News What A Picture



What a picture!
28th December 2018

By Karen Pickwick

A powerful image of the preserved body of the famous tortoise Lonesome George has taken top spot in the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards 2018.

The picture of the Pinta Island Galapagos tortoise, whose death marked the final extinction of his species, was taken by 17-year-old Lucy Hutton, from Northumberland, whose winning photo was singled out from thousands of entries.

Youngsters aged up to 18 years old had been invited to capture the animal kingdom on camera or on a mobile device for this year’s RSPCA Young Photographer Awards.  

Overall winner Lucy took the image of the preserved body of tortoise Lonesome George in the temperature-controlled room in the Charles Darwin Research Centre in the Galapagos. The teenager had entered ‘Solitario George’ (as he is called in Spanish) into the new Human Impact on Animals category and it beat off fierce competition from more than 4,700 photographs to win the top prize in this year’s competition.

Attracting entries from across England and Wales, this year’s awards were judged by a panel of experts in wildlife photography, which included representatives from sponsors Wex Photo Video, Warners Midlands Plc and Natures Images and led by BBC Springwatch presenter and RSPCA vice president Chris Packham.

Chris said: “This photo of Lonesome George really stood out to all of us as it was a very powerful winning image. It told the story of species extinction through the tragic tale of an iconic creature which is recognised across the world.  


“Taken in black and white, and by someone so young, really increased its impact. The picture was very graphic, beautifully composed and was a stark reminder of the impact that humans can have on the natural world. 

“I’ve been judging the RSPCA Young Photographer Awards since they started. It’s exciting to see it move with the times, particularly with a new category this year showing the human impact on animals and the welcome return of a pets category.” 

The winning images across nine categories, including three different age groups, were announced during an awards ceremony hosted by Chris at the Tower of London on Wednesday, 19 December.

Other category winners and runners-up included ‘The fountain of life’, showing a pet cat enjoying a spray of water by 17-year-old Sophie Bramall, from Stafford, who was runner-up in the Picture Perfect Pets category and ‘Best friends’, an eye-catching photo of the close-up of the eye of pet dog Willow and her owner, Millie, which was singled out for the Judges’ Special Mention as well as winning the Under 12 Mobile Phone and Devices category.

Demonstrating the continuing high standards of the Awards, last year’s overall winner, Gideon Knight, from Ilford, Essex, once again showed his considerable photographic talents by bagging top prize, runner-up and commended in both the 16–18 and Portfolio categories as well as runner-up in the Human Impact on Animals category.

For a full gallery of the winning images, visit