Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012: Meet the judges

The Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 Competition has now started its global search for the most inspiring, evocative, compelling, challenging nature images. Meet the judges here. 

Wildlife Photographer of the Year
Jim Brandenburg (USA) Minnesota native Jim Brandenburg traveled the globe as a photographer with National Geographic Magazine for several decades. His extensive body of work has been published throughout the world and his photographs have won a multitude of national and international awards. Four of Jim’s images were recently chosen for inclusion in a unique collection that represents the “40 most important nature photographs of all time.” He was the recipient of the ‘Kodak Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ award by the Natural History Museum-London and BBC Wildlife Magazine, and twice was named ‘Magazine Photographer of the Year’ by the National Press Photographer's Association (NPPA). Brandenburg was the recipient of the ‘World Achievement Award’ from the United Nations Environmental Programme in Stockholm, Sweden in recognition of his using nature photography to raise public awareness for the environment.
Brandenburg has published many bestsellers including: Chased by the Light, Looking for the Summer, Brother Wolf, White Wolf and Minnesota Images of Home. He has also published five young adult books: To the Top of the World, Scruffy, An American Safari, Sand and Fog and most recently a National Geographic book titled Face to Face with Wolves. 
Because of his love of the vanishing North American prairies, he formed the Brandenburg Prairie Foundation; the Foundation’s goal is to raise funds to preserve, restore and promote native prairies in Minnesota. Brandenburg’s work can be seen on the web at, by visiting the Brandenburg Gallery located in Ely, Minnesota, or the non-profit gallery in Luverne, Minnesota, benefiting the Brandenburg Prairie Foundation:
Daniel Beltrá (Spain) is a conservation photographer who was born in Madrid, Spain, and is now based in Seattle, Washington. His passion for conservation is evident in images of our environment that are evocatively poignant. Daniel’s most striking large-scale photographs are his images shot from the air. This perspective gives the viewer a wider context to the beauty and destruction he witnesses, as well as revealing a delicate sense of scale. Over the past two decades, Daniel's work has taken him to all seven continents, including several Greenpeace expeditions to the Brazilian Amazon, the Arctic, the Southern Oceans, the Patagonian ice fields and the Gulf of Mexico. In April 2009, Daniel received the prestigious Prince's Rainforest Project Award granted by Prince Charles. In 2011, he was named the Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum and the Deeper Perspective Photographer of the Year at the 9th Annual Lucie Awards. Daniel's work has been published by the most prominent international publications and he is a fellow of the prestigious International League of Conservation Photographers.
David Doubilet (USA) has spent a life time photographing the world of water since the age of 12 when he put his Brownie Hawkeye camera into a rubber anaesthetist's bag. David is a contributing photographer and author for National Geographic Magazine where he has published 70 story assignments since his first in 1971. David is a contributing editor, author of several books on the sea and honoured to be the recipient of many prestigious awards including the Explorer's Club Lowell Thomas Award, Lennart Nilsson Award and Academy of Achievement Awards. He is a founding member of the International League of Conservation Photographers. His personal challenge is to capture the fragile and finite world below in a manner that connects people to the sea.
Edwin Giesbers (The Netherlands) is a professional freelance nature photographer. In early childhood he began exploring nature in his local environment and at the age of 16 he started combining his love for nature with photography. Since 2005, Edwin has been a dedicated full-time nature photographer, interested in a wide range of subjects, from insects, plants, birds and mammals, to entire landscapes. As well as his photography, Edwin also contributes stories and articles to several magazines. Worldwide, his pictures have been awarded in several leading competitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year. His work has been published in renowned magazines such as BBC Wildlife Magazine, National Geographic, Terre Sauvage and Camera Natura. His work is represented by Nature Picture Library, an international leading photo agency, which has a partnership with Minden Pictures. Since 2009, Edwin has been a member of the International Environment Photographers Association. His goals are to show his love for nature in his pictures and to raise awareness about the importance of preserving nature.
Soichi Hayashi (Japan) is a Creative Director of the Tokyo-based advertising agency K&L Inc. For many years, he has worked alongside the world's finest photographers in not only nature/wildlife but also other diverse fields, providing evocative images that illustrate both creative and technical perspectives. He also possesses in-depth understanding of photographic equipment and techniques. His interests towards photography began in early childhood, influenced and nurtured by his father and grandfather – both professional commercial photographers. He has a profound respect for nature, and enjoys capturing images of the natural world.
Rosamund Kidman Cox (UK) is an editor and writer, specialising in wildlife and environmental issues and with a particular interest in photography. She was editor of Wildlife Magazine, subsequently BBC Wildlife Magazine, for 23 years, and has been a judge of the competition since 1981. She is an associate member of the International League of Conservation Photographers and produces the international WildPhotos symposium for Wildscreen. Roz project-manages photography-led books, including the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year Portfolio and titles such as Frozen Planet, Life and Planet Earth for BBC Books.
