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Over 70% of our planet is covered in water, from the great oceans to the smallest puddle. Water is the lifeline for life itself. It is a barrier and travel artery, a resource and a destructive force, an escape and a necessity. From a still, tranquil lake or a frozen pond to a raging tsunami; from gently flowing stream to fast flowing torrent; from flood to the essence of life which sustains people, nature and agriculture, water is fundamental to our existence.
This single-image category challenges you to show us your view of the earth’s most important resource; water. Your image can be about water in any of its many physical forms in nature and you can include the creatures that live in or on the water, and/or the people who make a living or take pleasure from our oceans, seas, rivers and lakes. You can enter B&W or colour images.
The winner of this category will have their own truly memorable water-based experience; a ‘Northern Lights & Whale Expedition by Sailing Ship’ in Northern Norway aboard a beautiful traditional two-mast schooner with WILDFOOT Travel.* They will also receive membership of Royal Photographic Society.
This category is open to all photographers. Entries close October 1st.
*Read our interview with WILDFOOT MD Simon Rowland here.
The team at WILDFOOT have decades of experience in wildlife and adventure travel, but it’s WILDFOOT’S dedication to wildlife conservation and environmental protection that makes the company so special.
TPOTY met Simon Rowland, WILDFOOT’s Managing Director. Simon has always found inspiration in the wild, and backpacked his way across Europe and Australasia as a young man. He has travelled extensively and cites moment such as kayaking through the ice of the Antarctic Peninsula as penguins jumped in and out to the water and whales were visible at very close quarters as among his favourite memories. But, for Simon, the first-choice wildlife destinations are the Galapagos Islands and the Falklands, with both ‘ticking every wildlife, wilderness and adventure box’.
What inspired you to first go travelling? Had you travelled much as a child?
Funnily enough we didn’t travel as much as some children do, except to Cornwall or Devon every summer. Then at the age of 10 my parents took me on my first flight to Mallorca. From there on all I wanted to do was to work in travel.
When did your love of travelling also become your career?
When I left college at 17 I applied for my first job with an excellent independent travel agency who set the professional tone for a future carrier. At 20 I started to work for a tour operator with a man who became my best friend. I was an employer’s nightmare because every 12 to 18 months I would leave that current job and backpack in Europe, the Middle East, Far East and Australasia for 6 to 8 months, but I had no choice, it was an obsession I’m afraid.
WILDFOOT is centred around amazing wildlife experiences – how did you first become so immersed in the natural world?
My lovely Dad was a country man and heavily into birding. This rubbed off on me and from an early age I was out with him on summer evenings and weekends. It carried on from there, and my interest in all nature still grows today, whether it’s wildlife, marine life or birds.
Give us some examples of memorable wildlife encounters you have enjoyed?
On my travels I’m rarely without binoculars, always on the lookout for encounters big or small. Penguin encounters are probably at the top of the bill for entertainment and antics.
One of my favourites was probably observing bull elephant seals aggressively fighting over mating rights on Sealion Island in the Falklands. Other memorable encounters include diving with juvenile sea lions and white tip sharks in the Galapagos and observing my first kill of an adult zebra by female lions in Botswana – shockingly riveting!
Finding a Jesus bird nest and eggs on a lily pad in the Okavango Delta may not sound as exciting, but I was thrilled because the eggs are so camouflaged (image left). I also recall observing two Hobby hawks attacking a buzzard in aerial combat and pinning it to the ground in Cheshire, England.
We know you particularly love the Galapagos and the Falklands – paint a picture for us of why these very different destinations are so special to you.
Neither of these amazing destinations require a cumbersome long lens and most of the wildlife is fearless of humans, making for the best close-up encounters. From a photographic point of view the light on the Falklands changes all of the time, from blight sunny days to light snow. It’s an interesting challenge for photographers to be faced with four seasons in one day! In the Falklands your time is your own and you can sit by a penguin colony all day if you want ,just watching the skulduggery when backs are turned and prized nest stones are carried off by a neighbouring thief. Galapagos is so rich in wildlife and marine life you simply don’t know where to turn and makes for an action-packed experience.
Travel is also about the people you meet along the way, and WILDFOOT offers some incredible opportunities for fascinating encounters such as the Okavango Guiding School. Tell us about some of the people you have encountered on your own journeys.
Travel broadens the mind. It’s a well-used phrase but its’ absolutely true. Travel experiences never fail to inspire me ,then they tend to coax, tempt and invite me to do even more but also try different ways to travel and perhaps with a smattering of even more adventure each time. Fellow travellers Inspire me just as much as local cultures and this provides inspiration for me every time.
I came back from Namibia recently – it had been my first African self-drive adventure, which I found invigorating in every way. En-route we met a couple of junior doctors from the UK who had just finished their finals and were taking three months out to enjoy a blow-out, traveling through Africa in a 4 x 4. What inspired me was they had driven through South Africa, Namibia and then Botswana, which can be a devil of a challenge during wet season in the Okavango Delta, when even the most experienced African off-roaders fail to make it without getting stuck or stranded along the way. These two chaps were young, far too inexperienced to do this and yet there they were with just weeks of experience under their belt, coming up against camping every night close to big game, driving through the most difficult terrain not knowing if they were going to arrive where they needed to be that night. I admired their fearless attitude and how calm and brave they both were about managing difficulties on route. I just know for them it’s a life changer, and what they have gone through will help them surf over whatever life launches at them.
Is your camera an essential travelling companion?
Yes it is, now along with my Swarovski binoculars at the ready. I’m not a great photographer but I’m happy with a camera and time just disappears when I’m taking images.
How do you decide which new destinations to add to WILDFOOT’s portfolio? What are the key criteria once you come to actually start to create trip itineraries and how do you research the environmental standards and ethos of the lodges etc?
