IEN 'Biodiversity Photographer of the Year' Exhibition in Pearse Street Library

Date Released: Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The winners of Ireland's 'Biodiversity Photographer of the Year' competition were announced at an awards ceremony in Pearse Street Library on Wednesday 21st June at 1.00pm.

The annual photo competition, organised by the Irish Environmental Network, invited amateur photographers from all across Ireland to submit their best nature photographs celebrating Ireland's diverse species and natural habitats. The competition was organised to coincide with Ireland's National Biodiversity Week, which took place from the 19th - 28th May 2017.

A record number of photos was submitted for this year's competition. Frank Miller, Picture Editor at the Irish Times, selected the winning photographs from almost 500 entries. The prize for the winning photograph is €500, while the 2nd and 3rd place will receive €200 and €100 respectively.

This year's winning entry was a shot of a Northern Gannet returning to his mate with an offering of freshly harvested Sea Campion, taken on the Great Saltee Island, Co. Wexford. The photograph was submitted by amateur nature photographer John Holden.

2nd place was awarded to Catherine Dolan for her photo of a stone chat perched high among the wildflowers, while 3rd place was given to Jessica Hamilton for her image of a cockchafer entitled 'What are you doing here?'.

The exhibition of winners and shortlisted finalists will be on display in Pearse Street Library from Wednesday 21st June. The exhibition is open to the public and will continue for four weeks.

Schools Competition

For the first time, the Irish Environmental Network opened up the competition to secondary school students. Students from first to sixth year were invited to submit their best nature photos to be in with a chance of winning the title of 'Young Biodiversity Photographer of the Year'.

1st place was given to Brian Joyce for his image of a flowering tree and mountain, while 2nd place was won by Colin Dugdale.

Speaking of his win, John Holden said: 

"Winning the Irish Environment Network's Biodiversity Photographer of 2017 is a huge honour and I'm very proud of the achievement.

"It's a case of two passions meeting for me really, a great love and interest in local flora & fauna combined with a love of photography and the ability to create a beautiful and interesting image.

"Social Media has given many photographers a shot in the arm. The ability to instantly have your work accessed, appreciated and critiqued by the public quickly makes you quickly raise your game. I see photography as an art rather than a technical past time, although there is obviously a huge technical aspect to it.

"I hope it may draw some more attention to the amazing wildlife and beauty we have here in Wexford. We really are spoiled here when it comes to biodiversity and habitats."

Irish Times Picture editor Frank Miller said: 

"As our lives become increasingly urbanised and digitized and virtualised we are in real danger of losing sight, literally of the world around us. And there is no better world to observe than the natural world.

"Losing sight of it is dangerous too as it diminishes the importance of nature, of ecology, of sustainability and creates the conceit that we can somehow overcome nature rather than working alongside it. This competition in its modest way helps raise awareness of nature and ecology and provides an outlet for photography of nature and ecology.

"Judging it was difficult because there were many quite beautiful images but in choosing the winners I was looking for something which reflects the beauty and diversity of our environment while avoiding some of the more cliched photographic subjects and approaches."

To see the full gallery of shortlisted photos, visit The Irish Times website