Photographer Angel Fitor has been awarded the prestigious “Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021” title for his serene jellyfish photograph, which he hopes will raise awareness of ecological disasters that affect marine life.
European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, one of the most renowned competitions for nature photography, is run by the German Society for Nature Photography (GDT).
This year, the panel of judges had to look through over 19,000 submitted photos from 36 countries to crown winners across eight major categories: “Birds,” “Mammals,” “Other Animals,” “Plants and Fungi,” “Landscapes,” “The Underwater World,” “People and Nature,” and “Nature’s Studio.”
In addition, the next generation of photographers were awarded in the “Young Photographers up to 14 years” and “Young Photographers 15-17 years” categories. For nature photography stories, portfolios, and projects, the contest awards what is called the Fritz Pölking Prize.
Same as last year, the competition award ceremony took place online and all the winning photos will go on a tour to be exhibited in Germany and Europe, with the German Horse Museum in Verden as the first venue to hold the exhibition on December 7, 2021.
The competition shared a prize pool worth €32,000 ($37,400) with the overall winner taking home €3,000 ($3,500) and Olympus as the main sponsor of the contest.
European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021
The overall winner and the recipient of the “European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021” title is Spanish photographer, photojournalist, and author Angel Fitor. His striking picture, titled “Medusa ballet,” depicts jellyfish in the Spanish lagoon of Mar Menor.
“Through the illusion of a swarm of jellyfish, [the photo] evokes associations with a trend we can observe everywhere in heavily overexploited seas,” says Prof. Dr. Beate Jessel, the patron of the competition and President of Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. “Marine ecosystems that are no longer unimpaired and the warming seas as a result of climate change are promoting the increase of individual species.”
Fitor has long been concerned with the aquatic ecosystems of our planet and believes in the power of photography to initiate necessary changes and address environmental problems.
Below are the winners of the other individual categories:
Plants and Fungi
The Underwater World
People and Nature
Young Photographers Up to 14 Years
Young Photographers 15-17 Years
Fritz Pölking Prize
Fritz Pölking Junior Prize
The full list of winners and runners-up of this year’s contest can be found on the GDT’s website.
Image credits: All photos individually credited and provided courtesy of GDT.