• Thu. May 30th, 2024

A Handshake with Nature at the City’s Centre: The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition in Edinburgh 

ByLaura Bonetti Terán

Feb 14, 2024
picture of the inside of the Natural History Museum of London

In the bright and populous hallways of Scotland’s National Museum, you suddenly step into a pitch black room. The glow of one hundred digital frames illuminates the composed space; large letters read Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The drip of water, the rising tension between hunt and prey, the semi-visible spray of spores— these photographs in front of you are completely still but nevertheless exude an undeniable life force. With nature as the subject of these incredible, thought-provoking images which could only be achieved through the learnt virtue of patience and perhaps a dose of chance, this stunning exhibition showcases photographs of the highest caliber. Explore vast lands at your own pace through perusing around the 100 winning entries, out of 49,957, submitted to The Natural History Museum of London’s world-renowned contest. Currently touring in Edinburgh until May, these snapshots weave a deeper story far beyond what you would expect and leave food-for-thought on our relationship with the natural world. 

One thing is clear: nature does not come forth wanting to be your muse. You have to be the one wanting to get to know it. It is just like meeting a new person. Wary of over imposing on a stranger, you softly introduce yourself and become acquaintances. Spending more time in their presence, you notice their quirky mannerisms and become friends. Then, you start to experience life with them, both the highs and the lows, and become family. This is the power of wildlife photography; the photographers marvelously highlight the value of shared interactions between humans and wildlife, especially when the former are respectful. The exhibited images recognise that our relationship with the environment is severed, because humans are who left nature behind in our differentiation of an us and a them— of wildlife as an other. The winners prove that familiarising ourselves with the wildlife is not a specific, sustained effort— it is mere reconciliation through admiring a part of our shared Earth that we selfishly classified as distinct. 

In the centre of a city like Edinburgh, nature is cradled between private parks hidden inside the grey facade of decades-old buildings and the nearest wildlife is the mice that seems to be at every student flat. Little did I know that there was a whole breath-taking expanse inside the city all along temporarily tucked in the third floor of the National Museum of Scotland. The exhibition calibrated in me a renewed sense of curiosity in other fellow species that I had embarrassingly gone too long without. How about you? Venture out (or technically in) and learn a little about nature and, consequently, yourself!

National history museum, London” by Giannis Pit is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.