The Environmental Protection Agency in Sweden yesterday announced that photographer and writer Staffan Widstrand from Jarfalla, Sweden, has been appointed ”Nature Photographer of the Year” in the country. The motivation states:
Staffan Widstrand has through his production embodied a true dedication for wildlife, nature, man and the environment, says Director-General Lars-Erik Liljelund of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
Alongside his career as a photographer and a writer, Staffan has also proven this in practice with his work for Ecotourism, as well as through being part of the large-carnivore campaign ”The Big Five”. Through web sites, books and articles he has managed to reach the general public on a scale not reached by many other nature photographers.
While Staffan Widstrand masters classic nature photography, he has also shown a great will to develop it further. In his images, man is often present. Using flash and blurry focus, Widstrand often creates a refreshing disorder in his images. He also often uses an uncanny sense of humor in his photographs, and efficiently punctuates the myths about man not being able to influence the problems of today. Nor does he avoid the odd, the ugly or that which sticks out a mile, Director-General Liljelund continues.
It warms my soul to see that there are people who I manage to reach with my work, and that the Environmental Protection Agency thinks my images promote conservation, says Staffan Widstrand.
This award feels like a true token of honour, as it can not be applied for, and instead is awarded to the person the jury finds worthy of the prize.
Staffan Widstrand, born in 1959, started as a free-lance reportage photographer in 1990, after previously having worked as a nature tour conductor and a picture editor. The break-through came in 1994 with the book ”Ecotouring-the Ultimate Guide”, which sold 100 000 copies in eight languages, and was produced in co-operation with colleague Magnus Elander. ”Ecotouring” was elected the Panda-Book of the Year by the WWF-Sweden. In 1997 Widstrand and Elander published their second book together ”Ajunngilaq – Arctic Moments”, a photo-reportage book describing man, nature and contemporary life north of the Polar Circle.
Widstrand and Elander are now working together with writer Johan Lewenhaupt since 1998 in a project called ”The Big Five”, which is a five-year information initiative about the five large carnivores of the forested North (wolf, bear, lynx, wolverine and man), with the aim to improve the public debate by shedding light on as many facts and aspects of the matter as possible. Their book ”The Big Five” will be released this fall and has already been appointed Panda-Book of the Year 2003 by the WWF-Sweden.
Widstrand is also an active board member of the Swedish Ecotourism Association, which, just a few months ago, launched Europe´s first ecotourism quality-labelling system, called ”Nature’s Best”.
During the last years Widstrand has won all together seven prizes and commendations in the world’s most prestigious nature photography competition, the ”BG-Wildlife Photographer of the Year ”.
Free Press images:
Some are available at Widstrand´s own site www.staffanwidstrand.se under the headline ”Press Room”.
These images may only be used in direct connection with reports about the award or the award winner. The photographer’s by-line must also be published in connection with the images.