My wonderful professional team and I are always listening very hard to fellow wildlife clients and photographic travellers, whether it’s during one of our wildlife exhibitions, on a trip overseas or on a phone call. Over the years we have just become very good at pricking our ears for new or unusual experiences we can follow up on and research. We simply add these to a list and discuss. We usually start to plan 24 months ahead, with several destinations or new experiences on our radar. In the middle of researching we could find a trail which leads us on a totally different route from the one we have set out on and this opportunity is one we never tire of. We have our customers’ interests at the forefront of our minds at all times, constantly asking what we need to do to make our product stand out above the rest and make it authentic, special and life changing.
At the same time if what we unearth is unethical or doesn’t fit with our sense of animal welfare and conservation we will drop it immediately. This could be a particular Indian lodge which still offers elephant rides, or an African ‘walking with lions’ experience where, once a young lion has passed its juvenile life it’s shot or put in an enclosure for a hunter to come along and shoot it. Both of these are appalling and just not in our DNA to support at any time.
The lodges and experiences we visit are approached with great due diligence, always with an interview with the manager and their team, either during casual conversation, safari activities or more formally on video camera. Our wildlife community not only includes wildlife lodge owners, guides and workers, but also the local communities and their welfare, education and livelihood. Support for them is essential as these communities are the ones looking after wildlife and reporting poachers. We also work with conservationists, wildlife protection charities, trusts and NGOs, naturalists, photographers, travel and wildlife journalists, not to mention artists. This is our community and we must all invest in our natural environment, not just because it’s a livelihood for us all but it’s also a way of life and, critically, it’s mankind’s future.
The talented photographer that wins the Oceans, Seas, Rivers, Lakes one-shot category in TPOTY 2019 will join WILDFOOT for a Northern Lights & Whale Expedition by Sailing Ship in Northern Norway aboard a stunning traditional two-mast sailing ship. Tell us some of the things they can look forward to seeing…
This promises to be an adventure of a lifetime, with photo opportunities galore. During the short daylight hours the skipper and marine guide will be seeking the finest whale-watching opportunities and as soon as dark arrives it’s heads up for the Aurora Borealis. It’s such an iconic vessel; with a friendly team and like-minded passengers, the camaraderie will be second to none.
Where are you off to on your next travel adventure?
I’ve just come back from an epic Africa trip so have my feet firmly under the desk planning for TPOTY exhibitions and Rutland Bird Fair, where we exhibit every year. But I have an invitation to a rarely-visited National Park in Zimbabwe where wildlife is making a come back after a sad period of destruction by poachers. This is a positive wildlife story and one where the local population have made a hugh difference. Our team also travel extensively, so Debbie is in Antarctica in November and we have an ‘off the beaten path’ Chilean trip lined up for another team member.
Where have you not yet visited that sits at the top of your bucket list? And if you could only choose one place to visit again in your life, which would it be, and why?
That’s easy, Japan in their winter to observe the snow monkeys, sea eagles, Japanese cranes and fish owls. I am also drawn to Zambia, where one can take part in a walking safari over seven nights, walking from lodge to lodge. Observing and taking images of wildlife on foot provides many more opportunities and encounters you would not experience on a drive. I would like to go back to the Arctic and enjoy the Polar bears, whales and marine life once again – maybe early in the season while there’s ice on the backdrop mountains.
Meeting people and experiencing their cultures is one of the main reasons why we travel. Cultures vary around the world and, with this, so do people’s traditions, customs and dress.
As old cultures evolve or even disappear, new ones emerge and, within many cultures, there are vibrant and interesting sub-cultures, often grounded in music, dance, food, physical endeavours or the creative arts.
The winner of this category will receive a Fujifilm XT-3 camera with 18-55mm lens, a jacket and trousers from Páramo and membership of The Royal Photographic Society. The judges will also select their favourite image from all the entered portfolios. The winner of the best single image award will receive a Genesis Imaging giclée exhibition print.
Show us the people, the cultures – old or new – which you encounter on your travels around the world and celebrate them in a portfolio of four colour or B&W images.
You can include portraits or candid shots of people, their expressions, encounters, interactions, communication. And show us their cultures – gatherings, festivals, traditions, music, dance, food, events, colour, movement, sports.
By entering this category twice, or entering this category once plus one of the other portfolio categories, you will automatically be considered for the top award and the title of Travel Photographer of the Year 2019.
This category is for all photographers aged 19 years and over. Entries close on October 1st.
Our beautiful natural world is facing a growing number of threats, many of them man-made, such as the global pollution of the planet with plastics, or caused by conflicts between expanding human settlements and the natural habit and environments for non-human life. This category is about the endangered world we inhabit, the threats its landscapes and wildlife face and the measures being taken to conserve, restore or protect them.
In a portfolio of four images (colour or black and white) we would like you to show us part of that endangered world, whether it’s environment, landscapes, seascapes, conservation, migration routes, wildlife, sea life, plant life, trees, insects, mammals, birds, fish, or any other living non-human organism.
The judges will also select their favourite image from all the entered portfolios. The winner of the best single image award will receive a Genesis Imaging giclée exhibition print.
By entering this category twice, or entering this category once plus one of the other portfolio categories once, you will automatically be considered for the top award and the title of Travel Photographer of the Year 2019.
This category is for all photographers aged 19 years and over. Entries close on October 1st.
Travel Photographer of the Year judge, the photographer, TV cameraman and author Jeremy Hoare, has recently released a new limited edition book documenting the geisha in Japan. And it’s been more than 30 years in the making…
Geisha Dreams – A limited edition of 100 book by Jeremy Hoare
A maiko is a girl between 15 and 20 years old and then graduates to being a geisha. It is a common misconception that a geisha is a prostitute but that is not true. Geisha are highly versed in the arts; they dance, play instruments and chat coquettishly to wealthy businessmen who are happy to pay them for an evening.
