This year the Natural History Museum of London has selected 13 entries out of 50,000 submissions from 92 different countries. The judges picked a balanced variety of shots, from incredible close ups to the cover photos for the very real issues that need attention right now.

The winners will receive a ticket to London for the awards ceremony as well as cash prizes up to £10,000 (about $13,000).

[caption id="attachment_3838" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©Andrey Narchuk/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – Andrey was on an expedition to the Sea of Okhotsk in the Russian Far East, and his intention on this day was to photograph salmon. But as soon as he jumped into the water, he found himself surrounded by thousands of mating sea angels. Quickly swapping to his macro equipment, he began photographing the pairs, 3 centimeters (11⁄4 inches) long and swirling around in the current. Sea angels are mollusks related to slugs and snails, without shells and with wing-like lobes used as swimming paddles. They hunt sea butterflies – swimming sea snails – using specialized feeding parts to prise them from their shells. Each individual is both male and female, and here they are getting ready to insert their copulatory organs into each other to transfer sperm in synchrony. One is slightly smaller than the other, as was the case with most of the couples Andrey observed, and they remained joined for 20 minutes. Both would go on to lay 30–40 tiny eggs after fertilization. It was late summer and peak phytoplankton time, so there would be abundant food for the resulting larvae. To photograph them mating, Andrey had to battle against strong currents and avoid a wall of gill netting, and when he was swept into the net and his equipment became snared, he was forced to make an emergency ascent – but not before he had got his shot. The following day, there wasn’t a single angel to be seen.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3839" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©Justin Hofman/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – Seahorses hitch rides on the currents by grabbing floating objects such as seaweed with their delicate prehensile tails. Justin watched with delight as this tiny estuary seahorse ‘almost hopped’ from one bit of bouncing natural debris to the next, bobbing around near the surface on a reef near Sumbawa Island, Indonesia. But as the tide started to come in, the mood changed. The water contained more and more decidedly unnatural objects – mainly bits of plastic – and a film of sewage sludge covered the surface, all sluicing towards the shore.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3840" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©Laura Albiac Vilas/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – Laura had seen many of Spain’s wild animals, but never the elusive Iberian lynx, an endangered cat found only in two small populations in southern Spain. Unlike the larger European lynx, the Iberian lynx feeds almost entirely on rabbits. So a disease that wipes out the rabbit population can be catastrophic. They also need a particular blend of open scrub and natural cavities for natal dens. Laura’s family traveled to the Sierra de Andújar Natural Park in search of the lynx – and struck lucky on their second day – a pair were relaxing not far from the road. There were many photographers there but an atmosphere of ‘respect’. Laura watched for an hour and a half, the only sound being the whirr of cameras if a cat glanced in their direction. ‘The animals’ attitude surprised me. They weren’t scared of people—they simply ignored us,’ says Laura. ‘I felt so emotional to be so close to them.’[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3841" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©Qing Lin/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – The bulbous tips of the aptly named magnificent anemone’s tentacles contain cells that sting most fish. But the clown anemonefish goes unharmed thanks to mucus secreted over its skin, which tricks the anemone into thinking it is brushing against itself. Both species benefit. The anemonefish gains protection from its predators, which daren’t risk being stung, and it also feeds on parasites and debris among the tentacles; at the same time, it improves water circulation (fanning its fins as it swims), scares away the anemone’s predators and may even lure in prey for it.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3842" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©David Lloyd/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – At dusk, in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, David waited for the herd of elephants on their evening trek to a waterhole. As they got closer to his vehicle, he could see that the mellow light from the fast-setting sun was emphasizing every wrinkle and hair. For a photographer who enjoys working with texture, this was a gift. When they were just a few meters away, he could see the different qualities of different parts of their bodies – the deep ridges of their trunks, the mud-caked ears and the patina of dried dirt on their tusks.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3843" align="aligncenter" width="880"] © Sergey Gorshkov/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – Carrying its trophy from a raid on a snow goose nest, an Arctic fox heads for a suitable burial spot. This is June and bonanza time for the foxes of Wrangel Island in the Russian Far East. Lemmings are the basic diet for Arctic foxes, but Wrangel suffers long, harsh winters and is icebound for much of the year, making it a permanent source of stored food for these opportunist animals. The food convoys arrive at the end of May. Over just a few days, vast flocks of snow geese descend on the tundra of this remote UNESCO World Heritage Site, traveling from wintering grounds some 4,800 kilometers (3,000 miles) away in British Columbia and California. Not only is this the biggest breeding colony of snow geese in the world, and the only remaining one in Asia, but it is also growing: from 160,000 geese in 2011 to about 300,000 by 2016. The Arctic foxes catch any weak or sick birds, but what they feast on are the goose eggs, laid in early June in open nests on the tundra. Though the pairs of snow geese actively defend their nests, a fox may still manage to steal up to 40 eggs a day, harassing the geese until there’s a chance to nip in and grab an egg. Most of the eggs are then cached, buried in shallow holes in the tundra, where the soil stays as cold as a refrigerator. These eggs will remain edible long after the brief Arctic summer is over and the geese have migrated south again. And when the new generation of young foxes begins to explore, they too will benefit from the hidden treasures.