For many of us, nature remains distant, accessible through small encounters in urban settings or virtually—as we navigate a path to freedom from the pandemic. This opens an opportunity for nature photographers to share their images of the wild with a waiting world.

WPY57 showcases the world’s best nature photography.

With a record-breaking number of entries (over 50,000) from around the world, the judges of the fifty-seventh Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) have had the toughest job yet. 

From lynx making a comeback to a striking ecological disaster and Narwhal shrimp communicating at great depths, there is an incredible range in the unique and fascinating images in the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. The photographs are a compelling reminder of the importance of the variety and variability of life on Earth in securing the future of our planet, revealed just ahead of the first phase of the global UN conference of COP15 on biodiversity

Overall winners will be announced via a virtual awards ceremony, streaming from the Natural History Museum London on Tuesday 12 October 2021. For updates follow @nhm_wpy.

The exhibit opens on 15 October 2021, at the Natural History Museum after which the 100 images will embark on a UK and international tour, bringing the emotive power of wildlife photography to millions of people. 

It’s a privilege to share a selection of highly commended images from this year’s collection. Rarely seen moments of nature’s vulnerability, instinct, and breathtaking beauty—illuminated through a photographer’s lens and deepened through stories which give context to each vision. Reflections of wildlife in urban settings and amongst the last vestiges of untamed nature.

Read the backstories and view the full gallery on:

The fifty-eighth Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition will open for entries on Monday 18 October 2021 and close at 11.30am GMT on Thursday 9 December 2021. Open to everyone, the competition is judged anonymously and welcomes entries from photographers of all ages, nationalities and levels.

The Natural History Museum is both a world-leading science research centre and the most visited natural history museum in Europe. With a vision of a future in which both people and planet thrive, it is uniquely positioned to be a powerful champion for balancing humanity’s needs with those of the natural world. The Museum uses its enormous global reach and influence to meet its mission to create advocates for the planet—to inform, inspire and empower everyone to make a difference for nature. Follow NHM on IG @natural_history_museum.

Explorer and media producer, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide resources and opportunities for creative exploration.