Last year, Canadian Geographic, in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Nature, invited Canadians to compete in five categories for their second Wildlife Photography of the Year contest. The winning snapshots, chosen from more than 6,400 submissions (up from 5,500 in 2008), were published in the magazine’s annual Wildlife issue (December 2009); included in a traveling exhibition organized by the Museum of Nature; and featured on a set of five stamps. “The partnership is a perfect fit,” says Jim Phillips, Director of Stamp Services at Canada Post. “It’s a great opportunity to show Canada what we’re made of.”
Seeking out the most spectacular photographs of Canada has always been a priority to Canadian Geographic, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. “Wildlife photography in particular resonates with our readers,” says André Préfontaine, President and Publisher. “The idea of a ‘Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year’ contest has proven very popular and the partnership with Canada Post brought a highly attractive dimension to the 2009 contest. Canada Post and Canadian Geographic share a similar goal in showcasing the best of Canada.” He continues, “The opportunity to be featured on a postage stamp excited photographers across the nation. The marked increase in submissions is directly attributable to the stamp offer.”
“What I found remarkable about this selection of photographs was their incredible variety in style and colours,” notes Alain Leduc, Manager of Stamp Design and Production at Canada Post. “Their similarities are also interesting. The animals are all connecting with the photographers—each in its own way.” The stamps are complemented by a soft green on the booklet and official first day cover. “With the photos being so disparate, we wanted a neutral background—something that would not compete with them,” notes designer Susan Scott.
As Scott explains, the transparent white strip on the booklet and first day cover is a play on the mysterious relationship humans have with wildlife. “I was inspired by the idea that animals are always hiding from us; it takes great patience and precision to capture them in the way the winning photographers have.” The souvenir sheet showcases some of the contest’s runners-up—a design feature that hints at the spectacular selection of photographs that were submitted to the judges.
The issuing of these stamps coincides with the grand reopening of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “The Canadian Museum of Nature promotes appreciation of and respect for the natural world,” says Joanne DiCosimo, President and CEO of the Museum. “We are very pleased with the popularity of this contest and proud to share these delightful wildlife photographs with Canadians through nationally travelling exhibitions. The project is very timely as we enter 2010, International Year of Biodiversity, and get ready to unveil the Museum’s renewed and splendid public education centre, the historic Victoria Memorial Museum Building in Ottawa this May 22nd, Biodiversity Day. The wildlife images in photos and on stamps are images of Canada’s rich biodiversity—it is truly a perfect partnership project!”