Focus for Survival 2020: Photographer of the Year Short-List


Just six images have been selected from our short-list of 26 for the Focus for Survival Introducing Photographer of the Year 2020 award.  The selection panel included patrons Levison Wood and Pip Stewart and professional photographers Paul Goldstein and Will Burrard-Lucas. Thank you to each of them for their time and expertise.

Many congratulations to all the photographers. The award winners in all categories have been published here.

The six images below will be on display at our exhibition at gallery@oxo on the South Bank in London between 11 and 22 November, and will be available to bid for, in aid of our projects, during the online auction which concludes 29 November.

Aleksandra Maddams

Leopard Spotting the Lions, Masai Mara, Kenya (January 2019)

Canon 80D, 200-400mm lens at 349mm, f5.6, 1/200 sec

“We came across this beautiful leopard called Nalangu on our first day of holidays in the Mara. She was feeding on a hare in the bushes and we followed her after she finished her meal. She disappeared soon after and just as we were about to leave we saw her running back and jumping up a tree, clearly distressed. She kept on looking intensely out ahead and for a good reason. There were two lionesses walking by, who chose to lie down to rest very close to the tree Nalangu was on. We heard from other guides later that she had to stay there for many hours before the lions moved off.

“What I loved about taking this photo is that our vehicle was on an elevated ground, which meant that I was on the eye level with the leopard and also pretty close to her, which was one of the most thrilling moments of my life.”


Jason Parnell-Brookes

Basking in the Glitter Path, Iceland (June 2019)

Nikon D850, 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 lens, f/5.6 at 1/800 sec, ISO400

While out chasing the sunset along the coastline in Iceland I happened upon a group of Puffins that had been collecting sand eels. As the sun set they became much calmer, as if they were watching the light fade after a hard day’s work. I patiently crawled my way toward the cliffedge to photograph a couple perched on the end. The sun’s glitter path shone sparkling warm discs on the ocean, so I positioned the Puffins in front of this to provide environmental context. It was such a pleasure to see these fantastic animals in full plumage, in the middle of their nesting season, taking a well-earned break for the day. With up to a 42% decline in Puffin species in the last five years, climate change and habitat destruction plays a huge role in Fratercula arctica being listed as vulnerable. These two F. Arctica stand at the cliffedge on Grimsey Island in Iceland, backlit by a shimmering glitter path produced by the midnight sun on the summer solstice.”

Jon Cleave

 Looking Up To You, Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides, Scotland (September 2019)

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

We were battered by storms for days coming in from the Atlantic, giving us fewer chances of seeing any wildlife – but on day 4 when the weather cleared, the seals came back out to play.

“Titled Looking Up To You, this image is a poignant reminder that we have a duty to keep our seas clean from plastic and pollution, to which all other walks of life depend on. I wanted to capture our natural world from new perspectives, creating a platform of inspiration to those who view it and in turn, see the true value in preserving it.”


Martin Bucher

Two Long Minutes, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya (February 2020)

Nikon D3 1/1000sec f 5.6 ISO 220 500mm lens

“The picture was taken at Lewa in Kenya, one of the conservation partners we have at Zurich Zoo, where I’ve worked since 1983. I was attending a workshop.

“The reticulated giraffe got stock in a muddy area – when the lion realised this he attacked. Working with animals for years and having travelled many journeys worldwide to all the continents- this picture will remain forever in my memory – it was outstanding how the lion read the weak moment of the giraffe- just incredible!  A lucky moment for the photographer – with a result to share.”

Simona Auteri

Milky Way Shark, Nosy Be, Madagascar (November 2019)

Go Pro 7

“I’m an oceanaholic. I freedive – dive using my breath-  to -52m. In Madagascar I was volunteering for Madagascar Whale Shark Project. We  would take pictures of the left hand side of the whale shark, capturing the unique pattern of white dots behind its gills and above its pectoral fins, that resemble a constellation (hence the Malagasy name Milky Way Sharks).

“The spots identify each individual like a set of fingerprints and the pictures are uploaded along with the GPS location of the sighting to the global sighting database.”


Will Appleyard

Out of Mind , Forgotten Islands, Indonesia 

DJI Mavic Pro

“I was on a 900 nautical mile, 12 day diving trip travelling from Saumlaki to Sorong, Indonesia. We visited some of the most remote and pristine examples of improving biodiversity that I have seen anywhere in the world, in nearly 20 years of underwater exploration.  I wanted to send the drone up to gain a better view of our otherwise sea level surroundings. The image was taken early in the morning and the sea was so flat it reminded me of ice.  The island in the background gave the image an almost prehistoric feel.  The feeling of insignificance I felt within this massive expanse of sea was just fabulous. Having seen the pristine reefs, wealth of coral, healthy marine habitats and gigantic clouds of fish on this trip, it has made me consider that this is what an ocean did, should and would have looked like. It was  beautiful to see, but at the same time depressing to realise what the ocean looks like closer to mankind. “