Photographer Emily Garthwaite, currently studying on the MA Documentary Photography and Photojournalism course at the University of Westminster, was selected as a finalist in the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

The competition, which has been running for 51 years, champions the highest ethical standards in wildlife photography, searching for outstanding images which raise awareness of nature’s beauty and fragility.

Emily Garthwaite’s entry, entitled ‘Chained to tradition’, highlights the treatment of domestic Asian elephants in India, where there are an estimated 3,600 domesticated Asian elephants. These elephants belong to the government, wealthy families or temples, and are used in festivals throughout the year.

Garthwaite’s photograph depicts an Asian elephant standing, visibly traumatised, chained to a temple pillar following a six-hour procession in Varanasi, India.

“The elephant was swaying and its bloodshot eyes swirled, as its owner looked on anxiously,” said Garthwaite.

The Natural History Museum’s annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition provides a showcase for the world’s very best nature photography.

The University of Westminster’s MA Documentary Photography and Photojournalism degree provides a unique combination of professional practice and critical understanding for documentary photographers and photojournalists working in the field of editorial and contemporary media practice. 

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