What’s On: Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 @ M Shed 

by Polly Hember

Click on our gallery to see a preview of the exhibition and picture credits.

From frosty wastelands to tropical paradises, curious animal behaviour to even curiouser species – the internationally renowned and much celebrated Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition has it all, and opens at Bristol’s M Shed on Saturday 21st October.


This highly anticipated and enjoyable exhibition is the most incredible and ambitious photography event of its kind. It provides a global platform that celebrates the beauty and complexity of the natural world’s most breath-taking and challenging sights.


This year, with a photograph of a minute seahorse’s tail wrapped around a throwaway cotton bud being one of the first images to be circulated, the selection is an open call to action: ‘a plea to band together and protect our fragile planet’.


As Margaret Atwood states in an essay on Matter, ‘Planet Earth – the Goldilocks planet we’re taken for granted, neither too hot or too cold, neither too wet or too dry, with fertile soils that accumulated for millennia before we started to farm them – that planet is altering. The shift towards the warmer end of the thermometer that was once predicted to happen much later, when the generations now alive had had lots of fun and made lots of money and gobbled up lots of resources and burned lots of fossil fuels and then died, are happening much sooner than anticipated back then. In fact, they’re happening now’.


Our beautiful ‘Goldilocks’ landscapes and the diverse inhabitants are suffering. The incredible Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition has always bravely challenged our treatment of animals and the natural world; I remember walking around the Wildlife Photographer of the Year when I was maybe ten or eleven, and the incredible and challenging photography taking my breath away as it showed me whales beached and monkeys in cages. Already then, this exhibition was ground-breaking in its commitment to saving as well as celebrating our phenomenal planet. This year, I’m sure, will showcase the supremely talented photographer’s going to new lengths to illuminate the beauty of planet earth and critical messages of environmentalism and animal welfare.


This is always one of the most highly anticipated artistic events that Bristol welcomes back year after year, with stunning photography that captures such incredible glimpses into the natural world and its incredible inhabitants.


Wildlife Photographer of the Year is developed and produced by the Natural History Museum in London and sponsored at M Shed by Pukka Herbs and Resource Solutions Group (RSG). For the first time, the exhibition will open in Bristol at the same time as London.


'A staple of Bristol’s winter calendar. I am never disappointed with the calibre of images and how the photographers are able to capture such beautiful moments while communicating powerful messages of environmentalism and animal welfare. I want to thank our exhibition sponsors Pukka and RSG for their generous support.' - Laura Pye, Head of Culture at Bristol City Council


'Wildlife Photographer of the Year is one of our most successful touring exhibitions, enjoyed by millions of people all over the world. The awarded images shine a spotlight on nature photography as a work of art, whilst raising questions about our crucial role in shaping a sustainable future.' - Sir Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum


Winning images are selected for their creativity, originality and technical excellence.Launching in 1965 and attracting 361 entries, today the competition receives almost 50,000 entries from 92 countries. This year’s 100 award-winning images will embark on an international tour that allows them to be seen by millions of people.


A range of events will accompany the exhibition, including a gallery tour by competition judge Roz Kidman Cox. Entries for next year’s competition open on Monday 23 October here




When 21 October 2017 – 8 April 2018 Tuesday – Sunday: 10am–5pm. Closed Mondays except during school holidays and bank holidays.

Prices £6 adult* | £5 concession* | Under 16s Free

*Includes £1 voluntary donation to Bristol Museums Development Trust (BMDT).
(Standard entry £5 adult | £4 concession | Under 16s Free)

Where M Shed, Princes Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol BS1 4RN 



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