Bristol-based photographer Sam Rowley has taken the winning photo for 2019’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year LUMIX People’s Choice Award.
Winning the competition has been a dream of his for the past 15 years and, to take the winning shot, the photographer spent every evening for a week at an undisclosed station on the Central line, waiting to get the perfect shot of some of London Underground’s most well-known rodents.
He hoped that if he kept coming back and persevered, he’d eventually get a dynamic shot. His patience paid off, when he captured two mice fighting for scraps of food.
When asked how much the award means to him, Sam said: “It’s huge, it’s been an obsession for most of my life, I first entered it when I was 10, I’m now 25. I managed to scrape into the young category when I was 11 and that’s inspired me to continue down this path for the rest of my life.”
Capturing wildlife has always been a love for the photographer, and he is drawn to urban wildlife as Sam wants to shift perceptions of the natural world. With over half the world living in urban environments, he wants to “get people excited about wildlife they can relate to on their doorstep”.
“’Sam’s image provides a fascinating glimpse into how wildlife functions in a human-dominated environment,” says director of the Natural History Museum, Sir Michael Dixon. “The mice’s behaviour is sculpted by our daily routine, the transport we use and the food we discard. This image reminds us that while we may wander past it everyday, humans are inherently intertwined with the nature that is on our doorstep. I hope it inspires people to think about and value this relationship more.”
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Although London’s urban wildlife has great scope to offer, it’s Bristol that has Sam’s heart for the time being. He now works at the BBC Natural History unit and loves the “slower pace of Bristol”.
With some exciting projects coming up, including a camera trapping project, Sam is set to be staying in Bristol for the foreseeable future.
Sam’s image was selected from a shortlist of 25 images that were chosen by the Natural History Museum from over 48,000 images that were submitted for the 2019 competition. The image will be displayed in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum until it closes on May 31, 2020.
Main photo thanks to Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Sam Rowley.