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April 05, 2006

Northwest 14-Year-Old Winner in National Photo Exhibit

Seattle Images of breaching humpbacks are not uncommon, but 14-year-old photographer Alexei Calambokidis of Olympia, WA, captured a whale performing wild gymnastics in a photo called “Humpback Backflip.” Alexei’s photograph will be on display at the Burke Museum as one of over 90 photographs selected for honors in the 2005 Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, the world's largest and most prestigious contest of its kind.

Organized by BBC Wildlife and The Natural History Museum in London, the annual contest attracts over 17,000 entries from professional and amateur photographers from over 55 countries worldwide. Every year the winning photographs tour museums around the world. For the first time, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit is coming to the Northwest, showing only at the Burke Museum in Seattle from June 24 to September 4, 2006.

Alexei Calambokidis shot “Humpback Backflip” on his first week-long journey at sea off the Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, while helping his marine-biologist father. Whales were doing amazing things everywhere I looked,’ Alexei said of his trip. Given “highly commended” status in the 11-14 years photographer category, Alexei brings the drama and majesty of wildlife closer to home for the exhibit’s international audience.

The Burke is honored to host the 90+ photographs selected this year, which include several Northwest connections. In addition to Alexei’s “highly commended” photograph, well-known Northwest photographer Art Wolfe served as one of the judges, as did Seattle-based Kevin Schafer. By showcasing this year’s honored images, the Burke celebrates the diversity and beauty of wildlife and the art and legacy of wildlife photography.

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