About Jenaya Launstein

The Launsteins’ oldest daughter, Jenaya, began photographing nature at an early age and by age 10 announced to her parents that she wanted to be a professional wildlife photographer. That dream never left, and her passion for wildlife photography grew exponentially upon receiving a Nikon DSLR system for her 13th birthday.

A self-proclaimed nature fanatic, Jenaya is already a multi-award-winning wildlife photographer who is gaining an international reputation for her outstanding images and ethical approach to her photography.

Jenaya has been mentored by her father, John, since her initial interest in photography. In 2011, John and Jenaya decided to join the Nature Photographer’s Network (NPN), which has provided her with vital feedback and perspective from some of the top nature photographers in the world. NPN went on to sponsor Jenaya after she was privileged to be chosen for the 2013 NANPA High School Scholarship Program. Jenaya has attended several wildlife photography workshops and intensives and continues to grow in her knowledge and skills in her craft.

In 2013, Jenaya became only the second young woman ever to be named the Youth Photographer of the Year in the Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards, one of the most prestigious competitions in the world that sees some 25,000 entries from over 50 countries.

In late 2014, Jenaya joined fellow award winners Art Wolfe and Tin Man Lee along with several other winning photographers for the award ceremony at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. Her winning image of a wild porcupine from the Yukon Territories was chosen to be part of the Nature’s Best Photography exhibition at the Smithsonian through April 20, 2015, and now hangs on the walls of their main office. That fall, “Yukon Porcupine” was selected by the Smithsonian as one of the top-100 nature images from the past 20 years and returned for an extended exhibit of “The Best of the Best.”

Jenaya’s  was named the overall winner of the Youth Division in the 2015 Big Picture Natural World Photography Competition, as well as being Specially Commended in Por el Planeta and receiving an Honorable Mention in the 2015 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards. She has since been awarded in the 2016 Nature’s Best Photography Awards and the 2017 Memorial Maria Louisa international competition. Her iconic image, “Ramscape” is now on exhibit in the Smithsonian through October, 2017.

Jenaya’s work was also part of the opening exhibit at the International Photography Hall of Fame and Museum in St. Louis, MO, and was selected three years in a row to be on exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, ON.

In addition to her competition successes, Jenaya’s images have been published in numerous national and international magazines including Canadian GeographicNature’s BestNature Photographer Magazine, NWF’s National Wildlife and Ranger Rick, Jr., CWF’s Canadian Wildlife magazine, and WILD Magazine, amongst others. She was also featured in Outdoor Photography Canada as one of Canada’s best-kept secrets in wildlife photography.

Both Jenaya and her work aren’t so much of a secret any longer, however, as demand grows for limited-edition prints and commercial use of her images. Collectors and publishers began seeking out her wildlife art after Jenaya went on a run of winning many of the most prolific wildlife photography competitions including the 2011 National Wildlife Federation’s Wildlife Photography contest, the 2012 and 2014 International Birds as Art and the 2012 Canadian Geographic Wildlife Photography of the Year competitions. She was one of the youngest Grand Prize winners in Canadian Geographic’s history in taking top honours over all categories in the 2011 Western Heritage Values photo contest.

Jenaya’s talents don’t end behind the lens, however, as she is also an excellent writer. As early as age 10 her writing was chosen for multiple segments of a province-wide creative writing challenge, and at age 15 began working as an assignment reporter and photographer for a Southern Alberta news organization.

In an interview with National Wildlife magazine at age 13, Jenaya shared, “I love photographing God’s creation and am excited to be embarking on a career as a nature and wildlife photographer. I hope that my pictures help people care more about the animals I have the privilege of photographing.”

We are honoured and genuinely humbled by the recognition Jenaya has received for her dedication to wildlife photography and the subjects she cares so passionately for.

You can also follow Jenaya’s and the rest of the Launsteins’ photographic pursuits on Facebook at Launstein Imagery, Twitter @LaunsteinFamily and Jenaya’s personal account @JenayaLaunstein. You can also stay on top of Jenaya’s photographic exploits on our blog, and by subscribing to our newsletter below, where you’ll get updates, news items and special offers on prints and other products.

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Things You Might Not Know About Jenaya

Favourite subject to photograph: Tie between bears and foxes

Favourite location to photograph: Yellowstone National Park (with Alaska and the Yukon Territories right behind)

Favourite food to eat while photographing: Froyo (specifically Menchies and Waffleton)

Favourite sport: Hockey (rabid Calgary Flames fan)

Favourite vehicle to take her to any photography destination: Her Jeep Cherokee

Awards & Recognitions

  • Youth Photographer of the Year – 2013, Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards
  • First Place/Overall Winner – 2015 Big Picture Natural World Photography Competition, Youth Division, with a second image being awarded as well
  • Honorable Mention – 2015 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards
  • Specially Commended – 2015 Por el Planeta International Conservation Photography Competition
  • Commended – 2014, Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition
  • First Place/Overall Winner – both 2012 & 2014 BIRDS AS ART International Photography Competitions, Youth Category, with three additional images placing as Runner-Up (2014) and 4th and 5th places (2012)
  • Wildlife Photo of the Year – 2012, Nature Photographer’s Network
  • First Place/Overall Winner – 2012 Canadian Geographic “Wildlife Photography of the Year” Contest, Junior Photographers, with an additional image being awarded Runner-Up and two others receiving Honourable Mention awards
  • Grand Prize (overall winner from all ages and categories) – 2011 Western Heritage Values Photo Contest sponsored by Canadian Geographic and The Calgary Stampede, with an additional image winning First Place in the Junior Photographers division
  • First Place/Overall Winner – 2011 National Wildlife Federation Photo Contest, Youth Category, with an additional image receiving an Honourable Mention award; Runner-Up in the 2012 NWF Contest
  • Finalist (6 images) – 2011, 2012 & 2013 NHM/BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Young Competition
  • Winner – 2011 Robert Bateman/CWF “Get to Know” Contest
  • First Place/Overall Winner – Landscape in the 2010 Canadian Wildlife Federation “Focus on Nature” Youth Contest
  • Runner-Up, 2010 & 2011 Canadian Geographic “Wildlife Photography of the Year” Contests, Junior Photographers, with two additional images receiving Honourable Mention Awards in 2011
  • Runner-Up, 2011 Canadian Geographic Annual Photography Competition, Junior Photographers
  • Gallery of the Month, August 2011 – Nature Photographers Network, with several additional images receiving Editor’s Pick awards

© Copyright 2010-2022 Launstein Imagery | All images © Copyright John, Jenaya, Josiah, Charis or Marlise Launstein | All rights reserved.