Western lowland gorilla with butterflies in face
Malui Western lowland gorilla female 'Malui' walking through a cloud of butterflies she has disturbed in a bai. Bai Hokou, Dzanga Sangha Special Dense Forest Reserve, Central African Republic. December 2011. © Anup Shah/TNC Photo Contest 2021


The Nature Conservancy Announces 2021 Photo Contest Winners

Today, The Nature Conservancy unveiled the winners of its 2021 Photo Contest. The images captured for the annual competition inspire both wonder and exploration of the amazing and incredible world around us. Even experiencing nature from your desk has benefits for human health, as studies have shown, just looking at photos of nature lowers stress levels. 

This year’s winning images were selected by a panel of judges that included renowned American singer-songwriter Ben Folds, who is himself an avid photographer and a member of the prestigious Sony Artisans of Imagery. From more than 100,000 entries, a photo of a western lowland gorilla walking through a cloud of butterflies in the Central African Republic, taken by photographer Anup Shah of the United Kingdom, won the Grand Prize. Celebrity judge Ben Folds said of the winning image: “I like photos that keep dragging you in. The [gorilla’s] face. Tolerance or bliss. It’s really hard to tell and the insects draw you there.”  

The People’s Choice award went to Prathamesh Ghadekar of India for a photograph of fireflies congregating around a tree before a monsoon. 

“These images are a gorgeous and unforgettable reminder of the vibrancy and awe-inspiring power of nature,” said Meg Goldthwaite, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for The Nature Conservancy. “Year after year, we are amazed, delighted, and moved by these scenes from around the world. They remind us how connected we all are on this planet, and they energize us as we continue the important work of conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends.”  

After a one-year hiatus due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s photo contest returned with 100,190 photo submissions from a record-breaking 158 countries. In addition to the grand prize of a camera package valued at $4,000, first and second-place category winners will receive gift cards. 

Additional awards in the following categories were given to: 



  • 1st place – Daniel De Granville Manço, Brazil (@danieldegranville) 
  • 2nd place – Denis Ferreira Netto, Brazil (@denisfotos)  
  • 3rd place – Jassen Todorov, United States (@jassensf) 
  • Honorable mention – Scott Portelli, Australia (@scott.portelli) 
  • Honorable mention – Kim-pan Dennis Wong, Hong Kong 


People and Nature 

  • 1st place – Alain Schroeder, Belgium (@alainschroeder) 
  • 2nd place – Tom Overall, Australia (@tom.overallphotos) 
  • 3rd place – Sebnem Coskun, Turkey  
  • Honorable mention – Minqiang Lu, China  
  • Honorable mention – Wax Leung, Hong Kong (@waxismine) 



  • 1st place – Kazi Arifujjaman, Bangladesh (@kazi_arifujjaman_) 
  • 2nd place – Joram Mennes, Mexico (@jorammennesphotography)  
  • 3rd place – Man Wai Wong, Hong Kong  
  • Honorable mention – Jorge Andrés Miraglia, Argentina (@yosoytato) 
  • Honorable mention – Manh Cuong Vu, Vietnam 



  • 1st place – Buddhilini de Soyza, Australia  (@captures_by_buddhilini) 
  • 2nd place – Mateusz Piesiak, Poland (@mpwildlife) 
  • 3rd place – Viktor Vrbovsky, Czech Republic  
  • Honorable Mention – Kristhian Castro, Colombia (@kristhiancastro) 
  • Honorable Mention – Thomas Vijayan, Canada (@thomasvijayan) 
  • Honorable Mention – Anup Shah, United Kingdom 


You can view all of the winning images at https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/photo-contest/2021-winners/ 



The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories—37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners—we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.