Vincent Munier (France) was born in 1976, in a small village in northeast France. Like the old trees he enjoys contemplating, Vincent’s roots stem from the ancient, mountainous earth of the Vosges hillsides. He was lucky to grow up in an area where nature imposes the beauty of its seasons and to discover those landscapes with his father, who taught him to respect the quietness of the wilderness. When he was 12, Vincent started to take pictures of animals with an old camera given to him by his father. He walked and rode his bike along the mountain paths, looking for the wild animals and sometimes even sleeping in the forest to capture the unique light and atmosphere at different times of day. Vincent prefers wet and cold landscapes, where he can find fog and the kind of light that so inspires him. His pictures have received awards in international competitions and he was the recipient of the Eric Hosking Award for three consecutive years from 2000–2002. His aspiration remains to approach the animal, in the midst of the elements, and try to touch upon the depth of life.
Jari Peltomäki (Finland) is professional wildlife photographer living in Liminka, Finland. There he runs his own bird tour and wildlife photography business, Finnature Ltd. Jari has been taking photographs since he was a schoolboy and turned professional 13 years ago. His main interest lies in bird photography but his photo-material is extensive, and includes shots of mammals and landscapes, from both Finland and abroad. Jari’s images have been used in magazines and books worldwide and he has published several photography books. He was elected as Chairman of Professional Nature Photographers of Finland in 2007. Jari’s photographs have been awarded in international competitions including, several times, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and his photograph of a red-throated diver won him the title of International Wildbird Photographer in 2004.
Jari’s photos can be seen at and
Paul Pensom (UK) is an award-winning art director with over 17 years’ experience in editorial design and publishing consultancy. He currently art directs the world-renowned magazine Creative Review. Past employers and clients include Getty Images, the Observer, i–D, Saatchi & Saatchi, the Independent, the Telegraph and Time Out.
Tom Schandy (Norway) has worked as a freelance photographer and writer for the last 30 years and is recognised as one of Norway’s most profiled wildlife photographers. Over the years, he has published many hundreds of articles in magazines and newspapers. Trained as a biologist he has worked part-time as a conservation expert, information officer and as an editor with WWF Norway from 1989–2010. During the 1990s he initiated two large conservation projects in Madagascar and Sumatra, which led to the creation of two important national parks, Zombitze and Bukit Tigapuluh. In 2000 he co-founded the publishing house Tom&Tom, which has published more than 20 books about nature and wildlife. Independently, Tom has published books about the wildlife of Africa, South-America, Norway and Antarctica. His book Magnificent Africa won the WWF Panda Book of the Year Award. Tom’s pictures have won awards in several international photographic competitions. He has received several awards from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition and he won the Gerald Durrell Award in 2009. Tom is also one of the founders, owners and editors of a new nature photography magazine, Natur&Foto, and a member of the Wild Wonders of Europe project, for which his mission was to cover the magnificent Caucasus Mountains at the border between Russia and Georgia.
Sophie Stafford (UK) is the Editor of BBC Wildlife Magazine and She is a trained zoologist with more than 12 years’ experience in wildlife publishing. For the past seven years, Sophie has judged the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, which is co-owned by BBC Wildlife and the Natural History Museum, London. In 2011, she also joined the jury of the World Press Photo competition. She works closely with photographers from around the world to develop projects for the magazine and is regularly seen speaking about photography at the WildPhotos symposium. She is an affiliate of the International League of Conservation Photographers and enjoys helping to develop new talent.
Jan Töve (Sweden) is a freelance photographer and writer. He is represented internationally by the agencies Johnėr and Getty Images. Jan is best known for his nature and landscape photographs. He has had numerous top placings in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition. In 1995 he won Foto magazine’s Scandinavian Nature Photographer of the Year award and in 2004 the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency named him Nature Photographer of the Year. Besides his series of acclaimed books, Jan has also produced films for Swedish Television and other clients. He has also held several exhibitions of his work, both in Sweden and abroad. Today, in creating his images, he increasingly seeks the interfaces of nature, humankind and society.
Christian Ziegler (Germany) is a photojournalist specialising in natural history and science-related topics. He is a frequent contributor to National Geographic Magazine for whom he has produced essays on tropical creatures, from ants to ocelots, and has been widely published in magazines including GEO, Smithsonian and BBC Wildlife Magazine. A tropical ecologist by training, he has worked in tropical rainforests on four continents and, for the past 12 years, has been an associate for communication with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. His book projects include a photo-driven book on the ecology and evolution of orchids, Deceptive Beauties (University of Chicago Press) and a photographic book on tropical ecology, A Magic Web (Oxford University Press), which was named Best Biology Book by the American Association of Publishers. Christian is a founding fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, for which he volunteers assignments every year. His work has been awarded prizes in competitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year, and in 2008 he was honoured with the Vision Award by the North American Nature Photography Association. He is currently working on several magazine articles and book projects, as well as a biodiversity museum. A native of Germany, Christian lives surrounded by tropical rainforest near the Panama Canal.


We use cookies to improve your experience of our website. Cookies perform functions like recognising you each time you visit and delivering advertising messages that are relevant to you. Read more here