• BigPicture exhibit opens at the Academy October 23
    Entrance to the BigPicture exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences.
  • Explore the best wildlife and nature photography from around the world.
    Explore the best wildlife and nature photography from around the world starting October 23.

San Francisco (October 8, 2020) — Starting when the Academy reopens on Friday, October 23, the seventh annual BigPicture exhibit celebrating the world’s best wildlife and conservation photography will be on display at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Featuring 49 top images from the 2020 BigPicture Natural World Photography competition, the captivating exhibit combines transportive photos with thought-provoking insights from Academy scientists to reveal the power of photography to increase our understanding and appreciation of life on Earth. Members and donors are invited to explore BigPicture, as well as all of the Academy’s new exhibits, starting October 13, ten days before the museum opens to the public.

Over 6,400 photographic submissions were entered by photographers representing 65 countries—all of which were reviewed by an esteemed judging panel of photographers, writers, and photo editors. A gallery of winning images was recently published by bioGraphic, the Academy’s online magazine about science and sustainability and official media sponsor for the BigPicture competition. Gallery photos and captions from the bioGraphic story are available to any interested media outlets upon request.

This year’s Grand Prize image, titled “Hare Ball” by photographer Andy Parkinson of Crich, England, shows the astonishing resilience of a mountain hare as it braves a sub-arctic, winter storm. Before taking this photo, Parkinson—who has photographed wildlife in the harrowing environment of the Scottish Highlands for over a decade—spent three years getting to know the behavior and territory of this individual hare. The image conveys hope and endurance in the face of adversity, a timely message BigPicture Jury Chair Suzi Eszterhas believes “the world needs now more than ever” while we remain in the throes of a global pandemic.

In addition to renowned wildlife photographer Eszterhas, the judging panel included international photo editor Sophie Stafford, and award-winning nature and conservation photographers Shin Arunrugstichai, Roie Galitz, Daisy Gilardini, Margot Raggett, and Tony Wu. Photo categories for the competition and exhibit include Terrestrial Wildlife, Winged Life, Landscapes, Waterscapes & Flora, Aquatic Life, Art of Nature, and Human/Nature. This year’s photo story category, Coexistence, documents the remarkable ways in which we cohabit the planet with other species—and how our future together might look.

The Grand Prize and First Place Category winners and their work were highlighted at a special livestream BigPicture program last month. Awards include $12,000 in cash prizes and winning images featured in the BigPicture photography exhibit on the museum’s public floor.

Since launching in 2014, BigPicture has established a fast-growing reputation within the photography community, receiving one of just a handful of recommendations from “The 2020 Photographer’s Guide to Photo Contests” by PhotoShelter, one of the world’s top online photography resources.

This year, BigPicture launched its inaugural Emerging Photographer Grant—which awards two $2,500 grants and mentorships—with the goal of encouraging young photographers to share their fresh approaches and unique perspectives around the themes of conservation, science, and sustainability of the natural world. Learn more about this year’s recipients at the above link.

For those looking to enjoy BigPicture images from home, Wonders is a photography book published by Chronicle Books in 2018 that features more than 100 breathtaking images from the BigPicture competition and a foreword by Dr. Sylvia Earle, renowned marine scientist and ocean advocate. In addition, winning images may be viewed online at bioGraphic and the official BigPicture website.

BigPicture is also generously supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies

About the California Academy of Sciences

The California Academy of Sciences is a renowned scientific and educational institution dedicated to exploring, explaining, and sustaining life. Based in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, it is home to a world-class aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum, as well as innovative programs in scientific research and education—all under one living roof. When open, our hours are 9:30 am - 5:00 pm Monday - Saturday, and 11:00 am - 5:00 pm on Sunday. Admission includes all exhibits, programs, and shows. For reopening information, daily ticket prices, and to schedule your visit please go to www.calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000 for more information.

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