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Steve Mitchell writes about last week's cocktail celebration where the winner of the inaugural Greatest Maasai Mara Photographer of the Year was announced and shares exciting plans for 2019...
Last Thursday saw the grand finale revealing the winner of the inaugural Greatest Maasai Mara Photographer of the Year competition at a cocktail celebration at Nyama Mama in Nairobi
It was a rare opportunity to gather together our trade and conservation partners who work tirelessly to promote and conserve the Mara, and we marked the occasion by handing over cheques totaling in excess of US$16,500 to the Anne K. Taylor Fund, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the Maa Trust; the Mara Elephant Project; and the Mara Conservancy, in support of the magnificent work which they do.
We celebrated the photographic community, skilled professionals and hobbyists alike, who capture beautiful imagery showcasing the Maasai Mara as an all year-round wildlife viewing destination, and their guides who work tirelessly, often behind the scenes.
We were honoured by the attendance of the First Lady of Narok, Madame Sarah Tunai, who deservedly announced Anup Shah as 2018’s winner. Anup’s image “Escort” was carefully crafted, capturing the juxta-positioning of the contrasting attitudes between a bold baby elephant, oblivious to any danger, and the caution displayed by the accompanying adults.
A Suzuki Maruti Gypsy for the winning photographer’s guide was won by Sammy Ngotho of the Wild Eye Mara Camp, as Anup – who drove himself – kindly offered this prize in a draw to the guides of the other finalists. Sammy drove off in the car on the night, with perhaps the biggest cheer of the evening.
There will be a couple of changes to the competition in 2019: the winning guide(s) will be flown to England to watch a Premier League football match in London; and the judging panel has been bolstered with the addition of two internationally acclaimed photographers, Michael Poliza and Nisha Purushothaman, who will each add a different perspective to the judging.
We are also delighted to announce that during the first half of 2019, the top 50 images will be exhibited in galleries across the globe, with showings in Cape Town, Seattle, Melbourne, Dubai, Atlanta and Brisbane in partnership with our specialist African travel partners in those cities.
For more information about the Seattle event on January 10th with Explorer-X and Art Wolfe, please read more here and here, and if you are interested in working with us to host an exhibition in your city, do contact us.
Looking back on the year, and almost 1,000 entries of exceptional quality, one can’t help but be in awe of this extraordinary reserve, and the equilibrium of life in the wild on such a grand, vast scale. Photographers honour and memorialize moments of these lives every day, and in 2019 we will strive to tell even more stories than before.
Entries open again January 1st.
Note from the Editor: If you are in Nairobi and missed the event, you can catch the finalists on display at the new Nyama Mama in Capital Centre, and shortly at the new Waterfront Mall in Karen. Heartfelt thanks to Adam, Jeff, Federico, Art, Tyler, Ali and Steve for making this dream come true.
TAGGED WITH: Conservation, Maasai Mara, Photography, The Greatest Maasai Mara, Wildlife Photography