Renowned French underwater photographer and marine biologist, Laurent Ballesta, has clinched the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023 award with a stunning photograph capturing the essence of a tri-spine horseshoe crab. The winning snapshot, taken off the coast of Pangatalan Island in the Philippines, triumphed over an impressive pool of nearly 50,000 entries from across the globe.
This victory marks Ballesta’s second consecutive win of the grand prize, following his triumph in the 2021 competition. In that edition, he secured the top spot with a captivating image of mating camouflage grouper, taken in the mesmerizing waters of French Polynesia.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is orchestrated by the Natural History Museum in London, showcasing a diverse array of categories. Among the 19 categories featured in this year’s edition were “Animals in their Environment,” “Underwater,” and “Plants and Fungi.” The competition also recognizes outstanding young talent with the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards, spanning age groups such as “10 and Under,” “11 to 14 Years,” and “15 to 17 Years.”
Dr. Doug Gurr, the Director of the Natural History Museum, emphasized the profound impact of this year’s winning images in a press release. He noted that these visuals, while evoking awe and wonder, also serve as compelling evidence of humanity’s influence on nature—both positive and negative. Dr. Gurr urged for a transformative shift from global promises to concrete actions, emphasizing the need to reverse the ongoing decline in the natural world.
The winning images will be prominently showcased at the Natural History Museum in London, offering visitors an opportunity to marvel at the visual storytelling prowess of photographers like Ballesta. The exhibition is scheduled to run from Friday, October 13, 2023, through Sunday, June 30, 2024, inviting audiences to immerse themselves in the beauty and significance of the planet’s diverse ecosystems captured through the lenses of these talented photographers.