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…
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, as you can see from the pic – his great big lens he says, no he ‘assures us’ isn’t compensating for anything, nope of course not PJH. 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, bad luck. He was awarded an MBE for some great charitable work in Tanzania over the years, not his photography!! (Although his work is really really good, inspirational, brilliant…PJH get off the edit machine)
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 (i.e. she now makes coffee?!). More recently Kate and Ludo (the Hubster) have moved to Monmouthshire and have this incredible project called Humble by Nature, please check it out. Kate has travelled all over the world and spent years working with TV people and 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! For more info you can find Kate at
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, Tom realised the error of his ways to quit everything in order to pursue a career in photography and stop 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 groups and increasingly the medium of black & white has taken prominence, as he never really got the hang of working in colour. He recently moved with his family to Tanzania where the wilds of African landscapes have provided yet another challenge, he is probably hoping no one will find him out here, bad luck Tom we did!
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 45th series.
To be honest his knowledge of photography is far less than any of the other judges, but to counter that he has probably been photographed more often than they have, frequently against his will, and therefore knows roughly 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.
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 (you see what he did there..) 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. You can find Will pretty much anywhere on the interweb, he is quite brilliant at this stuff and his pictures are awesome (ok ok enough already) Find him here:
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). So no guesses what his favourite cuddly toy was..? 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). Holy mackerel! That is a lot of stuff he does and Presidencies as well!
He has been involved in rescuing numerous individual elephants, tigers, dolphins and lions 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. I mean, if you want someone on board, it may as well be a serial conservation President! Will is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the IUCN Reintroduction Specialist Group. He was awarded an OBE in June 2012 (yes PJH thats better than yours!) for Services to Conservation and Animal Welfare in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Yup, there is no doubt Will is the ‘go to’ man for conservation, which is why we are lucky to have him on board.
Oliver Smith is The Telegraph’s online travel editor. His photography skills, animal knowledge and comedic talent pale in comparison to the other members of the panel, which leads him to wonder whether the possibility of coverage on his website is behind the decision to recruit him to the team. (Oli, how could you say such a thing??) He does, however, have plenty of experience judging amateur photography – The Telegraph’s weekly “Big Picture” competition attracts hundreds of entries – a staggering number of which he notes are of animals, whether in the Serengeti or nibbling at the bird feeder in the snapper’s back garden. All of which illustrates just how much us Brits love animals – and never more so than when they’re doing something silly: gurning camels and tree-climbing goats also have a propensity to clog up his inbox.
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
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. Thank goodness, he is better at this than he is at photography. He started Amazing Internet in 1999 and pioneered the concept of low-cost template-based websites for photographers (wow, what a sales pitch - give the man a mic and off he goes), a model which many companies have now adopted. Since then the company has produced award-winning bespoke sites for some of the country's best photographers. A keen birdwatcher and a country boy at heart he is never happier than when walking his beloved dogs and family, which normally gets some unwanted attention.
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. To be honest we could stop here as if this wouldn’t be proof enough that at Comedy Wildlife we only have the elite of elite professional and overqualified photo judges, but just to really show off about our newest judge Celina, here’s more…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. I am properly exhausted already by reading about Celina’s achievements, and it even goes on…she is 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. So you can all see that she fits in quite nicely with our acclaimed and most brilliant team of judges lead by Tom and Paul, who need people like this to make them look good. It works.
If would be unfair to start with Bella’s age. Because it would be misleading… so we will say something about Bella before we tell you how old she is. Bella is 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. Bella utilises the power of technology (in the form of social media and blogging) to educate and inspire a wide group of people to protect the natural world. Not only does Bella do all this, but she also delivers speeches, including speaking at the People’s Walk for Wildlife and the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in 2018. And then when you consider that Bella is only 16, yes, sixteen, you realise that she also has to fit in school, sports, friends, life etc into this incredible schedule. 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)..