I have been taking the photos for this book for more than thirty years since my first visit to Japan in 1987 when I was so captivated by the country and the people, I was determined to return which I did and have done many times since.
Years later, and now with my kimono-maker partner Chizuko who is from Kyoto, we tried to get access into the geisha world. But the local tourist board failed which surprised me because I thought they would have contacts, knowledge and know-how to access it, but they didn’t.
For Geisha Dreams inevitably I took pictures in daylight as well as night time and have captured some animated moments of these women. They are entertainers so I had no problem in chasing them around streets, and, as I had not been allowed access, I shot the images of these women ‘paparazzi’ style which worked well as I felt it conveyed a sense of mystery and intrigue about these women. They seemed to expect me to do that otherwise I was ignoring them and that’s the last thing they wanted. Any performer wants to be noticed and these maiko and geisha are in that way no different to any other entertainer.
In October, which was the time we would go to Japan, the light was gone by about five o’clock in the evening so all I could do was take pictures under streetlights and whatever light was coming out of buildings, shops and vending machines. I never even considered using flash as it would be so wrong for these images. I would position myself with the camera all set and be ready to shoot when the subject arrived into whatever light there was.
To begin with, I was using transparency film which was expensive and I tended to use slow 100 ISO to shoot these images. The resultant images were blurred using shutters speeds of 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 a second. They were not out of focus; they were blurred because of the movement. I also tried with 400 ISO and got better results as it was two stops faster so I could mostly freeze an image although there was still some blur. The change to digital meant I could change the ISO for each frame if needed but I stuck to the lower rating as I got better images that way, the blur added to the mystery of these wonderfully and very expensively dressed women.
The ability to interact with the subject is an essential photography skill and I almost got to know some geisha and maiko, although they would never acknowledge it. as I would see the same ones time and time again. Often on rainy days I was the only person in the street so it was hard to ignore me.
When it got to the point that taking more pictures was not productive, I would say ‘thank you’ to them but not in conventional Japanese as ‘arigato’ but in the Kyoto way, ‘okini’, which often made them curl up in laughter as it was not expected a westerner would even know the word.
It was a real thrill that the acclaimed novelist, journalist and broadcaster Lesley Downer, who has lived briefly in Kyoto’s geisha world, agreed to write a foreword for the book which is the most eloquent and beautiful one I could have wished for.
Because of the nature of the book, and the potential audience for it, I decided to print just 100 copies, each one signed and numbered. This I have done and hope people who buy the book will enjoy and gain enlightenment about the mysterious world of geisha and maiko so they can have their own geisha dreams.
TPOTY co-founder Chris Coe had a fantastic day at the Photo London preview yesterday, May 15 and, as a photographer, found it utterly inspiring. His review will appear on these pages soon but in the meantime, here are three images that he shot at the event which runs from May 16-19 at London’s splendid Somerset House…
ABOUT PHOTO LONDON
16-19 May 2019, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA
Now in its fifth edition Photo London was created to give London an international photography event befitting the city’s status as a global cultural capital. Held in the magnificent and historic setting of Somerset House, Photo London has established itself as a world-class photography fair and as a catalyst for London’s dynamic photography community. From the capital’s major museums, to its auction houses, galleries large and small, right into the burgeoning creative communities in the East End and South London, Photo London harnesses the city’s outstanding creative talent and brings together the world’s leading photographers, curators, exhibitors, dealers and the public to celebrate photography.
Each edition of the Fair sees a number of Awards announced, headlined by the Photo London Master of Photography Award. The 2019 Master of Photography is Stephen Shore, who is celebrated at the event with a special exhibition of new and unseen works. Known for his pioneering use of colour photography and early experimentation with new technologies, Shore’s work has been widely published and exhibited for the past 45 years, including a recent solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Along with the selection of almost 100 of the world’s leading galleries from 21 different countries showing at the Fair, Photo London presents the Discovery section for the most exciting emerging galleries and artists, featuring a curated selection of 23 galleries and focusing on new and emerging talent.
There is also a Public Programmewhich this year includes special exhibitions featuring Roger Fenton, Vivian Maier, Gavin Turk, Eamonn Doyle and Josh Haner bringing together special exhibitions, installations, a Talks Programme curated by William A. Ewing – renowned curator and writer, former Director of the Musée de l’Elysée, and former Director of Exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, New York – and featuring such photographers as Sebastião Salgado.
Entries are open for the 2019 international Travel Photographer of the Year awards (TPOTY). Founded in 2003, the competition attracts submissions from amateur, semi-professional and professional photographers from more than 140 countries each year, all drawn to take the TPOTY challenge by the fantastic prizes and the international kudos and exposure that comes from doing well in the awards.
Travel Photographer of the Year 2019 has a wide range of category themes and awards, reflecting the great diversity of travel photography. There is a special award for young photographers and even a category solely for images shot on a smartphone or tablet. New for 2019 is the TAPSA Travel Documentaries award for documentary photography with a travel-related theme.
Prizes include £5,000 in TPOTY cash bursaries, Fujifilm XT-3 cameras with 18-55mm lenses, Swarovski CL Companion 8×30 binoculars, a WILDFOOT Travel Northern Lights and Whale sailing ship expedition in Northern Norway, a 10-day trip to Sharjah and the Xposure Festival of Photography including a five-day photo workshop with the 2013 Travel Photographer of the Year Timothy Allen, a TravelLight Secret Venice Immersive Photo Workshop with photographers Chris Weston and Simon Weir, Paràmo outdoor clothing, Plastic Sandwich leather portfolio books and iFolios, a full set of the stunning ‘Remembering Wildlife’ books, Photo Iconic mentoring and critiques, exhibition-quality prints from Genesis Imaging and Royal Photographic Society (RPS) memberships.
