“How is someone getting that photograph,” said one Time Out reader at last night’s sneak peek into the new photographic exhibition at the Australian National Maritime Museum. She’s leaning into check out ‘A Whale of a Mouthful’ taken by Australian photographer Michael AW, which won the Under Water category of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in 2015.
It’s an awe-inspiring shot of a whale moving through a mass of sardines off the coast of South Africa. But it’s not the only jaw-dropping image on show; there are 100 photos in the exhibition, which is on loan from the Natural History Museum, London. A panel of industry professionals judged 42,000 entries from 96 countries taken by some of the world’s best nature photographers.
The breathtaking photos include a terrifying field of spider webs clinging to trees, two Komodo dragons in a tussle and an almost entirely white image of a mountain hare taken in the Cairngorms in Scotland.
A hundred Time Out readers were treated to a preview of the exhibition, which was opened by director and CEO Kevin Sumption, Time Out’s CEO Mike Rodrigues and head of interpretation and design Alex Gaffikin, who gave fascinating accounts of the length some photographers will go to in order to capture images of snow leopards and sharks in the wild.
The Maritime Museum (who regularly hosts international photography shows such as Ansel Adams, Beautiful Whale, Elysium, and coming up in a few months a showcase of the works of Harold Cazneaux) complemented the photographs with artefacts from their own collection. Beside an underwater image of a surfer and shark swimming together, the Museum placed a surfboard that had been bitten by a shark off the coast of Ballina. There are also shells and corals that were collected from Palm Beach in the 1940s-1960s and a turtle that dates back to the early 20th century, when shipping companies collected the creatures as souvenirs.
Because there’s nothing better than drinking booze while looking at incredible wildlife photography after dark, each guest was treated to wine from Angove Family Winemakers and cheese and canapés by Laissez-faire catering. If you’d like to see the exhibition for yourself – and why wouldn’t you! – it’s running until October 15. As a bonus, all visitors who buy a ticket to Wildlife Photographer of the Year also have access to the new Ships, Clocks and Stars exhibition.