hitch-Hiking Octopus" By Magnus Lundgren (Se)

Category The Underwater World: Runner Up: "Hitch-Hiking Octopus" By Magnus Lundgren (Se)

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Perfumista Perfumista
Community Member
1 month ago

Alien

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#10

Category Birds: "Natural Colours" By Salvador Colvee (Es)

Category Birds: "Natural Colours" By Salvador Colvee (Es)

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Perfumista Perfumista
Community Member
1 month ago

Wow. I would have thought this was a drawing.

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#11

Category The Underwater World: Winner: "Whale Milk" By Mike Korostelev (Ru)

Category The Underwater World: Winner: "Whale Milk" By Mike Korostelev (Ru)

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Perfumista Perfumista
Community Member
1 month ago

awwww!

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#12

Category Other Animals: "Firefly Light Trails In The Rainforest" By Konrad Wothe (De)

Category Other Animals: "Firefly Light Trails In The Rainforest" By Konrad Wothe (De)

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Loki’s Lil Butter Knife
Community Member
1 month ago

Looks magical!

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#13

Category Fritz Pölking Junior Prize: "A Flurry Of Snow" By Florian Smit

Category Fritz Pölking Junior Prize: "A Flurry Of Snow" By Florian Smit

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Bardhi's Dad
Community Member
1 month ago

The photo is beautiful, and the bird is so cute

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#14

Category Young Photographers To 14 Years: Runner Up: "A Home In Pink" By Carlos Perez Naval (Es)

Category Young Photographers To 14 Years: Runner Up: "A Home In Pink" By Carlos Perez Naval (Es)

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Raine Soo
Community Member
1 month ago

I find that this photo is very pretty and tranquil. The birds look as if they are trying to figure out where to put the television.

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#15

Category Birds: Winner: "Penguin Defence" By Ben Cranke (Gb)

Category Birds: Winner: "Penguin Defence" By Ben Cranke (Gb)

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Brigs
Community Member
1 month ago

You cannot jump the Q!

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#16

Category Birds: "Storm Brewing" By Oscar Diez (Es)

Category Birds: "Storm Brewing" By Oscar Diez (Es)

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Aeon Flux
Community Member
1 month ago

And this one looks like an oil painting...

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#17

Category Mammals: "A Study Of Art" By Klaus- Peter Echle (De)

Category Mammals: "A Study Of Art" By Klaus- Peter Echle (De)

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Rowlie
Community Member
1 month ago

This could make a wonderful tattoo

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#18

Category Plants And Fungi: "Swamp Colours" By Mauro Battistelli (It)

Category Plants And Fungi: "Swamp Colours" By Mauro Battistelli (It)

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Bardhi's Dad
Community Member
1 month ago

This is so impressive and powerful! I almost can't believe it's real. Great work of nature and beautiful photo... I admire both of them - Nature and Art

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#19

Category Young Photographer 15 To 17 Years: Runner Up: "Musketeers" By Grzegorz Dlugosz (Pl)

Category Young Photographer 15 To 17 Years: Runner Up: "Musketeers" By Grzegorz Dlugosz (Pl)

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Brigs
Community Member
1 month ago

Stunning!

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#20

Category Other Animals: Runner Up: "Curious Glances" By Manuel Plaickner (It)

Category Other Animals: Runner Up: "Curious Glances" By Manuel Plaickner (It)

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Perfumista Perfumista
Community Member
1 month ago

Detective Toad has you discretely under surveillance.

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#21

Category Men And Nature: "The New Lighthouse Keepers" By Audun Rikardsen (No)

Category Men And Nature: "The New Lighthouse Keepers" By Audun Rikardsen (No)

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Bardhi's Dad
Community Member
1 month ago

I don't see man here. And I wonder why...

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#22

Category Men And Nature: Winner: "Empathy" By Marcus Westberg (Es)

Category Men And Nature: Winner: "Empathy" By Marcus Westberg (Es)

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Brigs
Community Member
1 month ago

That is so sad to see them in captivity like that

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#23

Category Young Photographers To 14 Years: Winner: "Backlight" By Andres Domingues Blanco (Es)

Category Young Photographers To 14 Years: Winner: "Backlight" By Andres Domingues Blanco (Es)

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Bardhi's Dad
Community Member
1 month ago

"Latest report from the ground: Everything's under control in my area. Nothing to worry about here..."

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#24

Category Nature´s Studio: Winner: "Galaxy" By Thomas Hempelmann (De)

Category Nature´s Studio: Winner: "Galaxy" By Thomas Hempelmann (De)

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Soap
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Holy cheezits. That's beautiful.

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#25

Category Birds: "Strange Encounters" By Hannes Klostermann (De)

Category Birds: "Strange Encounters" By Hannes Klostermann (De)

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Monika Soffronow
Community Member
1 month ago

Some fish can fly and some birds are great underwater swimmers. And some humans are very good photographers.

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#26

Category Nature´s Studio: "Owl Forest" By Bertold Nagy (Hu)

Category Nature´s Studio: "Owl Forest" By Bertold Nagy (Hu)

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Neil Srivatsa
Community Member
1 month ago

Beautiful colors on the owl

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#27

Category Men And Nature: "Saving Orang-Utans" By Alain Schroeder (Be)

Category Men And Nature: "Saving Orang-Utans" By Alain Schroeder (Be)

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Linda Williams
Community Member
1 month ago

Poor little sweetheart 😢

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#28

Category Men And Nature: "Busy Lines" By Pere Soler Isern (Es)

Category Men And Nature: "Busy Lines" By Pere Soler Isern (Es)

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Tinley's Aunt
Community Member
1 month ago

The spirit of Alfred Hitchcock lingers nearby...

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#29

Category Other Animals: "In A Hat" By Katarzyna Gubrynowicz (Pl)

Category Other Animals: "In A Hat" By Katarzyna Gubrynowicz (Pl)

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Bardhi's Dad
Community Member
1 month ago

Wow! This looks to me like some creature with the face of rhino, eyes of snail, and the pearl shell in the back. I'm not high, I swear

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#30

Category Plants And Fungi: "Wrapped" By Theo Bosboom (Nl)

Category Plants And Fungi: "Wrapped" By Theo Bosboom (Nl)

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Soap
Community Member
1 month ago

Nope, no thanks. Beautiful, but I'll stay here at home.

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Note: this post originally had 87 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

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