We invited a panel of esteemed nature photographers, writers, and photo editors—chaired by award-winning wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas—to judge and select from this year's competition entries.
“BigPicture has become one of the most prestigious nature photography contests in the world. Every year, the judging panel has the privilege of seeing thousands of exquisite images from all corners of the globe, so many of which just blow your mind.”
—Suzi Eszterhas, BigPicture Jury Chair
Suzi Eszterhas is an award-winning wildlife photographer who is best known for her work documenting newborn animals and family life in the wild. Her photographs have been published in over 100 magazine cover and feature stories. She has 21 books in print and another three in progress. A dedicated conservationist, Suzi lends her images and expertise to help raise funds and awareness for several environmental organizations around the globe. Suzi is also the Founder and Executive Director of Girls Who Click, a nonprofit dedicated to encouraging young women to enter the male-dominated profession of wildlife photography.
Michael Aw is an award-winning wildlife photographer, explorer, and ocean advocate. He is the principal author of 38 books and co-author of eight books about the ocean and founder of Asian Geographic and Ocean Geographic magazines. He has won over 68 international photographic awards, including four from Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and was named as “one of the world’s most influential nature photographers” by Outdoor Photographer. Michael’s work has been published in BBC Wildlife, GEO, National Geographic, The Smithsonian, Nature, Discovery and more. Michael has led multiple expeditions with some of the world’s most influential image-makers and scientists and most recently conducted a first-ever baseline survey of the biomass of corals and fishes in the Coral Triangle.
Shem Compion is a wildlife photographer working throughout Africa and the world. Highly dedicated to his craft, he has lived in a car for seven months, built specialized underground hides, hiked with military escorts, and slept on top of a few volcanoes—all in the pursuit of creating images of relevance and impact. He shares his experiences and knowledge via books, of which he has published seven, and managing C4 Photo Safaris, a safari company dedicated to providing the highest level of service to photographers wanting to visit every corner of Africa. He is currently working on projects that explore uncharted areas in Africa.
Claudio Contreras Koob has dedicated the last 30 years to raising public awareness around the importance of nature and conservation. He is an International League of Conservation Photographers Fellow and he has won many competition awards, including from Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Nature's Best, BigPicture, Asferico and Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year. His work has been published in Mexico and in several international magazines such as National Geographic (Latin America and Spain), BBC Wildlife, Nature's Best Magazine and Terre Sauvage. Claudio is committed to the protection of all living forms, big and small and collaborates with several scientists and organizations on projects dedicated to the conservation of our natural world.
Inka Cresswell is a marine biologist and wildlife filmmaker/photographer. Her most recent film, MY25: The Ocean Between Us, tells the story of how she has seen the ocean change within her lifetime and has screened at film festivals globally, including Wildscreen. Inka is currently working in the wildlife filmmaking industry as a researcher developing a new ocean series. She is a proud ocean ambassador for the Marine Conservation Society and partner photographer at Girls Who Click. She hopes that her work will not only educate and inspire a new generation of conservationists but arm them with the tools they need to educate others and drive real conservation impact.
Jasper Doest is an award-winning photographer who creates visual stories that explore the relationship between humankind and nature. Jasper—who majored in ecology—knows human life depends on everything our planet has to offer, yet he recognizes the unsustainable nature of the current human patterns of consumption. As a true believer in the power of photography to initiate change, he is an International League of Conservation Photographers Senior Fellow and a World Wildlife Fund ambassador. Jasper is also a contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine and has received awards from World Press Photo and Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
Morgan Heim is a wildlife photojournalist and filmmaker focusing on wildlife-human coexistence. She is a Senior Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers, and her work has appeared in outlets such as Audubon, Smithsonian,National Geographic, and Newsweek. Her current projects focus on growing empathy for roadkill, our complicated relationships with cormorants, and a long-term effort about the environmental impacts of drug cartels on U.S. forests. In 2019, she founded Neon Raven Story Labs, a storytelling and strategy platform for conservation, and co-launched Her Wild Vision Initiative, aimed at raising the voices of diverse women in the craft of visual storytelling.
Rathika Ramasamy specializes in bird photography and is arguably one of India's most prominent wildlife photographers. Her work has been featured in several international publications and exhibitions. She regularly conducts wildlife photography workshops and holds talks all over India. She has travelled to most national parks in India and many in Africa to document indigenous wildlife. Rathika has served on the jury panel of many national and international photography awards and contests, including the National Awards for photography instituted by the government of India. She is a founding member of Wildlife Conservation of India.
Sophie Stafford is a passionate conservationist and charity communication consultant who has judged many of the world’s nature photography competitions. As Editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine, she judged and co-managed the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition for nearly 10 years. She has traveled the world to join the juries of natural history photo contests, and has been part of the BigPicture team since its inception in 2014. Sophie is an affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers, and reviews and judges photography for a myriad of natural history magazines that she produces for international conservation charities, as well as for bioGraphic.