There is a society or association for wildlife and nature photography in almost every European country. In Germany, this has been the non-profit Society of German Nature Photographers - GDT (Gesellschaft Deutscher Tierfotografen e.V.) since 1971. As Europe's leading association for nature photography, we benefit from a strong international network and pooling of knowledge and experience for almost 50 years in the fields of authentic, aesthetic and documentary nature photography and nature conservation alike.
The GDT demands and supports nature photography that embraces authenticity, true conservation and artistic quality to the same degree.
This is by no means a contradiction but a fertile triad as the GDT's members show in their photographs and in their striving for quality, joint learning and the ambition to improve as a photographer as well as a conservationist.
Every autumn the GDT organizes and hosts a large international nature photography festival. Lectures and slide shows by photographers from all over the world, many exhibitions, discussions, seminars and workshops on current issues of nature photography draw several thousand visitors to Lünen each year. During the festival a large photo market presents latest inventions and novelties in the field of photographic equipment, customized designs, numerous accessories, books and travels relating to nature photography.
Annually, the GDT presents two competitions of international acclaim, whose corresponding exhibitions are showcased at many national and international exhibition venues:
1. GDT Nature Photographer of the Year (GNPY)
This competition is exclusively for GDT members from Germany and abroad.
2. GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year (GDT EWPY)
This competition is open to all professional and non-professional photographers resident in Europe and for GDT members. Patron of the competition is the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), Prof. Dr. Beate Jessel.
The members‘ magazine GDT-Intern is published three times a year. Four times a year the GDT publishes the high-quality magazine ‘forum natur- fotografie‘, which is distributed by Tecklenborg publishing house. To accompany the European competition the GDT also publishes an exhibition catalogue in cooperation with Tecklenborg publishing house.
All nature photographers from Germany or abroad can become a GDT member. The GDT offers two possible types of membership: sponsor membership and full membership. Sponsor members are (just like full members) entitled to vote but cannot run for office. All members will receive concessions at GDT events as well as our magazine three times a year, latest leaflets and other information.
The possibility of a special insurance for photographic equipment with customized offers and reductions for GDT members and a membership for Canon photographers in the exclusive ‚Canon Professional Service‘ (Germany and Switzerland only) irrespective of their range of equip- ment, round off the advantages of membership.
The board decides about admission as a full member on the basis of 20 nature photographs which the applicant has to send in. As a full mem- ber you are entitled to vote at the general meeting and you can hold an office in the society‘s board of management. Currently, legal entities (sponsoring companies) pay an annual fee of € 250; for private sponsor and full members the annual fee is € 85. Stu- dents, pupils and young people under the age of 18 pay € 40; members resident outside Germany pay € 103. If you are interested in becoming a member, please contact the GDT- Office. There is also the possibility of downloading the documents from our website at www.gdtfoto.de
Nationwide the GDT has 15 regional groups (RG) and a group of young photographers. GDT members and guests have the possibility to visit events hosted by any of these groups. Each regional group is led by a head of regional group elected by the members of the particular group. His or her election is announced at the next general meeting of mem- bers.
Communicating the purpose and the objectives of the GDT to the general public is considered a special task of the RGs. For this reason, each RG organizes regional meetings open to all GDT members within the corresponding catchment area. Guests are very welcome except for internal meetings. Planning and organizing meetings and events is in the hands of the individual groups. Content and frequency depend on the commitment of the members. The heads of regional group are constantly in touch with the board of management and the GDT office to ensure the flow of information and to pass on suggestions and proposals. A list of events of each RG as well as reports of meetings and special events will be published on the GDT website and in our members‘ magazine ‚GDT-Intern‘.
The range of activities has very few limits as long as they are in com- pliance with the statutes of the GDT. They can range from an informal exchange of views, slide shows or excursions, exhibitions and seminars to supporting a particular photographer applying for full GDT mem- bership and productive review of pictures and much more.
There is a GDT group of young photographers open to all GDT mem- bers of up to 26 years of age. The group‘s intention is to provide a common base and the possibility for exchange and discussion. Young photographers can introduce themselves to other GDT members on the group‘s own website and give an insight into their portfolio. This will give them the opportunity to draw some attention and to show that the up-and-coming generation of photographers has a thing or two to say.