The Sony World Photography Awards is today to present underwater photographer Wu Yung-sen (吳永森) with this year’s Taiwan National Award for his image of migrating salmon, titled Intense.
Wu’s image “captures the incredible journey” of the Pacific salmon, “which come to the west coast of Canada from the distant sea every autumn, to return to their birthplace in the inland rivers,” award organizers Sony and the World Photography Organization said in a statement.
Describing his win as “the highest honor,” Wu told the Taipei Times that the winning image was taken at the Adams River in British Columbia, Canada.
Photo courtesy of Wu Yung-sen
Every four years, millions of salmon return to their birthplace in Adams River to spawn, in an event called a “salmon run.” For his winning image, Wu lay in the freezing waters of the river to photograph the salmon at close range.
Intense is an atypical piece of work for Wu, a travel consultant and keen diver who primarily photographs marine life in the oceans and seas.
He first started underwater photography out of a desire to showcase the beauty of the underwater world to others.
“Now that I have a daughter, it’s more in the hope that she will be able to understand what I do” when he dives and spends time in nature, Wu said.
After spawning in the river, adult salmon die. Their carcasses return nutrients to the environment, benefiting their own young and other wildlife, and the life cycle starts all over again for a new generation of salmon.
Increasingly, nature and wildlife photographers like Wu find themselves capturing moments in time and ways of life that are changing, and even disappearing, because of climate change.
“Due to the anomaly of extreme weather patterns, some animals are starting to show changes in their behavior,” Wu said, adding: “This is not good for the ecosystem as a whole.”
The National Awards aim to recognize and reward local photographic talent and are given out in 62 countries. Wu’s image was also shortlisted in the Natural World & Wildlife category of the awards’ Open competition.
As a National Award winner, Wu is to attend the Sony World Photography Awards in London and receive digital imaging equipment from Sony.
His winning image is to be on display at the awards exhibition in London from April 18 to May 6.
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