This year’s list of winners in Travel Photographer of the Year reveals some stunning images and reminds us of the power of perseverance – it’s taken the overall winner 20 years to win the grand prize
The winners of the latest Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) competition have been announced, with the overall winner named as Matjaz Krivic from Slovenia. His winning images included 33-year-old Najin, one of the world’s last two remaining Northern White rhinos, and her keeper, Zachary Mutai, in Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya. Matjaz’s images showing the effects of the long-running eruption of Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma in the Canary Islands are also a powerful reminder of the force of nature.
Almost 20,000 images were submitted from amateur and professional photographers from 154 countries. The winning shots will be displayed in a free outdoor exhibition at the RPS HQ in Bristol for the whole of May. The win is particularly significant for Matjaz as he’s been entering Travel Photography of the Year since the competition started in 2003, when he received a Judges Favourite Award. He’s also won a number of individual category awards but never the overall title. The prizes include a Fujifilm X100V camera, a £1000 cash bursary, membership of the RPS and more.
‘Our latest winners form a fascinating collection of images,’ said TPOTY founder Chris Coe. ‘From the intensely powerful to the exquisitely subtle, sensitive and beautiful, they reach every corner of the world and cover every facet of travelling with a camera. Conservation and sustainability permeate the collection and illustrate the role which photography can play in creating awareness of the issues facing our planet.’
Meanwhile, 18-year-old Cal Cole from Manchester received the title of Young Travel Photographer of the Year 2022 for his distinctive images of his home city by night, while a former Young TPOTY winner – 18-year-old Isabelle Smith from the USA – won the Young TPOTY 15-18 years category with a portfolio of images showing soldiers at the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens, Greece.
The Art of Monochrome portfolio category was won by Israeli photographer Roie Galitz, for a portfolio shot in Svalbard which includes two strongly contrasting images of Polar bears – a rare glimpse of Polar bear courtship during a blizzard, the other showing an emaciated, starving Polar bear mother and her two cubs; the cubs died a few days after the image was taken. American photographer Dana Allen’s ‘beetle’s eye view’ looking up at an African elephant won Best Single Image award in this category.
Magdaléna Straková took first prize in the Cultures category. The Czech photographer’s black and white portfolio documenting horse fishermen in Oostduinkerke, Belgium, records a dying tradition – the use of horses while searching for shrimp at low tide.
Greek photographer Athanasios Maloukos won the Best Single Image award in this category for capturing a poignant moment during the La Desolata procession in an Italian village.
Another Czech photographer – Jaroslav Hora – won the Deserts to Rainforests category, which required entrants to showcase the beauty of natural landscapes. He shot the abstract curves of Namibia’s Namib desert while onboard a helicopter.
Staying with aerial shots, UK photographer John Seager won Best Single Image in this category, with a drone shot of ‘El Cono Arita’, a spectacular geological formation in Argentina’s Salar de Arizaro desert.
In the Green Planet, Blue Planet category, Ukrainian-born German photographer Alexej Sachov won through with a creative portfolio of images showing plastic pollution in the waters off Marsa Alam in Egypt.
Greek photographer Panos Laskarakis won the Best Single Image award for his powerful picture of a lion peering through the bloody rib cage of a buffalo.
Another image which really grabbed our attention was Italian Lorenz Berna’s long exposure image of a Buddhist monk in Thailand, apparently accompanied by shadow companions. This won the Creative Travel category.
Last but not least, the People’s Choice award, chosen by public vote, was given to French photographer Romain Miot. It shows a herd of camels at a well in the Sahara desert.
You can see the full list of winners here.
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