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3844" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©Ashleigh Scully/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – After fishing for clams at low tide, this mother brown bear was leading her young spring cubs back across the beach to the nearby meadow. But one young cub just wanted to stay and play. It was the moment Ashleigh had been waiting for. She had come to Alaska’s Lake Clark National Park intent on photographing the family life of brown bears. This rich estuary environment provides a buffet for bears: grasses in the meadows, salmon in the river and clams on the shore. A large number of families spend their summers here, and with plentiful food, they are tolerant of each other (though wary of males) and of people. ‘I fell in love with brown bears,’ says Ashleigh, ‘and their personalities… This young cub seemed to think that it was big enough to wrestle mum to the sand. As always, she played along, firm, but patient.’ The result is a cameo of brown bear family life.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3845" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©Laurent Ballesta/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – “We were still a few meters from the surface when I heard the strange noises,” says Laurent. Suspecting Weddell seals – known for their repertoire of at least 34 different underwater call types – he approached slowly. It was early spring in east Antarctica, and a mother was introducing her pup to the icy water.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3846" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©Tyohar Kastiel/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – Tyohar watched the pair of resplendent quetzals from dawn to dusk for more than a week as they delivered fruits and the occasional insect or lizard to their two chicks. Resplendent quetzals usually nest in thicker forest, but this pair had picked a tree in a partly logged area in the Costa Rican cloud forest of San Gerardo de Dota. The additional light made it easier for Tyohar to catch the iridescent color of the male’s dazzling emerald and crimson body plumage and tail streamers, despite his fast, erratic flight pattern. But the light also made it easier for the birds to see Tyohar. So he would arrive before dawn, sit in the same place and wear the same jacket, with the result that the pair accepted his presence and continued to stuff food into their chicks’ beaks every hour or so.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3847" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©Mats Andersson/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – The red squirrel closed its eyes for just a moment, paws together, fur fluffed, then resumed its search for food. Winter is a tough time for northern animals. Some hibernate to escape its rigors, but not red squirrels. Mats walks every day in the forest near his home in southern Sweden, often stopping to watch the squirrels foraging in the spruce trees. Though their mainly vegetarian diet is varied, their winter survival is linked to a good crop of spruce cones, and they favor woodland with conifers. They also store food to help see them through lean times. On this cold, February morning, the squirrel’s demeanor encapsulated the spirit of winter, captured by Mats using the soft-light grain of black and white.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3848" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©Klaus Nigge/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – After several days of constant rain, the bald eagle was soaked to the skin. Named after its conspicuous but fully-feathered white head (bald derives from an old word for white), it is an opportunist, eating various prey – captured, scavenged or stolen – with a preference for fish. At Dutch Harbor on Amaknak Island in Alaska, USA, bald eagles gather to take advantage of the fishing industry’s leftovers. Used to people, the birds are bold. ‘I lay on my belly on the beach surrounded by eagles,’ says Klaus. ‘I got to know individuals, and they got to trust me.’[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3849" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©Steve Winter/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – A back leg of this six-month-old Sumatran tiger cub was so badly mangled by a snare that it had to be amputated. He was lucky to survive at all, having been trapped for four days before being discovered in a rainforest in Aceh Province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The likelihood is that the snare was set by oil‐palm plantation workers to catch bushmeat (though tigers are also deliberately snared). The workers are migrants who have been given small plots to grow their own oil palms but who have to work on the big plantations for about five years until their own crops generate a return. To feed their families, they have to hunt, and this cub’s bones would have fetched a good price on the black market. The population of Sumatran tigers, a subspecies, is as low as 400–500 (the world population of all wild tigers is no more than 3,200)—the result of poaching to fuel the illegal trade in tiger parts for the Chinese-medicine market. Anti-poaching forest patrols are helping to stem the killing, partly by locating and removing snares (now illegal), which is how this cub came to be rescued. The cub, however, will spend the rest of his life in a cage in a Javan zoo. Today, there are probably more Sumatran tigers in zoos than there are left in the wild.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3837" align="aligncenter" width="880"] ©Jack Dykinga/2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year – A band of ancient giants commands the expansive arid landscape of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert National Monument in the US. These emblematic saguaro cacti—up to 200 years old —may tower at more than 12 meters (40 feet) but are very slow growing, some sprouting upwardly curved branches as they mature. The roots —aside from one deep tap— weave a maze just below the surface, radiating as far as the plant is tall, to absorb precious rainfall. Most water is stored in sponge-like tissue, defended by hard external spines and a waxy-coated skin to reduce water loss. The surface pleats expand like accordions as the cactus swells, its burgeoning weight supported by woody ribs running along the folds. But the saturated limbs are vulnerable to hard frost – their flesh may freeze and crack, while the mighty arms twist down under their loads. A lifetime of searching out victims near his desert home led Jack to know several that promised interesting compositions. ‘This one allowed me to get right inside its limbs,’ he says. As the gentle dawn light bathed the saguaro’s contorted form, Jack’s wide angle revealed its furrowed arms, perfectly framing its neighbors before the distant Sand Tank Mountains.[/caption]

