RSPCA Young Photographer winners ‘preserve wildlife’ with art

Christopher's black and white image of a badger with light coming from behind it.
Image caption,It took the 17-year-old almost seven hours overnight in the freezing cold to get the perfect shot

Teenage photographers hope to use their talent to “preserve wildlife and spread awareness” of ecological conservation.

Christopher, 17, from Wiltshire, won runner up in the 16-18 category of the prestigious RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2023 for his black and white photo of a badger.

Hope, 11, from Gloucestershire, secured top spot in the under 12 category with her close-up submission of an insect.

The pair said they enjoy capturing the “small moments” around them.

The competition, hosted by wildlife broadcaster Chris Packham, showcases UK wildlife taken by the next generation of photographers aged 18 and under.

Submissions ranged from jumping spiders to jellyfish, but Christopher’s black and white shot was captured in an urban garden where he scattered a handful of peanuts to lure the animal close to his camera.

“I thought the backlit composition would be really interesting on a badger, and it was, it made it look really unique and almost like a bear,” he said.

“You only get two or three attempts at it because you don’t want to startle the animal and scare it away.”

Christopher has applied to study ecology and conservation at university next year and dreams of working as a cameraman on a wildlife documentary.

“Some of the best work for conservation has come from films that have received large scale attention,” he said.

“I believe taking good pictures and videos of wildlife is the best way to spread awareness of different issues in ecology and hope that I can play a part in that.”

A green oak bush-cricket on a car door, with scratches and sparkles in the paint
Image caption,Hope named her image Guardians of the Galaxy due to the sparkles in the car paint

Hope’s winning image is of an oak-bush cricket on a car bonnet.

“I really liked the nice sparkles and that the cricket looked like they were in space. I like being out in nature as I find it calming when a lot of other things can feel quite over-sensory,” she said.Hope, who has autism, explained that she sees things differently to other people and she hopes that through her photos people will be able to see the world in a whole new way.

“I used to take photos when I was younger but I stopped when I started school, but when it was lockdown I rediscovered my talent and I’ve just been taking photos ever since,” she added.

“She wants to work with wildlife and she’s really creative,” her mum Emma said.

“I think she just enjoys creating and telling stories to get people to think, so she’s written a musical as well about the environment.”

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