A journey through places unknown is made up of a series of moments that leave a mark not just on your soul but also on this blue ball of contradictions we call our planet.
And sometimes these moments are frozen forever by the click of a camera, never to be replicated again but living on into perpetuity by all who see it.
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Be inspired by these photographers who have a unique way of capturing our world - the winners of the Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) competition.
It has been going strong since 2003, and for the 2019 awards they received over 20 000 submissions from professional and amateur photographers from 144 countries.
The categories include the main title, best youth winners, 'People and Cultures', 'Endangered Planet', best single photos, 'Dusk to Dawn' and smartphone photos.
These photos not only explore landscapes and destinations, but also the people, cultures and animals that help shape a traveller's story and memories.
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First Spanish overall winner
Amateur photographer and veterinarian Katy Gomez Catalina was awarded the main Travel Photographer of the Year award - the first winner from Spain.
"Katy Gomez Catalina’s eight black & white images are atmospheric and diverse, covering everything from the Batwa people of Uganda to the esplanade of the Louvre in Paris," says TPOTY in a statement.
"While TPOTY has had a number of women category winners of the years, Katy is only the second-ever female overall winner in the awards’ 17-year history."
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Across the various categories, photographers have won prizes including cash bursaries, Fujifilm X-T3 cameras with lenses, Swarovski Optik binoculars, a Northern Lights and Whales sailing ship expedition with Wildfoot Travel, a TravelLight Secret Venice Immersive Photo Workshop, a place on the Timothy Allen Photography Scholarship Award (TAPSA), high-end outdoor clothing from Páramo, personalised leather portfolio books or iFolios from Plastic Sandwich, Photo Iconic photo tuition, Genesis Imaging exhibition prints, Remembering Wildlife books and membership of the Royal Photographic Society.
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The winning photos will go on display from 7 April to 12 May in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross in London, UK. They will also be exhibited in the UK's South Transept of Chester Cathedral in June and a TPOTY exhibition will also feature at the Xposure International Photography Festival in Sharjah, UAE from 17 to 20 September.
Check out all the winners below:
Travel Photographer of the Year
Katy Gomez Catalina, Spain
"I do not take pictures for others, but for me, for the pure pleasure of photographing. But, if I can also evoke an emotion in those who view them, my satisfaction is multiplied."
(Photo: Katy Gomez Katalina/www.tpoty.com)
Young Travel Photographer of the Year
Indigo Larmour, Ireland
At age 11, Larmour is the youngest winner of this category and is currently travelling from India to the UK in a van with her family.
Young Travel Photographer of the Year (ages 15-18 years)
Ankit Kumar, India
This 16-year-old started raking in the wins since winning Young Travel Photographer of Year in 2016, and one of his inspirations is local nature superstar Beverly Joubert.
Young Travel Photographer of the Year (14 years and under)
Daniel Kurian, Australia
He started taking photos with an iPad at eight years old, and at 13 he loves street and travel photography, especially on his annual trips to India.
Art of Travel
Paul Sansome, UK
“One of the compelling facets of photography is the diverse range of genres that we are able to give our attention to... One common thread through these genres is that the timing of the shot is critical – a fleeting moment of light in the landscape, a moment of animal behaviour or the flash of emotion on a person’s face”.
Best Single Shot - Geoff Shoults, UK
Alain Schroeder, Belgium
A photojournalist, Schroeder has illustrated over thirty books dedicated to China, Iran, the Renaissance, Ancient Rome, the Gardens of Europe, Thailand, Tuscany, Crete, Vietnam, Budapest, Venice, the Abbeys of Europe and the Natural Sites of Europe.
Best Single Shot - Jason Edwards, Australia
People and Cultures
Trevor Cole, Ireland
"I seek the moment and the light in whatever context I find myself and endeavour to use my photographic acumen to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."
(Photo: Trevor Cole/www.tpoty.com)
Best Single Shot - Debdatta Chakraborty, India
Thrills and Adventures
Brian Clopp, US
Brian Clopp spent his birthday week in 2019 living amongst the Onaqui wild horses in harsh desert conditions, capturing these stunning images.
Best Single Photo - Quanhou Lu, China
TAPSA Travel Documentaries
Kiran Ridley, UK
Based in Paris, his work has featured in big publications like Time, The Washington Post, The New York Times and Forbes.
(Photo: Kiran Ridley/www.tpoty.com)
Dusk to Dawn
Will Burrard-Lucas, UK
To get his shots, Burrard-Lucas developed a camera buggy to get up-close shots of wild animals.
Sumit Dua, US/UK
"Photography helps me observe the world and find moments that I would otherwise miss."
(Photo: Sumit Dua/www.tpoty.com)
Oceans, Seas, Rivers, Lakes
Ignacio Palacios, Australia/Spain
This prolific photographer has won over 100 prizes and awards throughout his career.
(Photo: Ignacio Palacios/www.tpoty.com)
Street Life and People's Choice
Robin Yong, Malaysia
In just slightly more than two years, Robin’s travel photos have gathered more than 700 awards worldwide.
(Photo: Robin Yong/www.tpoty.com)
Benjamin Shaul, US
He has travelled to 52 countries - Benjamin believes the world is an awe-inspiring and mesmerizing place, and every person needs to do their part to take care of the cultural and natural world.
(Photo: Benjamin Shaul/www.tpoty.com)
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