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BCA News: Spring 2021

Emeritus Fellows’ success in the 2020 International Garden Photographer of the Year

Creation – Overall Winner and First prize in the Beauty of Plants category © Robin Williams

Emeritus Fellow Dr. Robin Williams has won the International Garden Photographer of the Year Award with his image 'Creation' selected from 20,000 entries from countries all over the world. It won first prize in the category 'Beauty of Plants' and then became the overall winner after being selected from all the winners of each category. He also received two Highly Commended awards in the 'Plants & the Planet' category and the 'Trees, Woods, & Forests category.'

Robin captured this macro shot of the golden reproductive parts of a Nelumbo nucifera (white lotus) flower head – which was ready for pollination. This plant can use thermoregulation to self-heat the flowers to aid in fertilisation. The sacred lotus is a rhizomatous aquatic perennial and is a 'living fossil' dating to pre-history, having been domesticated in Asia about 7,000 years ago. It is believed that its main pollinators are mostly bees, flies and beetles.

What the judges said:

"Robin has used macro photography to immortalise the culturally iconic and ancient lotus species. The composition, intention and novelty invite us in with a delicious allure and promise of sensory satisfaction. Like the countless tiny creatures that are drawn onto its warm golden façade, we cannot help but stop, stare and absorb the sense of potential delight, as if caught outside the window of the world's finest patisserie. As a photograph, it helps tether us to a side of nature that only the insects will ever truly know."
     Tyrone McGlinchey FLS FRSA,
     Head Judge, International Garden Photographer of the Year

What Robin said:

"I am absolutely thrilled to be named 'International Garden Photographer of the Year 2020. I am always inspired by the beautiful work submitted by photographers all over the world and humbled to think that my work can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with theirs. We all celebrate the beauty of the natural world and in doing so, hope to protect it."

The International Garden Photographer of the Year competition was started 14 years ago by the Association of Professional Garden Photographers in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London. Over the years it has grown enormously to be a major international competition for "images of a green planet" and now has over 13 categories, with quarterly competitions whose winners go forward to compete with the overall competition entrants. Robin's work reflected this in that it wasn't just about the "Beauty of Plants." Today the competition is still run by the Royal Botanic Gardens in partnership with a number of organisations including the National Trust and the Royal Photographic Society.

False Fall at Tunnel View – Finalist in the Plants & the Planet category © Gigi Williams

It is pleasing to note that Gigi, Robin's wife, also an Emeritus Fellow, was a finalist in the 'Plants & the Planet' category and received a Commendation in the 'Trees, Woods & Forest' category. Given the tens of thousands of entries from all over the world this is a terrific performance on the part of two of our senior members.

Joshua Tree – Commended in the Trees, Woods & Forests Category © Gigi Williams

Both Gigi and Robin are Fellows of the BCA and Louis Schmidt recipients, Robin was a Board Member, Founder of the Endowment Fund for Education, on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Biological Photographic Association and on the organising committee for the first World Congress of Biomedical Imaging. Since retirement they have been concentrating on their personal work – landscape and nature photography.

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Robin was unable to pick up his prize at the usual gala event at Kew Gardens and there will not be a published book this year to celebrate the winners. It is hoped that eventually the exhibition of winners will go on tour as normal.

In addition to this significant achievement both Robin and Gigi were recently awarded the Accredited Senior Imaging Scientist Qualification in Science (ASIS) from the Royal Photographic Society along with a Fellowship in Science to add to their existing Fellowships in Medical Photography. They have also been very successful in many other international competitions having won over 100 awards and prizes for their work in their new chosen genre. Full details can be found on their website at https://www.robinwilliamsphotography.com/recentawards

Forest Glade – St. Columba Falls, Mount Victoria Forest Reserve, Tasmania – Highly Commended in the Trees, Woods & Forests category © Robin Williams

Bushfire Survival – Highly Commended in the Plants & the Planet Category © Robin Williams

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