Family Arts Correspondent
5:46 PM 5th June 2019
The British Wildlife Photography Awards At Nunnington Hall
Bean (the badger) was captured in his habitat in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire. Photo by Tesni Ward
The British Wildlife Photography Awards have made a welcome return to their only Yorkshire venue, Nunnington Hall, the perfectly-proportioned National Trust property in Ryedale on the edge of the North York Moors.
If you’re on the lookout for a truly engaging exhibition to interest the whole family, photography, particularly images of the natural world, can make an ideal way to ‘dip your toes’ into exhibition-visiting with children.
Photography as an artform is accessible and absorbing. It’s something that we can all gaze at, chat about, and revel in; each year, the BWPA images inspire wonder and amazement. This year, as ever, there are some truly breath-taking inclusions. My boisterous boys set off at a noisy trot, but were soon lulled into quiet deference.
Personal favourites amongst the many special moments include ‘Where’s Wally?’, featuring a single oyster catcher amongst a flock of red knots, and, elsewhere, a solitary badger exploring the nocturnal urban landscape.
James Roddie, Category Winner of Wild Woods category (Aviemore, Highlands, Scotland)
Naturalist, author and wildlife TV producer Stephen Moss, said: “Once again, this collection of images from the British Wildlife Photography Awards leaves us in awe of the skill, patience and artistry of the photographers whose work is showcased here. The extraordinary range of subjects, species and habitats, and the imaginative way they are portrayed, leaves us in no doubt that we in Britain are fortunate to be home to some of the most talented photographers in the world.”
The images cover a range of themes, from the micro to the panoramic. Amongst the categories, ‘Hidden Britain’ reveals the tiny life forms, to be sought out around us but rarely seen or noticed; ‘Wild Woods’ celebrates the beauty and splendour of British woodland including some mesmerising Narnia-esque snow scenes; ‘Animal Portraits’ gives a sense of personality across a range of species – and I’m sure the cheeky red squirrel is a firm favourite for many a visiting family.
Established in 2009, the awards aim to recognise and celebrate not only photographic talent, but also the diverse natural history of our great isles whilst raising awareness about British biodiversity, species and habitats.
Lucy Farrell (age 9), Winner of Under 12 Group A close-up of a cockchafer in Borrowdale, Cumbria
Out of the great many entrants, it is the winners and commended entrants who have their work showcased each year in this national touring exhibition and the stunning accompanying book. I can honestly say, my trip to Nunnington Hall to see it each year is a summer highlight for my own family.
Another very special feature of the exhibition is the entries by young photographers, on this occasion by 7, 8 and 9-year-olds. It was little surprise that as soon as we returned to Nunnington’s special gardens, enriched this year with a ‘natural-style’ children’s play area, my oldest son wanted to experiment with his own photos, clearly encouraged by the talent displayed by other youngsters. This summer will no doubt see us trying out this latest family hobby.
Tips to encourage budding young photographers
Visit your local library and check out books about photography, with hints from experts.
Encourage your children to look closely at the world around them; talk about what they can see and how they might want to record it – use the simple vocabulary of photography, like focus, close up, horizontal and vertical.
Offer to print and frame some of your children’s photographic work, or have their best images printed onto canvas. Giving photos as presents to relatives can be very inspiring too.
Be prepared to be patient: you may have to wait around whilst they get the perfect shot.
The British Wildlife Photography Awards’ exhibition of 100 images and videos, including winning and commended entries, will be shown at Nunnington Hall until Sunday 7 July.
Nunnington Hall is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10.30am – 5pm and Mondays in school holidays.
For more information tel: 01439 748283 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/nunningtonhall
To find out more about the awards, visit www.bwpawards.org
Rosie Goodwin runs MakeMore ARTS, a Yorkshire-based arts engagement company, working with schools and community groups, museums and heritage organisations. You can find out more at www.makemorearts.com