The awards are judged by an international panel of imaging experts. New faces on the panel this year include double Pulitzer Prize-winner Essdras M Suarez and Lawrence Jackson, a former official White House photographer under the Obama Administration. Winning images will be showcased in global media coverage and in the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibitions; in 2018 alone TPOTY exhibitions were seen by some two million people.
The Travel Photographer of the Year 2019 will be the entrant who submits the best eight images across the four portfolio categories ‘The Art of Travel’, ‘Endangered Planet’, ‘People & Cultures’and ‘Thrills & Adventures’.
Images can be submitted online at www.tpoty.com or as prints. Entry fees start at £8 and submissions to Young TPOTY are free of charge. Entries close on October 1st and the results will be announced in December.
With all the uncertainty around March 29 looming as ‘Brexit Day’, visitors to London Bridge City – across the Thames from the Tower of London – can take comfort in a beautiful distraction in the form of a vibrant, fascinating and evocative collection of world-class contemporary travel photography, when our latest winning images go on display there from March 28 to April 30.
This stunning, free-to-view outdoor exhibition will be viewable all day every day in one of the most visited riverside London destinations, rubbing shoulders with some of the City’s most famous landmarks such as Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, City Hall, the Scoop, Borough Market and the Shard. Last year’s TPOTY exhibition here was seen by more than one million people.
In addition, Travel Photographer of the Year and Photo Iconic are staging a series of low-cost photowalks and workshops, allowing photography fans inspired by the images on show to brush up their own skills in this highly photogenic London location.
Shot on everything from high-end mobile phones to professional cameras, the exhibited images present a glorious, intriguing, at times poignant, thought-provoking view of this planet and its human and wild inhabitants.
The exhibition showcases the winning shots from the 2018 Travel Photographer of the Year competition, the results of which were announced in December 2018. Amateur and professional photographers from 142 countries submitted over 20,000 images, and photographers from 22 countries feature amongst the winners. The exhibition will provide inspiration for those considering entering the 2019 Travel Photographer of the Year awards, which open for entry on April 11.
The winning images have received great acclaim when reported in media across the world and can be viewed online at tpoty.com, but are SO much more stunning when viewed close-up as large prints in exhibition! London Bridge City will be their first public showing.
London photowalks and photocourses
For just £20 photo buffs can join a 2- hour London Photowalk (April 7 and April 27) or an evening City Lights Photowalk (April 6 and April 27) around the Tower Bridge and London Bridge area. Led by TPOTY founder, professional photographer and photo tutor Chris Coe, these fun events will photograph the old and new in the area around the exhibition, with Chris providing photo tuition and guidance. All photowalks can be booked through the Travel Photographer of the Year website.
For those looking to spend a little longer honing their photographic skills, TPOTY is staging a one-day ‘Get Off Auto, Get Creative’ workshop on April 28. Perfect for beginners or for anyone struggling with their camera’s menu, this £95 workshop is a great way to start to get to grips with their camera and photography and to begin to become more creative.
The TPOTY/Photo Iconic photowalks and one-day workshop are supported by Fujifilm and Swarovski Optik. Fujifilm is bringing along some of their latest cameras for participants to try, while Chris will be equipped with a superb pair of Swarovski binoculars, giving a new perspective on this highly photogenic location. All participants also receive a generous 40% discount voucher for DimT restaurant, which overlooks the exhibition, so can treat themselves to DimT’s very tasty Asian food.
We are thrilled to announce that three fantastic photographers have agreed to become a part of the TPOTY judging panel.
Two-time Pulitzer prizewinner photographer Essdras M Suarez is originally from Panama and now based out of Alexandria, VA/ USA. He was a photojournalist for 20 years and a Boston Globe staff photographer for 12 years until 2014. While there he received national and international accolades for his coverage of stories such as the Iraq War, Tsunami Aftermath, Newton Massacre and Boston Marathon bombing, among others. He’s also received multiple awards in other photo specialties.
Lawrence Jackson, a former Official White House Photographer under the Obama Administration, spent 18 years working for newspapers and wire services before working at the White House. Since leaving the White House Lawrence has been building his photography business telling/documenting stories for news organizations, corporations, families and political events.
Keith Berr is an international advertising, commercial and fine art photographer. He has recently custom designed and built a modernistic live/work compound in the centre of Cleveland’s Asia town and is involved in the movement to revitalise his art district. His journeys take him on assignments, where he creates memorable photographs of men in steel mills, racecars, corporate leaders, brain surgeons at work, chefs, food and native flair around the world.
We are delighted to welcome Swarovski Optik, the market leader in wildlife observation worldwide, to the TPOTY sponsor ‘family’. The winner of the Swarovski Optik-sponsored category in TPOTY 2019 will receive a pair of CL Companion 8x30B binoculars, the perfect companion for anyone seeking the freedom to experience more during their travel or leisure activities.
A key element of the binoculars is their new balanced optics concept. This provides every user with an unforgettable yet comfortable viewing experience with high-contrast images that are razor-sharp and colour-true. The new CL Companion also delivers an impressive 132-meter (433-foot) field of view, creating even more scope for fascinating discoveries. The binoculars are both lightweight and rugged thanks to their slim, compact design and solid magnesium housing.
In addition, Swarovski will support the TPOTY/Photo Iconic photography workshops and courses by providing some magnificent binoculars to give participants a new perspective on the course locations.
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.
*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.
