Bonn The exhibition "GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2019" has been opened at the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in Bonn. The photographer owes the winning photo to a lucky coincidence.
"They glitter, there’s steam and dust," Beate Jessel describes the picture worlds in the exhibition "Nature Photographer of the Year. The exhibition was opened by the President of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) in the authority's library. For the seventh time, the Society of German Animal Photographers (GDT) is showing the winning photos from its membership competition in Bonn.
From the 4400 photos of its approximately 1400 members, a three-member jury decided on the 70 photographs to be seen in Rüngsdorfer Konstantinstraße, in which gecko and ibex as well as mouse and mosquito face each other eye to eye, a lily of the valley meets sundew or ice-cold glaciers can be seen next to steaming rainforest. Pictures that all reflect the diversity of nature.
"Plagegeist" is the winning photo
"In spring 2017 a friend brought me to the Rombergpark in Dortmund, where he had discovered a large number of mice in various places", Klaus Tamm from Wuppertal tells us about the creation of his photo "Plagegeist", with which he became GDT nature photographer of the year 2019. In a three-day observation, he succeeded in capturing a minimalist mystical scene in which the mouse was not the main actor, but a mosquito buzzing around it.
The photo is "black as the night" in which it was taken. The mouse, which Jessel describes as a yellow-necked mouse with large eyes and ears and a long tail, "everything one imagines with a real mouse", can only be recognized as a silhouette. Tamm modestly explains that he ultimately owes his picture to chance. With several hundred shots, he has stored mice on his camera chip, which gather at a park bench at night to find the bread crumbs left over from feeding ducks and pigeons during the day.
Using a flash system about ten metres from the mouse identified as "Apodemus flavicollis", he succeeded in taking a "sensational" snapshot of the small mammal, as targeted by a mosquito hovering above it in a bright ring of light. In the blur over the encounter between mosquito and mouse, the light is reflected by water droplets and provides the mysticism often found in Tamm’s pictures.
Jessel adds that the yellow-necked mouse is still described as "frequent and harmless" both internationally and in the BfN's Red Lists. However, this is "by no means a common occurrence, as numerous small mammal species, including mice, are exposed to much worse prognoses".
As the owner of a recycling company, Tamm, who already received the GDT Nature Photographer of the Year award in 2015, is repeatedly confronted with the influence of humans on nature. "Nature conservation has become a matter close to my heart," says Tamm. In order to actively promote the protection of nature, he founded the non-profit "Aufwind-Gesellschaft", through which he donates all the income he generates with his photography, lectures, workshops and books to nature conservation projects.
For some years now, more than 10,000 Euro has been collected annually this way. This year it will probably be more like 20,000, the excellent amateur photographer is pleased to say. Perhaps before the end of this year, the GDT will also change its name to reflect the times after its 50th anniversary: The Society for Animal Photography will then become the Society for Nature Photography, "but it is not official yet", says President Stephan Fürnrohr.
The exhibition "GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2019" can be seen until 30 September in the library of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in Rüngsdorf, Konstantinstraße. 110, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The exhibition is closed on public holidays. Admission is free.
More pictures of the competition can be found on the competition website.
(Original text: Stefan Hermes / Translation: Mareike Graepel)