Entering The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards
We are very lucky at The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards to have the most exclusive, erudite, talented and of course funny, selection of judges to make sure only the best and funniest pictures win. Here we are…
Daisy Gilardini is an inspirational and awesome wildlife photographer, specialising in the Polar Regions, with particular emphasis on Antartic wildlife and North American bears. She is also a strong conservationist, which makes her a perfect fit on our judge’s panel. As a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and the Sea Legacy Collective, a fellow of the New York based Explorers Club and a member of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, she has way more credentials and talent than all three of us put together and we are hoping that a tiny smidgen of it might rub off on us.
Kate will be known to many of you, as she is a household name in the land of wildlife TV presenting in the UK and around the world. She started out in TV in 1989 making tea and typing and since then has taken the TV world by storm More recently Kate and Ludo (the Hubster) have moved to Monmouthshire and have this incredible project called Humble by Nature. Kate has travelled all over the world and spent years working with photographers and knows perfectly well what makes a great photograph, she also is super funny and lights up a room with her huge smile! We are lucky to have her on the judging panel, being beautiful doesn’t have anything to do with it, ooh no!
Our underwear – whoops, typo, but let’s leave it in as it did make us laugh…our UNDERWATER expert. Luke is also an award-winning Scuba Instructor Trainer, Natural history filmmaker, photographer, writer, explorer and dog walker. He is the real deal. Le Big Mac, to coin a phrase. Luke has shot underwater for various channels, publications, commissions, editorials and advertising campaigns, including BBC Planet Earth 3, Netflix Our Planet and the current campaign for Fourth Elements. All very amazing stuff, though we are pretty sure Tom is still better at belly flops than Luke.
Luke holds the highest possible recreational and technical qualifications with PADI and his work in various expeditions, scientific diving and diving to 118m/398 feet in the Sea of Cortez earned him a Fellowship of The Explorers Club in New York. Luke is also the Owner & Operator of The Dive Gurus - The only PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
Luke is an extremely committed Ocean advocate, it is his belief that through scuba diving we can encourage people to understand more about our oceans and have more sustainable, positive interactions with wild animals underwater that will lead to nurturing and conserving the oceans.
Hugh Dennis is an actor and a comedian, best known for playing the harrassed Dad of three in the award winning BBC sitcom Outnumbered, being team captain in the long running panel show Mock the Week, and for hosting and writing Radio 4’s The Now Show, which is currently in its 57th series.
His knowledge of photography is far less than any of the other judges, but to counter this he has probably been photographed more often than they have, frequently against his will, and therefore knows what it feels like to be a wildebeest, a lion or a honey badger pursued by a troupe of SLR wielding tourists.
He also claims to understand comedy.
Bella is a young, passionate conservationist and ambassador for the Born Free Foundation and Jane Goodall Institute. She is also part of the Ivory Alliance, which is a group of ‘influencers’ and politicians working to combat the Illegal Wildlife Trade. Through her social media platform, Bella educates and inspires a wide group of people to protect the natural world, including speaking at the People’s Walk for Wildlife and the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference. Just in case that is not enough, Bella also has a few projects for the upcoming year, including a TedX talk, a manifesto for change and is currently in the process of setting up a non profit organisation. All about wildlife... of course! Puts some of the judges to shame… (well, Paul and Tom anyway)..
Will is a hugely well known wildlife photographer from the UK. He is best known as the creator of BeetleCam and as a plaything for meerkats. As the inventor of BeetleCam and Camera Trap system he is something of a camera techno-wizard. He is also the Founder of Camtraptions helping loads of other photographers to take way better pictures than him by manufacturing amazing equipment for us lot, thanks Will. This altruistic side obviously rubbed off on him from his lovely wife Natalie, who is a doctor (www.drnat.co.uk) and slaved away helping people in Zambia while Will sipped Pina Coladas (no seriously Will I hope you didn’t?) in the South Luangwa Valley and took the odd picture. :www.burrard-lucas.com & www.camtraptions.com Facebook: BLphotography Twitter: @willbl Instagram: @willbl
Will Travers OBE
Will Travers is an internationally-renowned wildlife expert who has dedicated his life to wildlife issues, since he lived in Kenya while his parents, Virginia McKenna OBE and Bill Travers MBE, made the film Born Free (1966). In 1984, he co-founded the charitable wildlife organisation now known as The Born Free Foundation (www.bornfree.org.uk), which works to stop individual wild animal suffering, protect threatened species worldwide and promote compassionate conservation.
Will is also the President of Born Free USA (www.bornfreeusa.org), a national animal advocacy non-profit 501©(3) organization and is President of the Species Survival Network (SSN – www.ssn.org), an international coalition of more than 100 organisations committed to the promotion, enhancement and strict enforcement of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES).
