2011 National Geographic Photo Contest Judges
Tim Laman is a field biologist and wildlife photojournalist. He credits his childhood in Japan, where he had ready access to the mountains and oceans, for his strong interest in exploring nature, both above and below water.
Tim first went to the rain forests of Borneo in 1987 and the Asia-Pacific region has been the major focus for both his scientific research and photography ever since. His pioneering research in the rain forest canopy in Borneo led to a PhD from Harvard University and his first National Geographic article in 1997. Since then, he has pursued his passion for exploring wild places and documenting little-known and endangered wildlife by becoming a regular contributor to National Geographic. He has 18 articles to his credit to date, all of which have had a conservation message. Some have focused on endangered species such as orangutans, proboscis monkeys, or hornbills, while others, such as a series of articles on Conservation International’s Biodiversity Hotspots, have highlighted regions under intense pressure. Tim has also published more than a dozen scientific articles related to rainforest ecology and birdlife.
Tim has developed somewhat of a reputation for being able to come back with shots of nearly impossible subjects like gliding animals in Borneo, displaying birds of paradise, and some of the most critically endangered birds in the world such as the Nuku Hiva pigeon and the Visayan wrinkled hornbill of the Philippines. He continues to relish such challenges, and firmly believes that promoting awareness through photography can make a difference for conservation.
National Geographic photographer Amy Toensing grew up in New England and has covered stories from her own backyard like Monhegan Island, Maine, and the Jersey Shore to places on the other side of the globe, including the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea and the Australian Outback. Her stories are often intimate essays reflecting the lives of ordinary people. She has also covered current issues such as welfare reform, Muslim women living in Western culture and Hurricane Katrina. She is currently working on her 13th story for National Geographic magazine. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, Time magazine, and National Geographic Traveler. Toensing lives in the Hudson Valley of New York.
Recently named one of the 40 most influential nature photographers in the world by Outdoor Photography Magazine, Peter Essick has traveled extensively over the last two decades photographing spectacular natural areas from around the world. He is a working photojournalist, but his photographs move beyond mere documentation revealing in careful compositions the spiritual and emotional aspects of nature. The unique and sometimes surprisingly similar forms and color of divergent pristine lands provide the raw material for Essick’s art. As a counterpoint, Essick has also done photographs to illustrate many environmental issues, portraying both the human impact of development as well as the enduring power of the land.
Essick has been a frequent contributor to National Geographic magazine for 25 years. His latest story in the magazine on the Ansel Adams Wilderness is in the October 2011 issue. He has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri. Essick has won many journalism awards, and his photographs have been exhibited in the United States and in Europe. He is represented Lumière gallery in Atlanta and also by Aurora Photos. He lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia, with his wife, Jackie, and 11-year-old son, Jalen.