Travel Photographer of the Year judges Jonathan and Angela Scott are returning to Animal Planet together with Jackson ole Looseyia in all-new natural history series, BIG CAT TALES. This series documents the present-day prides and families of the lions, leopards and cheetahs of the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, including the Marsh Pride.
Animal Planet audiences will be submerged into the world of these big cats for a first-hand look as stories evolve, cubs grow and lives ebb and ﬂow, bringing the mix of joy and sorrow that make these big cats so irresistible. Produced for Animal Planet by Untitled Film Works and directed by award-winning filmmaker Abraham Joffe ACS, BIG CAT TALES premieres this month
Jonathan Scott was first seen by viewers in the U.S. on Animal Planet beginning in 1999 in the ground-breaking series Big Cat Diary which aired on the network until 2009. BIG CAT TALES, ﬁlmed in the Masai Mara in 2017, features the latest innovative production techniques, including rich 4K resolution.
Exceptional storytelling in stunning detail reveal the sheer splendor of these fierce felines in the wild, including never-before-captured sequences and multiple storylines and scenes of nurturing, hunting, survival and territorial battles – with each big cat family overcoming the many challenges of life on the African savannah.
Some featured big cats have been documented for decades. It is only through the long history and experience of the Scotts and Mr. ole Looseyia that the intimate lives of these big cats can be brought to Animal Planet audiences across the globe in such spectacular and intimate detail. Jonathan Scott has spent over 40 years in the Mara and has an unrivalled knowledge of its big cats; Angela Scott is a world-class wildlife photographer and has a very special bond with lions, particularly the famous Marsh Pride; Jackson is a proud Masai local and has spent his entire life alongside these magnificent animals.
“We wanted to reveal the joys and hardships of what it means to be a big cat in all its vital rawness and honesty, and to explore the vital role the Masai people play in their story,” said Jonathan Scott.
“It is our duty to ensure that the roar of the mighty lion continues to echo across the African savannah, inspiring the next generation of conservationists long after we have disappeared from this world. Animal Planet is the perfect home for Big Cat Legacy; they are as passionate about big cats as we are and they reach a global audience.
“Having our great friend Jackson ole Looseyia with us on this journey was pivotal to the success of this venture, and we all knew that for this to be a success we needed to ensure the highest production values as well as the integrity of our stories; Abraham and his team at Untitled Film Works brought an energy and creativity that made it a privilege to work with them. By revealing the wonder and fascination of the lives of Africa’s charismatic/magnificent big cats, we can help to ensure their future.”
“The depth of knowledge that our wonderful presenters possess meant that we were able to record some remarkable big cat behavior, from the rarely observed bonding between mother leopard and cubs to dramatic male impala hunting sequences,” said Mr. Joffe. “What makes this series so special is that these individual big cats have a known history going back decades. Their documented legacy brings to the screen a deeper level of connection only made possible by a lifetime spent in the field by Jonathan, Angela and Jackson.”
One of the most popular TPOTY images in the first 15 years of the awards is this shot of two lionesses with a tiny cub, taken by David Lazar in Kenya. It’s so perfect that some people have had trouble believing that it’s real but, as David explains in his profile piece, it certainly is! We also have some other images from the sequence, for the cynics out there!
David Lazar is a travel photographer and musician from Brisbane, Australia, who captures moments of life, beauty and culture in his photography. David’s portraits and landscapes from around the globe have appeared in numerous publications including, National Geographic, Australian Photography, and Lonely Planet. David also works with Luminous Journeys, leading photo tour workshops in Southeast Asia, India and Bhutan.
What first got you into photography and how old were you?
My first inspiration came after a big trip to India and Nepal in 2004, when I was in my early twenties. After this I discovered more about travel photography as a genre of art and became drawn to it – I now had a desire to capture artistic and powerful photos from around the globe. After this trip I purchased a DSLR and made a conscientious effort while travelling to meet people and ask to take their portrait. I became involved in online forums where I was exposed to lots of other travel photographs, and from 2005 I continued to experiment and learn more about the art-form.
How do you look to approach and capture your next best shot?
I look for interesting and unique people and cultures in places around the world that are not so frequently visited by most people, to create art that will be powerful, emotive, and aesthetically pleasing. I’m most intrigued to capture portraits of people in their natural environment, as well as close up portraits of faces with character.
What has being involved with the Travel Photographer of the Year done for your photography career?
I have made a lot of sales through the TPOTY shop in the form of prints and postcards. The exposure from the books and various websites TPOTY have been featured on have also been great for me as many people see the winning and commended photos through this medium.
Tell us the story of that famous lion image
I was doing an early morning safari in Kenya, and came across two lionesses out walking with a group of young lion cubs. This particular cub was much smaller and less adventurous than the other siblings in the group, preferring always to stay close to the lionesses. We stopped the safari vehicle on the road to let the lions pass, then drive slowly ahead of them and watch them continue walking past the vehicle. It was a very emotional moment for me to see these lion cubs so close, it was my first time to see lion cubs and there was no one else around except me, the driver and guide. In this shot, I was lucky to capture a particular moment when the 2 lionesses were walking with paws in synchronisation, and also happened to both be looking at the cub.
Where is your favourite place you have visited, and why?
Perhaps my favourite place to visit is Myanmar, because I find it to be a very beautiful country and with kind and friendly people and a lot of traditional and strong culture.
My first trip their garnered a folio of photos that to me was my most prolific and set a new standard of work for me and from this moment my photography continued to grow and improve. I have returned numerous times since my first trip there in 2010.
Tell us a fascinating fact or story from your travels
I met a beautiful girl with strong green eyes when exploring a rural town in Bangladesh, who I asked to photograph the next day and we ended up doing some portraits at her house.
The photos from this shoot (one of which was a commended in TPOTY competition) have since been printed in magazines and newspapers around the world, including a major Bangladeshi newspaper a number of times.
