There’s nothing like travel to awaken the photographer within. The novelty of new skies, new landscapes, new flora and fauna, and the strangeness of different cultures and lifestyles are potent creative aphrodisiacs, and there are few better excuses than a trip somewhere new to get the camera out and make some art in an effort to bottle your wonder.
A terrific box from which to draw a photography competition, then, and indeed the Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) awards entered their 19th year in 2020 … the worst year in decades for travel. Thus, of the 25,000-odd images submitted from shooters in 147 countries this year, many were taken close to home and others came from photographers who were caught in lockdown travel bans and forced to stay longer than they ever planned.
The winners have now been announced, and whatever the circumstances of their creation, the resulting crop of images is spectacular. One of many roses you’d hope would bloom out of the, shall we say, fertilizer pile of the last 12 months.
This year’s overall winner: Vladimir Alekseev, who became the first Russian to take this title with a varied portfolio including wonderfully atmospheric images like the one below:
The TPOTY goes out of its way to support young photographers as well, and for our part we’re a little staggered that the kaleidoscopic multi-exposure image below came from a single RAW file shot by 11-year-old Miguel Sánchez García of Spain.
The best single image in a portfolio, as chosen by a panel of 15 highly decorated judges, was the work of Australian James Smart, who captured a “drill bit” tornado touching down in Colorado.
The moving image was not forgotten, either. This year’s winner of the Travel Shorts (video) category was the UK’s Jonathan Stokes, whose “Bro” video is a celebration of the majesty of mountains, set to a poem by T. H. Parry-Williams.
As often happens, the winning shots chosen by the judges aren’t all the ones we’d have chosen, so we’ve pulled all the category winners together into a gallery and added dozens of runners-up and special mentions that sparked our imagination. We’ve added all the camera details and settings to the captions, and it’s certainly interesting to see the mix of equipment used, from full-frame professional gear to smartphones and drones.
Jump into the gallery and enjoy.
Source: Travel Photographer of the Year
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