About Josiah Launstein
2014 & 2017 Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year, 2019 Young Close-Up Photographer of the Year
Josiah’s Journey in Wildlife Photography
By the time Josiah turned seven, he had already become more and more interested in photographing wildlife like his big sister (Jenaya) and dad (John). He always wanted to tag along on outings into the Alberta wilderness and have his own system in tow. John’s philosophy of teaching photographic skills to his kids is to coach them in the basics and turn them loose to develop their own vision and style, learning through trial and error with lots of encouraging but constructive feedback. That means after establishing the foundational stuff including how to behave around wildlife, learning exposure, composition and field techniques, Josiah has been “on his own” to find the camera angle that he likes best of a chosen subject, the lens he wants to use, and the camera settings he thinks would best capture the image he has in mind.
In 2012 Josiah captured an incredible image of a bald eagle banking in flight that was nearly exceptional–his only mistake was not bumping up to a sufficiently-fast shutter speed to freeze the eagle’s unexpected increased speed as it accelerated on the pivot. He had been nailing shots as a pair of eagles flew by searching the river below for fish, and was surprised and disappointed when he had come so close to getting his best shot to date but just missed it. John still remembers Josiah looking through his pictures on the back of the camera on the drive home and asking, “What do I have to do so that never happens again?”
And so began a young photographer’s quest to truly learn his craft and return from the field with the best images his growing skill-set could capture.
In 2014, Josiah made the decision to begin submitting his photography into select competitions like his big sister, and had six of the seven images he submitted to the prestigious NHM/BBC Wildlife Photography of the Year competition shortlisted in the competition. Although he did not win an award in 2014, it was a remarkable accomplishment, and a great way to start his fledgling career!
Josiah closed the year by entering the 2014 Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition, and in early January 2015 learned that eight of his ten submitted images were shortlisted! One week later Josiah received the most exciting news of his young life in photography so far: he had become the youngest ever to be named the Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year!
Josiah has since gone onto have images selected as winners or finalists in every competition he has entered in 2015, 2016 and 2017, including the NHM Wildlife Photography of the Year, Bird Photographer of the Year and Por el Planeta competitions as well as the Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice International Photography Awards.
In October, 2015, the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition put on by the Natural History Museum in the U.K. and BBC Wildlife announced that two of Josiah’s images had been awarded and selected as being in the top-100 images from the 42,000+ submitted from 96 countries. “Snowy Snowy” and “Goose Attack” are featured in their highly-regarded annual Portfolio and have been exhibited in top museums & galleries in more than 70 countries.
Then, just as the Launsteins were preparing to open their Wildlife Art Gallery in the Crowsnest Pass in southwestern Alberta, Josiah learned that his favourite camera company, Nikon, had discovered him and wanted to create a short film about him and his wildlife and conservation photography! John and Josiah travelled to Thailand for two weeks of film production work and nature photography in July and August of 2016, and Nikon Asia released the main film, “Neighbours – I AM MORE THAN YOU EXPECT” and a behind-the-scenes “Making Of” feature in December, 2016. The film quickly rose to over 2 million views on Nikon Asia’s YouTube channel alone, making it “one of our most loved films to date!” You can view the main film and “Making Of” feature here, and click here to learn more about Josiah’s Thailand adventure.
On a rainy day while in Thailand, Josiah created an image of a monkey moth caterpillar that went on to land him his third award in Wildlife Photographer of the Year, with “Raindrops” placed on exhibition in the Natural History Museum and included in the touring exhibition has traveled the globe (learn more here).
In January, 2018, Josiah was announced as the 2017 Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year–the second time he has received this distinction. The organizers also announced that Josiah is the first photographer of any age to win a category twice in the history of the competition! He’s since been awarded for the third time in Bird Photographer of the Year and was the only Canadian photographer awarded in the 2018 Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition. In May, 2019, he was announced as the first-ever Young Close-Up Photographer of the Year.
Now fourteen, Josiah has been behind the camera for nine years. His experience is increasingly evident, and he is growing in his vision, artistry and abilities constantly.
You can follow Josiah’s (along with Jenaya’s and John’s) photography by subscribing to our newsletter below (where you will learn of new releases from the Launsteins as well as news items and special offers), on our blog, through Twitter @LaunsteinFamily, Facebook at Launstein Imagery, and Instagram @LaunsteinImagery.
In addition to Josiah’s own Fine Art Limited Edition and Open Edition prints and canvases, the Launsteins are working on a series of father-daughter, father-son, and family collections, pairing select images from John, Jenaya and Josiah in beautiful matched limited-edition print sets. Please contact us directly to inquire about limited-edition prints from Josiah and our new family sets!
- Overall Winner – Named 2019 Young Close-Up Photographer of the Year
- Awarded – 2018 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards, selected for 1yr exhibit in Smithsonian
- Awarded – 2018 Outdoor Photographer of the Year
- Awarded – 2018 Bird Photographer of the Year
- Awarded – 29th Memorial Maria Luisa (Mountain and Nature Photography competition)
- Overall Winner – Named 2017 Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year
- Awarded – 2017 Wildlife Photographer of the Year
- Awarded – 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year
- Awarded – 2016 Bird Photographer of the Year
- Awarded (2 images) – 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year
- Awarded – 2015 Por el Planeta conservation photography competition
- Overall Winner – Named 2014 Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year, with another 7 images selected as finalists
- Honourable Mention – 2017 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards, with another 7 images selected as finalists
- Honourable Mention – 2017 Bird Photographer of the Year
- Finalist (8 images) – 2016 Outdoor Photographer of the Year, with one image in top 5 of category and placed in book and exhibition
- Finalist (4 images) – 2016 Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Young Competition
- Finalist (2 images) – 2016 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards
- Finalist (5 images) – 2015 Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Young Competition
- Finalist – 2015 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards
- Finalist (3 images) – 2015 Outdoor Photographer of the Year
- Finalist (7 of 8 submitted images) – 2014 Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Young Competition