You might know Isaac Alvarez from his series we talked about a few months ago. As he never runs out of ideas, the artist started a new series with the Marvel hero, Iron Man.

After purchasing and working with several Iron Man figures, Isaac staged them and shared the steps of his creation on his blog.

With the help of lights and Photoshop, a scene of Iron Man in the desert was brought to life.

[caption id="attachment_3796" align="aligncenter" width="2048"] He taped two boards together then attached two empty soda boxes at the bottom to create a gap.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3800" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] The inspiration came from the scene from Iron Man where he showcased Jericho missiles.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3801" align="aligncenter" width="2048"] Dirt can create small particles that will assist in making the figure dusty. He also thought of using brown sugar, but brown sugar grains are too large.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3805" align="aligncenter" width="1500"] He finally found a box of expired iced tea mix that did the trick.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3821" align="aligncenter" width="778"] Isaac created a composite out of these three images[/caption]

You can discover more of Isaac’s work on his website, his instagram and twitter

THE MOUNTAINS OF KONG form a magnificent, impassable mountain range in West Africa. It’s not real. But that didn’t stop 19th-century writers from waxing poetic about its formidable, snow-capped peaks. Or illustrious cartographers from including it in historical maps. Or Jim Naughten from photographing it. The British photographer pretends the legend’s true for the ongoing series The […]

Jessica Kobeissi is a young fashion photographer. Her honesty and generosity have built a strong following of over 400,000 people, who watch her adventures and listen to her advice on Youtube. We asked a few questions about her work, the importance of social media, and more!
Hi Jessica, can you introduce yourself for people that don’t know you already ?
My name is Jessica, I’m a photographer from Detroit, Michigan. I also make photography tutorials on my Youtube channel to help people learn new things 🙂
How did you start photography ?
I grew up using Photoshop and loved to edit and retouch, so really I started to photograph to be able to edit my own photos (hahah). In the end I really loved taking pictures, so I just stuck with it.

