The winners of the 2018 international Travel Photographer of the Year awards (TPOTY) have been revealed, and they’re a glorious celebration of the beauty of this planet and its human and animal inhabitants.

Amateur and professional photographers from 142 countries submitted over 20,000 images, and photographers from 22 countries feature amongst the winners. The 2018 Winners’ Gallery on www.tpoty.com features over 150 fabulous images in a vibrant, fascinating and evocative collection of world-class contemporary travel photography shot on everything from high-end professional cameras to mobile phones.

The top prize and title of Travel Photographer of the Year 2018 is taken by Stefano Pensotti, a semi-professional photographer from Italy, with eight superb images that showcase life around the globe. He becomes the first Italian to take the top title in the 16 years since the awards first launched in 2003.

Young Travel Photographer of the Year 2018 is 14-year-old Isabella Smith. The young American won over the international panel of judges with her colourful portfolio of photographs taken in Chefchaouen, Morocco. 12-year-old Daniel Kurian (Australia/India) won Young TPOTY 14 and Under with a clever portfolio depicting a tree being felled, while 16 year old Fardin Oyan from Bangladesh took top honours in the Young TPOTY 15-18 age group with a beautiful collection of images capturing young children playing.

Across the various categories photographers have won prizes including cash bursaries, the latest professional cameras and lenses from Fujifilm, Arctic voyages with Hurtigruten, high-end outdoor clothing from Páramo, personalised leather portfolio books or iFolios from Plastic Sandwich, Photo Iconic photo tuition, Genesis Imaging exhibition prints and membership of the Royal Photographic Society.

In the portfolio categories, Dutch photographer Marinka Masséus’s portfolio ‘Under the Same Sun’, raising awareness of the circumstances of people with albinism in Tanzania was a very worthy winner of the Faces, People, Cultures category, while Best Single Image in this category went to Danny Yen Sin Wong (Malaysia) for his image of a young Suri boy in Kibish, Ethiopia.

The Natural World category attracted a very strong entry, with the judges eventually awarding the top prize to Spaniard Javier Herranz Casellas for his delicate, intimate portfolio depicting the Pita (Agave Americana) plant. French photographer Florent Mamelle’s impressive shot of the Fuego volcano in Guatemala spurting lava under the starry night sky was awarded Best Single Image.

Slovenian photographer Matjaz Krivic’s diverse portfolio won the special eight-image ‘Travel’ category introduced to celebrate TPOTY’s 15thanniversary, with Philip Lee Harvey (UK) being awarded the prize for Best Single Image in this category with a striking image of a sand diver in Mali.

Two British photographers, Andrew James and Philip Lee Harvey (a former overall winner of TPOTY) shared first place in the Hot/Cold single-image category with Andrew’s image of an elephant seal with a friendly penguin and Philip’s photograph of a lady encountering a snowman in London*, while another British entrant, Simon Morris’, atmospheric picture of a faded, once-grand bedroom in Havana, Cuba won the Tranquillity single-image category. No overall winner was awarded in Beauty of Light, but photographers from China, the UK and USA were Commended.

Jose Antonio Rosas becomes the first-ever Peruvian winner of a TPOTY category, winning the New Talent award for his portfolio documenting the Candelaria celebration in Puno, Peru and, in the Smart Shot single-image category for photographs taken on a mobile phone or tablet, Briton Nicola Young took first prize with her iPhone photo of a fish trader in Mauritius.

Winning images from this year’s awards will be exhibited from March 28 – April 30 2019 at a magnificent, free-to-view outdoor exhibition in an iconic British location at London Bridge City, opposite the Tower of London and close to London Bridge, and at TPOTY exhibitions internationally. These include the Xposure International Photography Festival in Sharjah and Dubai, the leading photo festival in the Middle East.

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*Update – February 1 2019 – “Hot/Cold category 2018

Some weeks after the announcement of the results of Travel Photographer of the Year 2018 we became aware that the winning image in the Hot/Cold category was not eligible for the awards. We are satisfied that the image was submitted in good faith by the entrant and that there was no intention to deceive in any way. However, we must, of course, exclude that image from the results.  The two Runners-Up in that category – Philip Lee Harvey and Andrew James – were therefore promoted to joint Winners.

We would like to remind anyone considering entering Travel Photographer or the Year (or any other photography competition) that it is the entrant’s responsibility to ensure that they read, comprehend and adhere to the rules.  We will not be commenting further on this issue.