With his photo of a squirrel in spite, the Dutch nature photographer Geert Weggen is one of the winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2018.
The picture immediately makes the viewer smile: a squirrel is in a split position on two flower stalks while he is eating a beech nut. Nature photographer Geert Weggen (50) recorded the special scene earlier this year in his garden in Bispgärdner, central Sweden. “In my garden I have a photo studio and I have been capturing wild animals for years that come from neighbourhoods,” he tells on the phone to our colleagues from AD.nl.
Weggen drastically changed the helm 13 years ago. He said goodbye to his life in Amsterdam, stopped his company, bought a boat and sailed to Sweden. There he picked up the photography again, a hobby he had as a child.
Soon he booked a lot of success with his nature photos, almost all of them made in his own garden: he won numerous prizes and sold a lot. “It started with a fox, followed by, among other things, birds and squirrels.” Squirrel fan! It is that creature that became his specialty. Taking away may well be called a squirrel fanatic. He has already published eight squirrel photobooks, in four languages. “Squirrels are great fun to study and photograph,” he explains. “They look like people: they can stand and their front legs are just hands, with which they can grab things. If the light falls on their fur, they look beautiful.”
“Squirrels are like humans. They can stand and grab things”
Now, his snapshot wins one of the awards from the annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2018. The competition crowns the photographs where animals are portrayed in a humorous way, often in a human-like way. We see three young bears at the same time in a tree, two dancing iguanas and a rhino with behind him a peacock full of feathers, making it seem like the feathers belong to the rhino. And that the unicorn is photogenic, proves not only of Weggens picture. Also, the overall winner of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2018, Mary McGowan from Florida, won with a squirrel photo.
Although the Dutchman is happy with his prize, he secretly pisses a bit. “I have already won many prizes with my photos, including National Geographic. So, in fact I was really happy when I had been the overall winner.”