She has been visited by various media and journalists and sometimes I get Bangladeshi people sending me photos of themselves with this girl – she became something of a celebrity in Bangladesh.
What piece of advice would you give someone starting out on their photography ‘career’, say in the New Talent award?
Take photos of subject matter that inspires you and that you find interesting, exciting or beautiful, and also analyse other photographer’s photos that you admire and try to to work out why it is a successful photo. Analysing other photos that you like is a good way to figuring out what you should do in your photos to make them work. It’s also good to see the photo in your mind before you shoot it – practice trying to imagine the photo roughly in your mind before putting it together and taking the shot.
An interview with wildlife photographer Margot Raggett, the producer of the highly acclaimed Remembering Wildlife book series, a collaboration between many of the world’s top wildlife photographers.
The first two books in the series, Remembering Elephants and Remembering Rhinos, have so far between them raised more than £320,000 for conservation project. This year’s book, Remembering Great Apes, will be published on 14th October 2018 and is now available for pre-order. It is accompanied by a two-week free exhibition, which runs daily from 10am-5pm from Monday 15th through to Saturday 27th October at La Galleria, Pall Mall, London SW1Y 4UY.
The official launch will be held on the evening of Thursday 18th October at the Royal Geographical Society. Speakers that night include the wildlife activist Ofir Drori, and former Wildlife Photographer of the Year Tim Laman and the evening also includes a book signing. The TPOTY team is going and we can’t wait!
COMPETITION – we have a copy of this beautiful book to give away. For your chance to win it, just email us before October 14th and tells us why you would like to own a copy of Remembering Great Apes.
What prompted you to start the Remembering Wildlife series?
I had trying to build a career in wildlife photography after giving up the corporate world, so I was spending a lot of time in Africa. Towards the end of 2014 I was on a safari in Northern Kenya when we were woken up before dawn by the sound of hyenas going crazy. At first light we went to investigate and found a poached elephant. We think he’d only died a few hours before. He still had the poisoned arrow in him and the hyenas had started to eat him. We estimate he was around 14 years old.
I was so horrified and shocked, I literally felt impotent with rage. But then I started to think about how to channel that anger into something productive. I knew a few other wildlife photographers by then and started to ask around and see if anyone would consider donating images for an awareness and fundraising book and everyone said yes!
How did you go about planning that first book book?
The first thing I had to do was to get the photographers on board. I had in my mind to have 50 but at that stage didn’t actually know 50 different wildlife photographers so it felt pretty ambitious! But I had brilliant support and introductions to some of the big names. And once we had the likes of Frans Lanting and Art Wolfe on board people started contacting me!
The next thing was to get funding and I decided to try the Kickstarter route as I’d seen it work successfully for other photographers. We set out to raise £20,000, which was going to be enough to produce 1000 books. I had no idea if we’d achieve that in the 30 days the campaign was to run, so when we actually hit it in just 12 hours I knew we were onto something! The idea was to totally pre-fund the cost of producing the books so that when we went on to sell them all profits could go straight to conservation.
Eventually we printed 2500 copies of Remembering Elephants and those sold out in just two months from launch. We are now on our third edition of that book and it remains immensely popular, with proceeds of its sale still going to conservation projects today.
How do you choose the subjects for your books?
It is incredibly difficult to do, as there are just so many species that need our attention and protection right now. Time really is of the essence! I also get a lot of people contacting me with what they think I should do. But really, I just have to rely on my instincts each time about what seems most urgent at that particular moment. With rhinos, it was the opportunity to meet Sudan, the last male northern white rhino (who has subsequently passed away) that made my mind up to cover that species. And with great apes, there were so many issues from deforestation for palm oil, though to mining for minerals for use in mobile phones that I wanted to highlight.
How do you go about selecting images for the books?
My primary objective each year is to make the most beautiful tribute to the species that’s ever been seen. So I’m looking for outstanding images that I think will look good in a book but also on people’s walls, as we also sell prints at our exhibition to raise further funds. I’m also always looking for reflections on the personalities and behaviours of the animals, moments that will capture people’s attention and give a sense of the world in which they live.
How is the launch of Remembering Great Apes shaping up?
All indications are that it is going to be our biggest year yet! Our Kickstarter this year raised an incredible £128,000, meaning we could print 5000 copies of Remembering Great Apes, our biggest print run yet. And we have 35 of our contributing photographers flying in to attend the launch this time, which I am pretty blown away by. We’ll have the likes of Tim Laman, Greg Du Toit, Shem Compion and Michael Poliza there, along with many others and I’m thrilled that the event seems to be turning into a real highlight of the wildlife photographic community’s calendar.
How old were you when you first got into photography? How did it happen?
In 2008 I was 30 years old and working in Central Asia and Eastern Europe as a mechanical engineer. I heard a rumor that our project might end, and I realized that I had been there for three years and hadn’t made many pictures. I imagined sitting with my family and hearing the question – what was life like in Central Asia? So I thought the best way to share those insights was by making pictures and letting them do the talking.
Since I didn’t have access to photography lessons in those regions, I decided to do a 17-day photography expedition in India. I had three amazing instructors during the journey, and I was so excited to learn a new craft and explore the world. By the end of the trip, I was hooked, and I told my instructors that I wanted their jobs. From then on, I worked diligently on my photography and set a course for changing my career.
What was the first camera you can remember owning/using – and the first shot you took that you really liked?
My first camera was a Nikon D80 along with an 18-135mm kit lens that I bought to prepare for the India expedition.