Why fashion photography ?
During my early years online graphic designing I used a lot of fashion magazine editorial scans from Harpers, Vogue, Elle, Nylon, etc. so it was something I had always been exposed to. I also love fashion and conveying attitude in my photos – which seems to fit in perfectly with this genre.

You are also a wedding photographer. Do your wedding shoots inspire your fashion shoots ( and vice versa ) ?
I think it’s only one way in this case, haha. My fashion shots definitely inspire how I shoot my weddings. A lot of my clients book me because they want some of that fashion photography attitude mixed in with their wedding photography – so it definitely works.
What pushed you to start a Youtube channel ?
I’ve been writing tutorials since I was 14 years old – so it just seemed natural to me. Before photography I was into graphic design and would be asked how I got a certain effect or how I designed something, so I wrote a tutorial and people loved it. Ever since then I’ve just been used to creating them for people to learn!

How important do you think social networks are in a photographer’s career now ?
For photography I don’t know if it’s extremely important, but it definitely helps in some cases. I wouldn’t say it is a make or break kinda thing – at the end of the day it’s your work that matters. You can have a million followers but if your work isn’t that great – then it’s just not that great. You can only go so far until your work has to stand on its own.
Does having a channel and an important following push you to produce more than if you did not have such a big presence online ?
Yes of course. It’s half and half. Having all this support from my family, friends and people who follow me really motivates me even more to create new and better content. However if this weren’t the case I would still be working twice as hard because that’s who I am as a person. I never let myself give up, and I like to push myself to try new things.

You are doing something that is hard for a lot of young artist : talking about their own work. Did that help you to push your creativity further ? Do you find inspiration in what your subscribers ask you ?
My subscribers always recommend ideas they’d like to see me do, and I try my best to switch it up and challenge myself by doing them. So yes it is inspiring for me to go out of the box and out of my comfort zone!
Where do you find your ideas ? Who are the photographers you look up to ?
When I travel I become inspired, so whenever I have time I will book a ticket and go on an adventure. I love to meet new people and sometimes while we talk an idea will pop into my head and I’ll have to pause them and say, “wait a second! You just gave me a great idea and I have to write this down before I lose it!”

My favorites..hmm! I absolutely love Lina Tesch, she’s one of my favorite photographers. I love the attitude and feeling in her photos. I also really love Bonnie Hansen, her work is phenomenal.

What advice would you give to a young photographer ?
Don’t give up. Keep going.
Which of your pictures represent you the most ?
[caption id="attachment_3735" align="aligncenter" width="2500"] ©Jessica Kobeissi[/caption]

I really love this photo because we woke up very early to catch the light in Downtown Detroit. The colors, the location and the model (my stylist) represent my style very well.
You can follow Jessica on Youtube, Instagram, and see more of her work on her website

Pete Souza photographed Barack Obama family during the 8 years of his presidency and decided to share the memories in a book : Obama: An Intimate Portrait. He has created a stunning visual account containing historical events, notable figures, and personal moments… The book is due out November 7, 2017, and is currently available for preorder on Amazon as well as at Barnes […]

Taha Ahmad is a documentary photographer from India. Despite his young age ( he was born i 1994 ), he already received an award and had his work published in several magazines ( Invisible Photographer Asia (IPA), Better Photography Magazine, Platform Magazine, Fountain Ink Magazine, Asian Age, The Sunday Guardian, Times Of India, Millennium Post, The Quint, Art Arcade, Liberation… and more ). He is currently pursuing a Master in Fine Art at the Jamia Milllia Islamia University in India.
He talked to us about his latest work : Swan Song of the Badlas, a black and white series that aims to highlight a dying traditional art from India.

The Project “Swan Song of the Badlas” is hinged upon a dying art and craft of the Indian city of Lucknow which was established at the time of Nawab’s rule in the city. At its peak, in the 18th century, the art form traveled to different parts of the world, but is now restricted to a few narrow lanes of the old city of Lucknow.
The art was basically introduced by the Nawabs, who ruled the city, to beautify another form of embroidery called chickankari — which still persists in the Indian subcontinent. Mukaish, however, ended up becoming an independent style and flourished across the city in the past.