He has been involved in rescuing numerous individual animals and is always willing to share his experience and knowledge to further Born Free’s vision for a more compassionate future, which is why he has kindly joined us to make sure we use every opportunity to further our conservation message. We are lucky to have him on board.
Ashley Hewson, Managing Director of Affinity Photo developer Serif, has risen from customer service call handler to appearing on stage at Apple’s showpiece WWDC2017, launching Affinity Photo for iPad. He has led the team in Nottingham, England, for six years, and his vision and passion for design and creativity has helped transform of Serif from a company with a reputation for the reliable Plus range of PC software, to the leading-edge developer of Apple Design Award winning vector design and photo editing apps, first for Mac, and now Windows and iOS.
Celina Dunlop, head of picture desk, The Economist, United Kingdom
Appointed Head of Picture Desk at The Economist in 1990 with responsibility for photo content in all media. She was a jury member for This Working Life 2007, Czech Press Photo 2011, 2012, BG Press Photo 2013, UK Picture Editors' Guild Awards 2019 and has been on several panels discussing a variety of photo industry issues. In addition to that she is also a tutor, a documentary maker for the BBC, video creator, a journalist and of course, I don't really need to say it, but obviously award-winning as well.
Andrew Skirrow is co-founder, leader and pin up model of Amazing Internet, the company who created this (and Paul's) fantastic website. An overly keen but sadly untalented photographer, he spends his days looking at real photographers' fantastic images (such as Paul and Toms) and works with his team to create beautiful websites to show them off. He started Amazing Internet in 1999 and pioneered the concept of low-cost template-based websites for photographers, a model which many companies have now adopted. A keen birdwatcher and a country boy at heart he is never happier than when walking his beloved dogs and family.
Simon is sitting in another of our 'paid for seats' being another sponsor of this great endeavour that is the Comedy Pet Photo Awards. A background in photography and social media, Simon photographed live music for years before switching gears and taking on a handful of portrait and wedding shoots. Moving swiftly on and into a little bit of food photography. In the middle of all of this he's owned a plethora of various pets including his two boys aged 3 and 7 (though some would say that own him). Simon's 'social media life' is based on his looking after all things social media for camera bag makers, ThinkTankPhoto.com as well as a small handful of other brands.
You can find ThinkTankPhoto.com all over social media, and you can find Simon over here about.me/gtvone
Charlie Hamilton James
Charlie Hamilton James is a world-renowned National Geographic photographer, filmmaker, and author known for his captivating work on wildlife and conservation issues. He was born in 1973 in the United Kingdom and grew up in the city of Bristol. His interest in photography began at a young age, after his parents gave him a camera for his 13th birthday.
Charlie began his career at 16, working on David Attenborough’s ‘Trails of Life’ series for the BBC; before becoming a wildlife cameraman, working on series’ including Planet Earth and The Natural World. He shot and produced his first film at 26; ‘My Halcyon River’ was voted, by an industry poll, to be one of the top-ten wildlife films of all time.
Charlie’s television work has won numerous awards including Wildscreen, twice winning the Royal Television Society Award for Cinematography and BAFTA and EMMY nominated. He is currently working with Silverback Films in the UK shooting and directing a feature for Disney/National Geographic.
Charlie started working as a photographer for National Geographic Magazine in his thirties and has to date shot thirteen stories, including two cover stories. In 2021, his coverage of the Serengeti filled an entire magazine issue, showcasing the changing dynamics of life for people and animals in the region. He has also worked on stories for the magazine in the Amazon, the US, and across Africa, covering topics ranging from bird cognition to rats. In 2022 he was awarded the ‘National Geographic Photographer’s Photographer Award.’
Paul Joynson-Hicks MBE
Paul somehow managed to organise this competition in the first place, all on his own, and with no help from anyone, but that hasn’t changed the fact that nobody really listens to anything he says anyway. Having said that of course he has got this thing going, yuppo well done him…Paul is a wildlife photographer, and as you can see from the pic – has a great big lens. He ‘assures us’ he isn’t compensating for anything. He lives in Arusha, Tanzania with his Mrs, (aka The Pooch) and his two small boys (aka the Bograts) and his Springers. He loves being in the bush and taking pictures and is desperate one day to win a photographic award! We have told him though, that he can’t win his own competition. He was awarded an MBE for some great charitable work in Tanzania over the years, not his photography...or his shirts!
Possibly the most important person after all the others listed here, Tom is the chair of the judges and apparently competition director. You wouldn’t believe it but somehow things panned out that way. Having spent the first part of his professional life working in financial services in London, he then decided to quit everything in order to pursue a career in photography and stopped earning altogether. Initially influenced by Charlie Waite, Tom started to develop his own style in the landscape, yeah right. He won the prestigious Fuji Photographer of the Year award, along with the One Vision prize, yeah alright he doesn’t half hark on about all his prizes! He has led numerous photography groups and increasingly the medium of black & white has taken prominence, as he never really got the hang of working in colour.