The Travel Photographer of the Year awards were founded in 2003 by professional photographer Chris Coe and his partner Karen Coe, a PR and marketing consultant. There were very few other international photography competitions in those days, let alone travel photography ones. Our original logo (left) was created using some of Chris’s pictures.
We wanted to show that travel photography is much, much more than holiday snaps and pretty postcards. Travel photography encompasses a wide range of genres and subjects, from landscape to food, from architecture to people and from reportage to wildlife and so on. Travel photographers must be multi-skilled, able to make many types of images and work in all lights.
In the early days, TPOTY was run from our home, which was flooded by thousands and thousands of prints from around the world each year when the competition opened and from the very first year. Today, TPOTY is run from an office in the Suffolk countryside (England) which has a view to rival some of the images we receive. Nevertheless, we try to keep our friendly, personal touch. Each year our pleasure in receiving amazing images from photographers around the world is as great as ever and watching the work of many of our entrants evolve over the years, and seeing how photographers take on the challenges of the competition each year, gives us a particular thrill.
TPOTY has quickly grown into one of the world’s most prestigious photography awards and is truly global, receiving entries from 129 countries last year and 140 countries in total.
Since its start, thanks to the consistently high standard of imagery, the great respect in which our panel of expert judges is held, our fantastic sponsor prizes and the fantastic support from YOU, our dream of creating the best showcase for travel photography continues to be a reality.
The beautiful Journey series of portfolio books has helped to take the awards to a higher level, and exposed the winning and other highly placed images to an even wider audience. These books are collected by travel and photography lovers around the world. We also have a magnificent selection of postcards, greetings cards, mini prints and fine art prints – with the featured photographers all receiving royalties from those sales.
From 2010 to 2015 our association with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) saw TPOTY images displayed at a major exhibition in London each summer. Entrants reached an even wider audience, giving them fantastic exposure for their work and an enormous amount of pleasure to our many, many exhibition visitors. In 2016 we moved on to the University of Greenwich in the heart of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site for two years. Our first exhibition there welcomed visitors from 165 countries.
The 2018 London exhibition was at London Bridge City, next to City Hall and close to Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and the Shard. It was seen by over one million visitors, and Travel Photographer of the Year will return to that location in 2019, with the winning images from the 2018 awards. More…
TPOTY is now firmly established as one of the world’s leading photograhic competitions but that’s no reason to sit back and pat ourselves on the back. We’re always looking to take TPOTY further.
In 2016 the exhibition started touring internationally. In 2016 alone the first TPOTY touring exhibitions were seen by 178,000 visitors. Initially in only a few countries, over the next few years our stunning exhibition will be touring more extensively – so look out for it coming to you! In 2018 visitor numbers exceeded 1.5 million as the exhibition toured and visited Lisbon.
TPOTY is – and always has been – about images. However without our judges, sponsors and, most importantly, YOU it couldn’t happen. We would like to thank you and, above all, everyone who has entered over the years for the pleasure that their involvement has given to us on this particular journey.
We are passionate about protecting photographers’ copyright: your images always remain yours, and we do not request or grant unlimited license to use them. As a result, we are proud to say that TPOTY is an approved award, featuring on the Artists Bill of Rights, Rights-On list.