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International exhibition brings the art of science to life

International exhibition brings the art of science to life at MOTAT.

Ribblehead Viaduct Star Trails by David Forknall

The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) has secured the rights to present the Royal Photographic Society’s prestigious international Science Photographer of the Year exhibition.

The exhibition will be a highlight of the Museum’s reopening on Tuesday 26 May after more than two months of lockdown.

The images on display cover every aspect of scientific endeavour imaginable. Discover the beauty of raspberry mould, see eye to eye with a confused flour beetle, and get up close to the skull of 500-year-old King Richard III, tyrannical monarch of old but now fondly known as the ‘Carpark King’!

“We have selected 47 incredible photographs to share with New Zealand audiences. Yes, they’re fascinating scientific studies, but they are also powerful artistic statements too” explains MOTAT’s Senior Exhibitions Curator Simon Gould.

“I think the emotion they invoke will take visitors by surprise. Every day during lockdown, every time the pandemic was mentioned we have been reminded that science is all around us.

And these photographs communicate the power of science with such amazing force, we know this exhibition will be a very special, inspiring occasion for all the family.”

The annual international competition has just two entry categories; photographers over 18 years and the under 18 youth category.

Visitors will immediately appreciate the highly technical nature behind many of the images but it’s also worth noting that several entries, including the top award-winning photo for the youth category (image 3 attached), were shot using just a smartphone.

“We have carefully curated a range of images that we felt would resonate with our kiwi visitors and our New Zealand aesthetic. But this is a global competition, so it’s certainly our hope that after visiting MOTAT there will be many Kiwi’s wanting to enter this prestigious competition in 2020 and beyond. There’s no lack of talent here, artistic or scientific!”

The Royal Photographic Society's Science Photographer of the Year exhibition opens on Tuesday 26 May at MOTAT’s Great North Rd site.

Please visit for more information on the Alert Level 2 precautions in place at the museum.


The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, commonly known as the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), is one of the world's oldest photographic societies. It was founded in London, England, in 1853 as the Photographic Society of London with the objective of promoting the art and science of photography, and in 1853 received Royal patronage from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The Duchess of Cambridge became the Society's Patron on 25 June 2019, taking over from Her Majesty the Queen who had been patron since 1952.

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