Good nature photography makes you wish you were there. The BigPicture exhibit makes you feel like you are. Journey to where life is wild, beauty is bizarre, and animals inspire us to be more human.

A kangaroo pauses in a burned eucalyptus plantation to gaze at the camera, her joey just visible in her pouch. A flashlight-lit mushroom puts on an otherworldly show as it releases a golden swirl of spores. A sea lion’s underwater acrobatics are interrupted by the sign of our times: a discarded face mask.

In the eighth annual BigPicture: Natural World Photography exhibit, the 49 winning images from the Academy’s nature, wildlife, and conservation photography competition tell a captivating, complex story of Earth’s animals, plants, and ecosystems. Accompanied by thought-provoking context and illuminating insights from the artists, judges, and Academy scientists, the photographs compel viewers to revel in our planet’s beauty—and feel moved to protect it.

Fox stares at rodent. Photo by Ayala Fishaimer

The winners' gallery

This year’s 49 winning photographs were selected from a pool of nearly 8,400 submissions from 68 countries. Head to the BigPicture website to view the winning images from all seven competition categories, learn about our Emerging Photographer Grant and Women in Wildlife Photography initiatives, and subscribe to BigPicture news.

Above: Tough Negotiation by Ayala Fishaimer // Terrestrial Wildlife finalist

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Photographer Suzi Eszterhas

Eyes on the prize

Chaired by award-winning wildlife photographer Suzi Eszterhas, BigPicture's esteemed panel of eight judges includes international photo editor Sophie Stafford, filmmakers Inka Crewswell and Morgan Heim, and award-winning nature and conservation photographers Michael Aw, Shem Compion, Claudio Contreras Koob, Jasper Doest, and Rathika Ramasamy.

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Orca and calf in sun-dappled waters. Photo by Andy Schmid

Dive deeper

A picture is worth a thousand words—but a picture plus words is even better. Visit bioGraphic, the Academy’s online magazine about nature, conservation, and regeneration, for a curated gallery of 12 winning images paired with their fascinating backstories.

Above: Orcas Under the Arctic Sun by Andy Schmid // Aquatic Life finalist

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A hardback copy of Wonders

Print matters

Experience the exhibit at home: Wonders, a photography book of more than 100 remarkable images from past BigPicture competitions, is on sale at the Academy Store and other fine booksellers.

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Hours & location

The 2021 BigPicture: Natural World Photography exhibit opens October 16—catch the 2020 exhibit, open daily, through October 10. Find it in the Piazza on the Main Floor.

Generously supported by
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