Kingfisher, Linfeng Chen, China

Chen Linfeng Kingfisher

Credit: Linfeng Chen

This extraordinary image from China has been captured with absolute precise timing. Linfeng Chen has caught the image at the exact 
moment the kingfisher captured its meal. The burst of colour on the bird’s chest is a perfect contrast to the colourless bubbles that frame the body and wings. While images of kingfishers are relatively common, this one certainly stands out; its timing and technical proficiency makes it one of the best images of the bird we’ve seen.

Apartments, Adrian Brown, UK

Brown Adrian Apartments

Credit: Adrian Brown

It used to be that architectural photography was simply a straight reproduction of a building within its environment. These days, pictures of buildings can be colourful and vibrant images, bordering on fine art. This image is a strong case in point. Adrian’s photo makes great use of the building’s lines and colours to create a vibrant image.

Comfort Zone #2, Tadao Cern, Lithuania

Cerniauskas Tadas Comfort Zone 2

Credit: Tadao Cern

This single image is from a series called ‘Comfort Zone’ that shows people relaxing on the beach. None of the images is staged and none of the people knew they were being photographed. Every one of the people featured has their face obscured in some way. It was, according to Tadao, a stressful project but it paid off – this image took the Bronze Award.

Hajar and Ibrahim, David Brunetti, UK

Brunetti David Hajar and Ibrahim

Credit: David Brunetti

This documentary image is taken from a moving series of images called ‘Shattered Pieces of a Homeland’. ‘I met Hajar and Ibrahim in Zarqa, Jordan, while on assignment for UNFPA,’ says David. ‘The couple and three of their children left Homs almost three years ago but their oldest daughter and her young family are still in Damascus. When Hajar talks about her daughter her eyes tear up.’

Overlooking Iraq from Iran, Yanan Li, China

Li Yanan Overlooking Iraq from Iran

Credit: Yanan Li

‘I was in Khuzestan, Iran, in October 2014, when I came across a group of Iranian student girls who were on a visit to the border between Iran and Iraq,’ says Yanan Li of this surprisingly playful and upbeat photograph. ‘Some of them had climbed onto the tanks that had been left behind after the war and were taking photographs of each other.’

Splash, Howard Ashton-Jones, UK

Ashton Jones Howard Splash

Credit: Howard Ashton-Jones

‘This image is part of an ongoing study of the shapes created by liquid drops and their collisions,’ says Howard of this beautiful and technical image. ‘I experiment with the consistency of liquids, colour dyes and liquid temperature, along with coloured lighting and photograph using drop/sensor timing triggers.’

Tierwald #70, Frank Machalowski, Germany

Frank Machalowski (Germany) Tierwald #70

Credit: Frank Machalowski

‘I was photographing deer in a forest in Germany when I had the idea of simulating the image with a more exotic species, and this led to a series of images,’ says Frank of this Silver Award image. ‘The forest in this picture is the famous Teutoburger Wald and the rhino was photographed in Berlin Zoo.’

Helping Hands, Clive Downes ARPS, UK

Downes Clive Helping Hands

Credit: Clive Downs

Here we find a dramatic black & white shot of the Tough Mudder event. This gruelling obstacle course is a team-oriented event over 10-12 miles (18-20km) designed to test physical strength and mental grit. The mud and dirt mean the colour would be washed away, so Clive wisely converted to monochrome.

Nelson’s Head, Shoreditch, June 2014, Jan Klos, Poland

Jan Klos (Poland) Nelson’s Head, Shoreditch, June 2014

Credit: Jan Klos

‘This image is from a series of group portraits of the teams of staff at some of east London’s much-loved public houses,’ says Jan, who won the Gold Award with this shot. ‘Inspired by the traditional family portrait, I wanted to show the staff as just that: a family. Sadly, shortly after this group portrait was taken, the Nelson’s Head closed down.’

Smile, Luoliya Zhou, China

Zhou Luoliya Smile

Credit: Luoliya Zhou

Shooting from the same eye level as the child has brought us into their world. We can feel the rain on our face and the cold on our skin. The title of the image could be ironic (how could anyone smile in such harsh conditions?) but a closer inspection reveals that there could well be the beginnings of a gentle smile on the child’s face.

Your Move, Matty Smith, Australia

Smith Matty YourMove

Credit: Matty Smith

‘I slowly and cautiously approached, maintaining strong eye contact and light fin movements to avoid stirring up the silt,’ says underwater photographer Matty Smith. ‘The crocodile remained motionless with just its yellow, periscope-like eye staring straight back at me – it felt like a stand-off.’

Queen of the Deep Blue Sea, Lise Ulrich, UK

Ulrich Lise Queen of the Deep Blue Sea

Credit: Lise Ulrich

‘As the world’s most dangerous predator, the polar bear is not often associated with great elegance,’ says Lise. ‘Underwater, however, this female bear, Noël, pirouettes gracefully to the surface after having caught a fish between her teeth with an almost serene look on her face. There is much beauty to this magnificent beast, but securing a future for Noël and her kin is in the hands of mankind.’

Heavy Cross, Tianli Lin, China

Lin Tianli Heavy Cross

Credit: Tianli Lin

This is an incredible image of one of China’s numerous ‘car graveyards’. Hundreds of thousands of cars are piled high. Here in the UK we scrap around 1.5 million cars, which stands in stark contrast to the 5.5 million cars that were scrapped in China in 2015. However, it’s estimated that around 16 million will be ready for the pile in 2020. It’s a frightening portrait of a world that is predisposed to waste that disposes of objects and vehicles at a staggering rate.

Look Away, Gillian Hyland, UK

Hyland Gillian Look Away

Credit: Gillian Hyland

Gillian Hyland is a photographer known for her intricately designed images, many of which have been used in several recognisable advertisements throughout the world. Her background is actually in fashion photography and here we see how she has combined that approach with a haunting Gregory Crewdson-like aesthetic. Everything from the outfits to the smoke and light have been perfectly realised.