On the fifth day of the trip, one of the instructors was teaching us about looking at things from a different perspective. Later that morning, we approached Jaisalmer Fort as it was bathed in early morning light. Adjacent to the fort, I saw a street performer doing a rope-balancing act. Kneeling on a metal disk, she had a water-filled vase on her head and she used her toes to propel herself across the rope. I lay down on the ground beneath the rope and dissected the composition with the rope and her balancing pole. The fort was illuminated in the background, and then suddenly a flock of birds flew overhead. Everything just came together nicely, but it wouldn’t have worked without the initial lesson from the instructor about perspectives.
Who inspires you as a photographer?
I try to find inspiration from many different media. Fortunately, I work within a wonderful creative community in Washington, D.C., and those members do fascinating work. I constantly watch films, especially documentaries, to better understand how to capture imagery and tell complicated in-depth stories. Being in D.C., I also have access to world-class museums. Periodically, I see photography and art exhibits that inspire me to redefine my current aesthetic or to try new things.
When you won the TPOTY New Talent award in 2010 you hadn’t yet embarked on a career as a full-time photographer. What were you doing instead, and how did winning the award help spur you on to make this your profession?
In 2010, I was working in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia, designing and building laboratories to secure and safeguard biological agents. Each day, I was not only doing my engineering work, but I was traveling to many new destinations, and within those experiences, learning languages, understanding cultures and meeting new people.
Winning the TPOTY New Talent award inspired me in many ways. As an engineer, I was not involved in a photo community. After winning the award, the door to a new community opened, and other participants, entrants, publishers and writers/editors welcomed me. In addition, knowing that an international panel of respected judges acknowledged my images gave me confidence in my work. Furthermore, the award came with a prize – a free trip to India and Nepal – which offered a new opportunity to explore the world, practice my craft and build a stronger portfolio.
Eric’s 2010 New Talent-winning portfolio
Did you enjoy seeing your images displayed in the TPOTY exhibition in London?
I took a vacation from my engineering job to visit London and see the TPOTY exhibition. Seeing the presentation and my images printed in large scale was extraordinary. But maybe more importantly, I met with the TPOTY founders, some of the judges and several TPOTY winners. Those connections and conversations continued to inspire and support me in new photography pursuits.
How did your career progress after you won the award – what were the significant milestones?
After TPOTY, my winning images were published in photography magazines and through online news organizations. Over the next two years, I won several other international photography contests, which also had trips as prizes. Those trips once again offered opportunities to further develop my portfolio. I also attended two prominent documentary photography workshops – one in Toronto and one in New York. Those workshops allowed me to get critical feedback on how to make better images and tell more powerful stories. That advice helped significantly when I finally decided to resign from engineering (in March 2012) and embark on a freelance career. I dedicated much of my first year to developing personal work. I spent several months traveling with a carnival group in the Pacific Northwest, and I documented the story of environmental pollution and its effect on one woman in Canada. Both of those stories were widely published. But more importantly, I was able to show that personal work to prospective clients in order to foster working relationships.
You were already pretty well travelled in 2010, where have you travelled to since then, and which destination has made the biggest impression on you?
Since 2010, I have been fortunate to visit many new locations, including Panama, Costa Rica, Galapagos Islands, Tanzania, Iceland, Yellowstone National Park, Israel, Mozambique, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mongolia, Serbia, Philippines, Scotland, Newfoundland, Czech Republic, and Italy, among others. It’s very difficult for me to state which destination made the biggest impression, because I try to develop and grow from each new experience. The nature and pristine landscapes of Iceland and Yellowstone are astounding. The warmth and hospitality (and cuisine!) in Southeast Asia are wonderful. History abounds in Israel, and the wildlife in the Galapagos Islands is extraordinary.
What sort of clients do you work for – and do you get the time also to shoot images for you, i..e for the love of photography?
As a freelance photographer and videographer, most of the content I produce now is based on travel or human-interest stories. I have the good fortune of collaborating with respected organizations and media outlets whose missions I appreciate. These outlets include National Geographic, BBC Travel, World Wildlife Fund, Hilton Worldwide, The New York Times and CNN, among others. Throughout the year, I also lead photography expeditions with National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions.
When I first got into photography, it was simply for personal reasons – to document my life, surroundings and international travels to share with family and friends. But the more I did it, the more I fell in love with it. And that love stemmed from the pure excitement of just making images for me, not necessarily for a career. Later on, when I was transitioning to full-time freelance work, I would tell myself to make sure to allocate time for personal projects and exploring the stories that fascinate me. Fortunately, I still do that on occasion. At family events, I document the day. When I take a personal vacation, I capture the sense of place and people. And I also develop personal projects to show potential clients in order to get work.
When I was toying with the idea of making my passion my career, so many people asked if I was afraid of losing my passion along the way. Well, it’s been six years since I resigned from engineering, and while making this my career is extremely hard work, I absolutely still love what I do.
What does the year ahead hold for you with your career?
Over the next year, I will teach on expeditions to Egypt and Scotland, and I will also be taking a personal trip to Poland to explore where my family came from. I also plan to continue a personal project, and in between those activities, I hope to continue collaborating with organizations to tell interesting stories and inspire people to explore the world.
Looking back, was it a good decision to enter TPOTY, and would you advise other up and coming photographers to do the same?
Entering TPOTY was a great decision for several reasons. At the time, I was an engineer with no photography community. Through winning TPOTY, I began meeting people in the industry who could share what it’s like to be a photographer and who helped open doors that led to new opportunities. Also, seeing my work recognized by others helped my confidence grow, and the contest prize offered a chance to see more of the world and develop my travel portfolio.
I made the images I submitted to the TPOTY New Talent category during a personal trip to Alaska, and so my advice to up and coming photographers is to make images for you during your travels. Focus your camera on the subjects that fascinate you, and that fascination will show in the content you create. Your work is always better when you’re invested intellectually and emotionally in what you’re creating. Then when you see those cohesive images that you’re passionate about line up with categories in TPOTY, submit them and hope for the best. From years of feedback and experience, it seems that personal, powerful images and stories resonate the most.
