Chloé Bès, a young animal photographer from Rosheim, has been selected as Wildlife Photographer of the Year, one of the most prestigious photography competitions in the world. Organized by the Natural History Museum in London, this competition is subject to public voting and the result will be announced in February 2023.
The Festival of Lights 2022 in Lyon
Alsatian pride! Chloé Bès, professional nature photographer from Rosheim, was selected among the finalists in “the people’s choice” in the Wildlife photographer of the year competition. The competition was established in 1964 and has become one of the most important and prestigious in the world. It is organized by the London Museum of Natural History and BBC Wildlife magazine.
As a 30-year-old, Alsace decided to enter the competition last year. “We had to register from December 2021 and send our photograph in no time“, Chloe explains,”This must be sent as taken, i.e. we cannot change it in any way“.
She chose a photo of a seagull taken in a harbor in Japan in the middle of winter below -30°C. She was passionate about ornithology and wanted to be represented by one of her first professional shots. “The seagull is an animal that is considered common, but it is represented in a minimalist way in this picture. You have to guess it through the snow“, she clarifies.
In total, more than 39,000 candidates submit their photos. Hundrede is then selected for the award as wildlife photographer of the year. Among them are 25 additional photographs selected by the members of the jury for the category “the people’s choiceThey are also on display until 2 July 2023 in the London museum.
Chloé Bès is the first French woman to be selected in this category in several years. She now hopes to win the title to make herself known worldwide. “It was already a great pride to be selected, it touched me a lot. I hope to win to maybe start my career“, she smiles.
The email announcing my selection among the finalists remained in my junk mail for two daysChloé Bès, wildlife photographer
However, the young woman almost missed the competition. “The email announcing my selection from the 25 finalists stayed in my junk mail for two days, I hadn’t even seen it“, she adds. While you wait for the big winner to be announced on 9 February 2023, you have until 2 February to vote on the London Museum of Natural History website.
Photography was not the first professional project that Chloé thought of. As an electrical engineer on a permanent contract, she began photography as an autodidact, accompanied by her partner Alexandre. “We have a common passion: the environment. We started with naturalists in Alsace“, she states,”Over time, we have learned to observe the world around us with a different eye. Everything that seemed ordinary suddenly became extraordinary“.
The couple then decide to travel to several countries in the world, including Scotland and Japan. In 2018, they packed their bags in Kenya and fell in love instead. “I was able to go on safari there when I was 8 years old with my parents. I’ve always wanted to go back there because the local fauna fascinates me, like the leopard for example.”, says Alexandre Bès. A journey that will have enabled Chloé to win a prize in the international competition of “Lowland photo competition” thanks to his shot of a lesser flamingo on the water taken in Africa.
The pair is not limited to the competition. They now plan to conduct excursions in Kenya and introduce tourists to the daily life of wildlife photographers. They are also publishing a book in September 2023 about their experiences. For those who wish, Chloé and Alexandre also offer technical lessons to learn about photography, as well as a photography course in South Africa.