A massive congratulations to Leica Optics Ambassador, Luke Massey, who has been announced as a winner in the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards.
The 52nd award ceremony was at the Natural History Museum. A total of 50,000 entries from 95 countries were whittled down by an expert judging panel to just 100 winners, with Luke’s unique shot ‘Kite Flying’ being announced as one of 6 winners in the Urban Wildlife category. “To be part of this prestigious competition is humbling, I’ve attended the exhibition for the past 15 years, if not longer, so it is a real dream come true“, said Luke.
His passion is in conservation and showing how people can live alongside wildlife, educating people on conservation issues and raising awareness. „If I can show people just what is on their doorstep as well as further afield, just maybe, they’ll begin to care more.”
Following a local guide, Luke climbed tiny staircases and bamboo ladders to reach this rooftop. In Old Delhi’s Muslim quarter, people toss meat to the kites to atone for their sins. ‘The sky was black with kites,’ he says, and with about 20 vying for every offering, it took hundreds of attempts to get a clear shot. Delhi’s whirls of black kites are probably the world’s highest concentration of birds of prey. They have an important role to play, clearing up carrion. But human-made kites – paper ones – pose a threat, their strings crisscross the skies at dusk and can sever the bird’s wings.
Luke said: „Earlier this year with the help of Leica Optics I headed to India to work on a project on black kites in Delhi. I spent a few weeks moving around Delhi in search of these astonishing birds. Black kites are the most numerous raptor in the Old World, in Delhi alone 15 breed per square kilometre.”
“They live largely off the waste humans produce and the rubbish dumps of Delhi are an important feeding ground but unfortunately the food here doesn’t sustain them enough and many get metabolic bone disease due to lack of nutrition. Alongside this, the practice of kite flying causes harm to the kites, last year alone 2000 kites were recovered with the majority injured by kite strings. Hopefully with this project more people will be educated about the threats these kites face and help people live alongside wildlife more easily.“
For more of Luke’s work check out his website