American wildlife photojournalist Tim Laman was named winner of the prestigious annual competition for his image Entwined Lives, showing a critically endangered Bornean orangutan in the Indonesian rainforest. The award is given for a story told in just six images, which are judged on their story-telling power as a whole as well as their individual quality.
He observed the animal’s behavior, then spent three days using ropes to climb the tree, setting up GoPro cameras that he could trigger remotely. This allowed him to capture the orangutan’s face from above, with a wide-angle perspective of the forest below.
Wild orangutans face habitat loss from agriculture and logging. This, combined with increased poaching for illegal pet trade, poses huge challenges to the species.
Tim says, ‘Protecting their remaining habitat is critical for orangutans to survive. If we want to preserve a great ape that retains both its vast, culturally transmitted knowledge of how to survive in the rainforest and the full richness of wild orangutan behavior, then we need to protect orangutans in the wild now.’