The Winners of Royal Society Photography Contest

What if we start this week with the news about the Royal Society photography contest and its winners?! The Royal Society Publishing photography competition was launched earlier this year by two of the Society’s biological sciences journals: Proceedings of the Royal Society B and Biology Letters. It celebrates the 350th anniversary of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the world’s longest running scientific journal.

The Winners of Royal Society Photography Contest

An underwater photo of a group of tadpoles silhouetted and seemingly flying against a bright blue sky has won the first place. Biologist Bert Willaert’s shot, captured while the scientist and photographer was snorkelling in a canal in his native Belgium, was chosen from over 1,000 entries by a judging panel of expert scientists.

The Winners of Royal Society Photography Contest

Winner Bert Willaert, who is a biologist of amphibian evolution and an environmental advisor, said:

“Clear water is hard to come across in the part of Belgium where I live, as a consequence of eutrophication. When I noticed these common toad tadpoles in the crystal clear canal I wanted to capture the chance encounter from their perspective.

The Winners of Royal Society Photography Contest


The competition was judged by Alex Badyaev, an evolutionary biologist and previous category winner of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, and an editor from each of the participating journals. Innes Cuthil is an Editor for Proceedings B, and Dr Claire Spottiswoode is an Editorial Board member for Biology Letters.

The winners of the last years also commented regarding the photo that gained the main photo award.

The Winners of Royal Society Photography Contest

“To me, the winning photo communicates the power of a common biological phenomenon visualised in a new light, and from a perspective that emphasises the other half of the ecosystem; the half we usually miss when looking down at a tadpoles’ puddle, but one that is very much part of the tadpoles’ own view — the clouds, the trees, and the sky.”

Judge Alex Badyaev, category winner in the 2011, 2012 and 2014 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition

Besides, there were also some other spectacular shots that were advised to pay attention to.

The Winners of Royal Society Photography Contest

Runner-up for Ecology and Environmental Science was Martha M Robbins from Germany for her shot of a silverback gorilla near the Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.

The Winners of Royal Society Photography Contest

A baboon gets lost in his thoughts in another specially commended shot submitted for Evolutionary Biology, made by Davide Gaglio.


The Winners of Royal Society Photography Contest

A school of tropical clupeid fish avoid a black-tip reef shark in Claudia Pogoreutz’s winning photo in the Behaviour category.

By the way, the winning photo and all the runners up and special commendations will be on display at Life through a lens, a free Royal Society event on 26 November 2015.



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