January 19 2018: London gains a fantastic new photography exhibit this Easter as the latest winning images from Travel Photographer of the Year make their public debut at a stunning, free-to-view outdoor exhibition at London Bridge City, across the Thames from the Tower of London. A move up river from our previous exhibition ‘home’ in Greenwich, this new celebration of photography runs from Good Friday, March 30 to Sunday, April 29. Some 140 images will go on display.
Enjoyed by visitors from across the globe and with a vibe loved by those who work and live in the area, London Bridge City is surrounded by some of the City’s most famous landmarks and is steeped in rich British culture. Rubbing shoulders with the likes of City Hall, the Scoop, Borough Market, the Shard, HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge, this vibrant and forward-thinking community is one of the most visited riverside London destinations.
As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the awards, we are very excited to be moving our annual London exhibition of the latest winning images to London Bridge City. This area was once known as London’s Larder, and was one of the city’s largest docks, bringing in the majority of London’s food from the 18th Century to 1970. That association with ships travelling in from all over the globe – together with the large numbers of British and international visitors who flock to this area today – is highly appropriate to a photography award that celebrates the very best images of our world, its cultures, landscapes, environment and wildlife.
December 13 2017: The winners of the 2017 international Travel Photographer of the Year awards (TPOTY) have been revealed, and the contest – now in its 15th year – has another fantastic and wonderfully diverse set of photographs and photographic travel stories celebrating the humanity, landscape, environment and wildlife of this planet.
Congratulations to the photojournalist Alain Schroeder, the first-ever Belgian overall winner of TPOTY. Alain was awarded the title of Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 for his atmospheric portfolios of Kushti wrestling in India and the complex rituals associated with death in Toraja, Indonesia.
Congratulations also to 12-year-old Morgan Wolfers from Colorado, USA, who becomes one of the youngest-ever winners of Young Travel Photographer of the Year, with a beautifully-shot portfolio of aspen trees and leaves. She was just 11 when she took her winning images.
More than 20,000 images were submitted by photographers in 129 countries, and entrants from 24 countries received awards – and it was a clean-sweep for the USA in Young Travel Photographer of the Year, with American youngsters taking the top honours in all three categories.
A huge THANK YOU to all our entrants from around the world, to our finalists who worked so hard to get their prints to us for the final judging round, to our fantastic sponsors Fujifilm, Hurigruten, Páramo, Genesis Imaging, Jack Wills, Plastic Sandwich, Photo Iconic and the Royal Photographic Society, and to our amazing panel of judges who gave their time and expertise so enthusiastically.
March 26 2018 – Visitors to our exhibition at London Bridge City next month will be able to vote online for their favourite exhibition image, and will have the chance to some fantastic prizes, including:
A fantastic six-day Hurtigruten voyage in Norway for two people (including international flights from UK), travelling South from Kirkenes, near the Russian border, to Bergen, the ‘City of Seven Mountains’ and gateway to the Fjords. You’ll sail amongst the beautiful Lofoten Islands and cross the Arctic Circle.
Alondra Traveller or Halcon Traveller jackets from Páramo. Durable, cool, lightweight travel jackets for photographers, wildlife watchers and travellers. Like the Halcon Traveller, the new Women’s Alondra Traveller uses Nikwax® Cotton+ fabric for protection from sun, wind and showers. It is tough yet lightweight, quick drying and carefully constructed for efficient and comfortable load-carrying.
Leather TPOTY Oyster card holders. These beautiful leather Oyster card holders, embossed with the Travel Photographer of the Year logo, have been specially made in gorgeous colours by Plastic Sandwich. We have six to be won – what’s your favourite colour?
March 30 2018 – The 2018 Travel Photographer of the Year awards are now open for entry. Amateur and professional photographers from across the globe and of all ages have until October 1st to submit their images.
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the competition this year’s awards include a brand-new, eight-image portfolio category. There are some fantastic prizes to be won, including cash bursaries, the latest professional cameras and lenses from Fujifilm, Norwegian voyages with Hurtigruten, jackets 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.
This year’s portfolio categories are ‘Travel’ (eight images), ‘Faces, People, Cultures’ (four images) and ‘Natural World’ (four images), and there are three single image One Shot categories, ‘Beauty of Light’, ‘Hot, Cold’ and ‘Tranquility’. The theme for the Young Travel Photographer of the Year award is ‘My Adventures’, while the New Talent theme is ‘Festivals & Events’. Finally, for pictures taken on a smartphone or tablet, there is ‘itravelled’.
The overall winner of the awards – the Travel Photographer of the Year 2018 – will be the photographer judged to have submitted the best eight images, either as an entry to the eight-image ‘Travel’ portfolio or as two portfolios in one or both of the four-image categories.
In addition to receiving the worldwide exposure that follows with this success, and seeing their images exhibited at TPOTY exhibitions in the UK and overseas, the Travel Photographer of the Year 2018 will receive £4,000, a personalized leather portfolio case or iFolio case from Plastic Sandwich, £750 worth of Páramo outdoor clothing and membership of the Royal Photographic Society.
Travel Photographer of the Year entry fees start at £8 and entry for Young TPOTY is free of charge. The awards are now open for entry and close on October 1st. The shortlisted photographers will be announced in November and the winners in December.
Travel Photographer of the Year featured on BBC Newsnight
March 30, 2018 – On the eve of the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition opening at London Bridge City, opposite the iconic Tower of London, we were delighted that the BBC featured a selection of the exhibited images on their Newsnight programme. You can view the video – and other videos from Travel Photographer of the Year – on our Vimeo page.