The Human Impact on Animals

Can you capture the human impact on animals in an artistic way? Then enter this new, challenging RSPCA Young Photographer Awards category!

This exciting new category – The Human Impact on Animals – gives you the opportunity to make a powerful comment about how we as humans affect the animals with whom we share the world.

The brief 

Nesting gannets among bits of rope from nets and fishing debris washed up from the sea

It’s no secret that single-use plastics, deforestation, use of pesticides and pollution are among many topical issues that are having a damaging effect on the environment and animals themselves.

This new category is looking for powerful, imaginative and original photos that document the human impact on animals and their environments. Focus on wildlife within its habitat, and reveal the challenges faced by animals due to the impact of human activities such as farming or the growth of our towns and cities. Uncover individual animal stories of how they have adjusted to survive in environments where humans increasingly have an impact.

You could show how cleverly animals have adapted to small differences to their world, or you may wish to illustrate the impact of huge change, but remember it is the story of that animal and how this evolving environment affects them that we want to see.

Getting started

Think about the story you want to show about the human impacts on animals and how it makes you feel. You may tell a story about an animal thriving despite change, or others that are struggling to adapt to a new world. It's important not to photograph any animal that is suffering as it's our job to prevent and reduce animal suffering whenever we can. So please avoid shots of trapped, injured, ill or dead animals. Previous competition runner-up Owen Hearn managed to capture the human impact on animals brilliantly in 2014, with his prize-winning image of gannets nesting among bits of rope from nets and fishing debris washed up from the sea.

Here are some important tips and guidelines:

  • Safety – please do not put yourself or others at risk when taking photos, or do any harm to the environment or animals present. Safety must come first, so do not put yourself in any danger, for example near water or cliff edges.
  • Location – is human activity having an impact where you live? Photos could be taken in an urban area, not just in the countryside.
  • Detail – you can create a variety of moods or atmospheres, depending on how you take the photo. Try taking photos at different times of the day and in different weather conditions, but again, put safety first.
  • Your story – your photo should tell a story or make a comments about how you see animals dealing with the results of human life. Think about what you want your photo to say, do you want to illustrate how resourceful animals are or how determined or is it about how different their lives are due to human activities?

Entering the competition

So, if you're aged 18 or under (there's no lower age limit!) you can enter up to five photos in this category. Don't forget to tell us a bit about the photo – where you took it, why you like the animal and why you think your photo stands out – in 80 words or fewer.

Please note, you cannot submit mobile phone photos into this category, they will be disqualified. If you have captured a great shot on your phone enter it into our Mobile Phone and Devices category instead.

Read the full rules and terms and conditions before you enter and check out the prizes!

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