Flick through the pages of any issue of National Geographic and the planet comes to life in all of its natural glory, particularly the colour, movement and all-round splendour of the animal world. Indeed, the magazine has been taking eye-catching wildlife photographs since 1888, and first featured one such image — a snap of a reindeer — on its cover back in 1903.
From that huge 130-year history, the publication has picked out the absolute best photos in its archive for a brand new exhibition, which will make its world premiere at the Melbourne Zoo from September 8 to November 30. 50 Greatest Wildlife Photographs will showcase exactly what it sounds like — 50 breathtaking snaps of the earth's animal inhabitants, as curated by famous nature picture editor Kathy Moran, and featuring the work of iconic National Geographic photographers such as Michael 'Nick' Nichols, Steve Winter, Paul Nicklen, Beverly Joubert and David Doubilet.
If last year's Photo Ark exhibition has you staring in wonder, then this promises that and more as patrons not only view the stunning sights captured, but the way that photography has evolved over the course of more than a century.
Displaying as an outdoor gallery in Melbourne Zoo's Carousel Park, 50 Greatest Wildlife Photographs will be accompanied by augmented reality experience Air, Land & Sea. The interactive installation transports viewers to a watering hole where animals — hailing from Africa, the Arctic and more — graze, drink and interact with the environment around them.
As well as giving patrons a glimpse at wildlife photography at its finest, Melbourne Zoo hopes the exhibition will bring attention to the plight of animals around the world. "Our hope is that, after viewing these stunning images and connecting with the wildlife at Melbourne Zoo, visitors will be compelled to remember that all animals deserve our greatest respect, awe and preservation," says Melbourne Zoo director Kevin Tanner.
National Geographic's 50 Greatest Wildlife Photographs will be on display at Melbourne Zoo from September 8 to November 30. Entry to the exhibition is included in the zoo admission price. For more information, visit the website.
Image: Gray Whale Hands by Thomas P. Peschak, San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico, April 2015.