Nature through the lens at the Australian Museum

Over 100 photographs by 74 photographers are featured in the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2022 exhibition, on view FREE to the public at the Australian Museum from Saturday 17 September to Sunday 11 December 2022

Ashlee Jansen’s ‘Nature’s Prey’, a photograph of a humpback whale carcass and circling sharks on the ocean floor in Coral Bay, Western Australia, won the 2022 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition (AGNPY). The powerful image captures a harsh act of Mother Nature, yet an important part of the natural ecosystem.

This year’s exhibit includes 14 images of sharks, demonstrating the behavior, beauty and balance this keystone species brings to marine environments. After visiting the AGNPY exhibition, visitors can visit the Sharks of the AM exhibition, open from Saturday, September 24 and presented in the traveling exhibition hall in the basement.

Based in Western Australia, Ms Jansen captured the winning shot in July 2021 after a subadult whale died during the annual northward migration along the Ningaloo Reef.

Jansen recalled that tour boats had watched the young whale for days as it moved slowly through the bay, appearing sicker and slower with more shark bites on its body day by day.

“Friends had spotted an oil slick on the surface caused by the fall of the whale. As they got closer they were struck by the distinct smell and knew they had found the location of the carcass resting on the ocean floor,” she said.

“Delighted to share their discovery, I rushed to their location and jumped into the water to find the skeleton of the young humpback whale motionless on the ocean floor. Surrounding the bare bones were several different species well-fed sharks.

“We spent a few hours floating above the whale carcass, watching the sharks come closer and closer, phaseless by our presence as they scoured the area for leftover food,” said she added.


Honored to be named Australia’s Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2022, Ms Jansen, who has been an underwater photographer since 2017, reflected on the important message behind her captivating photo.

“This unforgettable experience reminds us of how harsh nature and the food chain can be, yet such an important part of the natural ecosystem. The sacrifice of one animal can provide so many nutrients to so many other wildlife species for years to come,” Jansen explained.

Australian Museum Director and CEO Kim McKay AO said Australia and its neighbors have it all – deserts and snow-capped mountains, rainforest and grasslands, beaches and reefs, city and bush. In each of these habitats live equally varied species.

“As we face a rapidly changing planet, it has never been more crucial for us to understand the Australian environment – ​​to understand the impact of past and present changes and to appreciate how we can play a part in its survival,” McKay said.

“We are delighted to once again host this exceptional photographic exhibition, a perfect complement to our very own Sharks exhibition, which opens a week later. Combined, these two exhibitions paint a captivating picture of the grandeur of our natural world and of the impact of human and built environments, and ultimately inspire us to help protect it,” McKay added.

A highlight of the exhibition is a particularly impressive range of images taken by budding young photographers, including Cian O’Hagan’s winning entry of a rotting seabird lying in the sand and revealing nature unstable life among the coastal elements.

Now in his 18e year, AGNPY received 2443 photographs from 602 amateur and professional photographers from 10 countries.

“It was exciting to see applications from people of all ages taking an interest in the often overlooked world of nature,” McKay added.

Ms Chrissie Goldrick, Editor, Australian Geographic said:

“This year’s winning image by Ashlee Jansen is a powerful statement about the circle of life and the interdependence of species. It reminds us that all creatures, whether large or small, rare or common, need our protection to maintain the delicate balance of nature. It’s amazing how often marine subjects are successful in this competition. It bears witness to the vital role the oceans play in the lives of those who inhabit the vast bioregion that includes Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea.

As Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year, Ashlee receives a cash prize of $10,000 and a trip prize from Coral Expeditions. The Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition and exhibition is produced by the South Australian Museum.

In addition to the exhibition, the Australian Museum offers photographic workshops for photography enthusiasts.


Beginners: Learn the basics of ethical wildlife photography. November 19, 20, 26: 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.


Intermediate: Photographic skills and knowledge will be enhanced with advanced shooting techniques and tips. November 19, 20, 26; 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The judges for the 2022 contest were:

  • Nicky Catley – Senior Photo Editor at Australian Geographic with over 20 years of experience in Australia and the UK on major newspaper and magazine titles.
  • Doug Gimesy – Award-winning professional conservation and wildlife photojournalist with a focus on Australian issues.
  • Professor Charlie Huveneers – Director of the Flinders University Marine and Coastal Research Consortium with over 15 years experience in shark and ray ecology.

The judges united in selecting this powerful image as the overall winner and praised Ms. Jansen’s photography skills.

“The beauty of the image is in its clever circular composition, visible in the curves of the whale’s skeletal ribs reflecting the patterns in the sand, keeping our eye in the frame moving between the living and the dead,” they wrote. declared.

The winner and runners-up for all ten categories were also announced, including three new categories: Animals in the Wild, Astrophotography and Urban Animals.

Animals in nature:

Winner: Night Light Dining, Jannico Kelk (QLD) Finalist: Midnight Seahorse, Matt Testoni, (Tas)

Urban animals:

Winner: The Tunnel of Eerie Blue Light, Zichen Wang (NSW) Finalist: Sleeping Dragon, Gary Meredith (WA

Botany: Winner: A Pink Grave, James Dorey (SA) Runner-up: Gnarled Mossy Cloud Forest, Justin Gilligan (NSW)

Landscape: Winner: Breaking Dawn, Yan Zhang (NSW) Finalist: Forces of Nature, Ellie Morris (WA)

Threatened species (vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered species):

Winner: Ocean Giant, Jake Wilton (NSW) Finalist: Head On, Matty Smith (NSW)

Monochrome: Winner: Fish Rock Cave, Matt Krumins (Vic) Crackle and Pop Finalist, Jarrod Koh (SA)

Our impact (representing human impact on nature):

Winner: Snagged, Alan Kwok (NSW) Runner-up: Landing on Mars, Jiayuan Liang (SA)

Astrophotography (new category in 2022):

Winner: The Outlier, Jason Perry (Vic) Finalist: Flinders Rise, William Godward (SA)

Portfolio Award (best portfolio of six images with a common theme): Winner: Alejandro Trevino (NSW)

Junior (photographers under 18):

Winner: Impermanence, Cian O’Hagan (NSW) Runner-up: Abstraction of an Icon, Cian O’Hagan (NSW)

Dates: September 17, 2022 – December 11, 2022. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., FREE

Venue: Hintze Hall, Australia Museum, 1 William Street, Sydney.


Dates: September 17, 2022 – December 11, 2022. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., FREE

Venue: Hintze Hall, Australia Museum, 1 William Street, Sydney.

/Public release. This material from the original organization/authors may be ad hoc in nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors.