ROM Showcases the World’s Best Nature Images with Wildlife Photographer of the Year 59

Opening November 25, this global photography competition invites visitors to experience the magic and perils of nature in vivid detail. 

Horseshoe Crab. Adult Grand Title Winner  The ancient mariner, © Laurent Ballesta

TORONTO, October 11, 2023 – On November 25, the world-renowned Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) exhibition—celebrating artistic composition, technical excellence and breathtaking views of the natural world—makes its North American debut at ROM (Royal Ontario Museum). The exhibition will feature winners of the prestigious Grand Title Award, The ancient mariner by Laurent Ballesta and Young Grand Title Award, Owls’ road house by Carmel Bechler, which were announced on October 10 during the gala awards event at the Natural History Museum, London.

In addition to the two Grand Title awardees, WPY will also feature the winning category images alongside 100 stunning images from an international list of artists, including two Canadian photographers from British Columbia, Garth Lenz and Mark Williams.  Every photograph in the exhibition is beautifully presented in backlit illuminated frames, providing an enhanced visual experience.

The competition received an astounding 49,957 entries from photographers of all ages and experience levels from 95 countries around the globe. Judged over two rounds by a jury of international experts, the photographers selected for exhibition receive the highest level of recognition for wildlife photography. In addition to the Grand Title winners, there are winners in 19 categories such as Animal in their Environment, Urban Wildlife, Behaviour: Mammals, Under Water, Plants and Fungi, Rising Star, and more, including the hard-hitting photojournalism categories.

Humanity's biggest hole, © Garth Lenz Humanity's biggest hole, © Garth Lenz
Belugas among sea ice, © Mark Williams Belugas among sea ice, © Mark Williams
The survivor, © Mark Williams The survivor, © Mark Williams

Garth Lenz’s photo, Humanity’s biggest hole, Highly Commended in the Photojournalism category, depicts the Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah, the largest open excavation on Earth. The image of this active mine, undergoing a multi-billion-dollar clean-up operation, contrasts the gutted mountainside with the pristine beauty of the opposite peaks.

Mark Williams has two photos in the exhibition. His photo, Belugas among sea ice, Highly Commended in the category Animals in their Environment, was taken in the Northwest Passage, Somerset Island, Nunavut, and observes from above the moment five beluga whales surface among the sea ice. There, in the warm shallow waters of sheltered inlets and estuaries—away from predatory orcas—they give birth and nurse their young. In his other photo, The survivor, Highly Commended in the Animal Portraits category, Williams spots an Arctic fox in the distance, moving across the Arctic tundra near Cunningham Inlet on Somerset Island, Nunavut.

“Many of this year's photographs emphasize the perils being faced by wildlife around the world due to global changes,” says Dr. Soren Brothers, Allan and Helaine Shiff Curator of Climate Change and ROM curator for the exhibition. “The skill and dedication behind each of these photographs makes them all the more impactful and inspiring, but they also serve as a reminder for each of us to slow down and observe—and care for—the many plants, animals, and fungi around us, whose lives are intertwined with our own.”

While not an official exhibition theme, several of the included photographs speak to the photographers’ acute awareness and insight about climate change, biodiversity loss, and human impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems. In recognition of this shared concern amongst the participating artists, the NHM’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year website highlights select photos that feature ‘how you can help’ content for viewers who appreciate the photos but also want to learn and do more to protect nature. Offered suggestions directly related to the presented photographs range from planting native trees, keeping pets from harming wildlife, joining online communities of citizen scientists or making purchases that keep the environment in mind.

This acclaimed show returns to ROM from the Natural History Museum, where the annual international competition is now in its 59th year. A ROM visitor favourite, this is the eleventh year in a row ROM has exhibited images from this prestigious global photography contest. The exhibition will be on display until May 26, 2024.

ROM Photo Contest
Ontario photographers with a keen observation of the natural environment are invited to participate in the ROM Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest. Open to both amateur and professional, adult and youth, those inspired by nature can share their own captivating images for a chance to win prizes from Henry’s and the honour of displaying the winning work at ROM. See the exhibition webpage for full contest details.

Members see it first and see it free. Members will have the first opportunity to experience Wildlife Photographer of the Year on Friday, November 24 and Saturday, November 25, 2023. Tickets to WPY are free for ROM Members. Visit for more information about ROM membership.

Exhibition Credit
Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum, London.