Ten Years of the ESA Photo Comp

2020 marks the tenth anniversary of the ESA photo competition.

Competition organiser and judge Alan Kwok offered the following reflection for the occasion:

Past finalists of the competition offered their thoughts on what the award means to them:

Christian Spencer: “I will always be grateful to the Ecological society of Australia. It basically started my photographic career and was the first award that I won for photography.The competition was fundamental in encouraging me to continue to photograph and to encourage other photographers to have a deeper appreciation of unique Australian ecosystems.

Kris Bell: “Participating in the ESA Ecology in Action Competition provided a range of unexpected benefits both on a professional and personal level; from increased exposure and interest in my research from colleagues and collaborators alike, to a renewed passion to share not just the science, but the animals, plants and ecosystems that drive (and hopefully benefit) from the science.

Nicholas Chu: “The ESA photography competition has provided me a great opportunity to share some of the more ‘photogenic’ parts of my research but with a much broader audience!  Along the way, I have also learnt a lot about some of the obscurities of Australian fauna and flora and I am always excited to see how others creatively capture photos of our beautiful environment!

Krystle Keller: “I found that the ESA photography competition deepened my love for nature photography, that’s for sure. In fact following the competition, I was inspired to research and then purchase my first ever DLSR camera (using some of the prize money) to continue improving and learning about nature photography. It also helped as a conversation starter due to displaying some of the prints in my office, doing so I hoped it helped to inspire others to get involved in nature photography and enter the competition as well.”

Alex Pike: “The ESA photography competition really does champion the many unique plants, animals and ecosystems that Australia has to offer. My image of a southern hairy crayfish (Euastacus hirsutus) took out first place last year, and I don’t think there’s many other photo competitions where an image of a crayfish could be placed so highly. I’m so pleased this species got a bit of press out of the image and people showed appreciation for an animal (and genus) that was responsible for so many enjoyable trips out into the bush. The calibre of submissions is of a higher standard every single year, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the 2020 competition brings!”

Thomas Hunt: “Fieldwork takes you to places you’d never visit on holiday, and gives you glimpses into the natural world you’d never encounter otherwise. There was such interest in my images after the ESA competition that wildlife photography is now my main tool for science communication; it’s my creative outlet, too.”

This lovely montage was put together by Paula Peeters ( who created and curated the competition in its first year. ⁠Thank you Paula! ⁠

All the winners of the 2020 Photo Competition can be found here.

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