This form of embroidery was first developed for the ruling class that resided in the city as part of their finery since Mukaish work initially used precious metals like gold and silver to make metallic wires. It is usually performed by male artists who are referred to as Badlas hence the term “Mukaish Badla”.
These Badlas perform this craft by inserting metallic wires of gold and silver into the fabric eventually twisting it to create magnificent metallic embroidery on the fabric.

“Lucknow’s culture has amazed and compelled me to dig into the roots of its civilization. The Gomti River, which flows through the heart of the city, always reminds me of the royal splendor of Lucknow. I’ve grown very close to the city, physically and spiritually. The art that the city breathes is not something one can escape, for the same reason as one cannot comprehend and begin to love something without understanding its essence, and the essence of Lucknow is its craft.”

Understanding Badlas, who have been trivialized by society at large, is challenging. Since there is a continuous downfall with only 20-25 Badlas left, all above the age of 65 residing within the narrow lanes of Lucknow, the future of this fascinating embroidery can be seen fading away in the mist. The city once had more than 3,000 badlas.

“Since there are only 20-25 Badlas left in the city of 2.816 million inhabitants, finding them was a pretty difficult task. There was a time when I had no clue and I decided to quit. It was when I clashed into a old person who came unto me thinking of me as a journalist. Inquiring him of my subject and the artisans, he provided me an address to visit in Old Lucknow.
To my Surprise, it was the address of one of the last existing Mukaish warehouse in Hussainabad, Lucknow. But my excitement did not lasted long since these Badlas were shaken up by the society and government, left only for their misery to made fun of.
Thus they refused me to let into their workspace and photograph them. Cheerless I went back to the old person’s house to narrate the happening, who luckily provided me his personal phone number. After listening to my dialogue, he just smiled and asked me to come with him to the warehouse the next day.
The very next day when I went to the Hussainabad’s warehouse with that old man, I was glad to see that he knew all of them and introduced me to them. What shocked me more was that the old man, who gave me the address of the warehouse, himself was a Badla artisan named ‘Sabir Ali’ who was not working due to cataract. ”

Badlas complain about the practiced apathy of the government, which leads to further exploitation by their masters, who own the means of production and their lives, says 75-year-old Sabir Hussain, who has been working as a badla for nearly 65 years.
The workshops these artisans work in are dingy, suffocating and discoloured. Once a hub of Mukaish workshops, the city now hosts only two workshops in the area of Sa-datganj and Hussainabad, hidden beneath the over-powered structures fabricated within the old city.

To create one Mukaish dress, it mainly takes from 8 to 10 hours and the period ranging from a week to a month. This intricate craft has a lot of negative impacts on the eyes of these old artisans. With all of them suffering from poor eye sights, the strong flash created by the glittery gold and silver metallic wires exacerbate the problems by inflicting eye diseases such as cataract and color blindness.
Earning not even 2-3 $ a day, these Badlas are unable to cater their everyday needs and treat their illnesses. The difficult circumstances and the instability that comes with it, not surprisingly stops Badlas from letting their young ones follow the work lineage.

“Most important to me was the visual narrative which could be served as a dialogue to create awareness about the vanishing art and the artisans. Focusing on to create a impactful project meaningful in nature, I indulged into the every activity of the daily life of these Badlas.
Rushing down from Delhi to Lucknow, India every month, I used to spent loads of time with these Badlas in the warehouses, tea stalls and even their homes. It was hard to get into their space initially but when I did, my outcome to their gruesome conditions they live in and my work changed.”

My work ‘Swan Song of the Badlas’ revolves around the life of these Badlas and their families, who are struggling to keep the art alive.

“Working over 10 months on this project, it was patience, desire and observance that played a major role. Many a times I had to go and calculate light then visit the same place again, the next day to take the shot.
Sometimes, I had to wait for 30-40 minutes for a single photograph while many a times it was a sheer luck. But in the end, the craft along with the craftsmen is suffering and as they say, suffering do come to an end.”

Words by Taha Ahmad
See more of Taha’s work here