Photography

Travel Photographer of the Year: 2023′s winners, runners-up and honourable mentions revealed

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Capturing breathtaking moments from throughout the world, the entrants of this year’s Travel Photographer of the Year not only set an incredibly high standard for future competitions to come, but managed to share intimate yet worldly stills of time paused, sharing pieces of the globe through a profound and deep-seated lens.

“There is a subtle elegance about this year’s winners,” reflected judge Chris Coe on this year’s victors.

“This comes through in both of AndreJa Ravnak’s winning portfolios; one takes us into simple landscapes, with delicate colours and a textural beauty, the other into the hop fields, out of season and undressed, ready for the next planting”, he said..

“Neither are obvious subjects, neither photographed at an optimal time of year, and yet they are both engaging and rather beautiful.”

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Read below for this year’s winners, runners-up and honourable mentions.

OVERALL WINNER, TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2023

AndreJa Ravnak, Slovenia

Photo / AndreJa Ravnak, Slovenia
Photo / AndreJa Ravnak, Slovenia

Near Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

Early in the spring, the first rains allow wheat to grow in the rolling fields. Due to the cold nights, the landscape is often shrouded in beautiful mists on clear mornings during this period. This agricultural landscape is sparsely populated, with land being used to its fullest potential. Farms are on the top of individual hills.

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Photo / AndreJa Ravnak, Slovenia
Photo / AndreJa Ravnak, Slovenia

Near Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

In search of suitable land for cultivating fertile soil for agricultural purposes, humans have sometimes covered entire hilly landscapes with fields. Hills without natural vegetation are exposed to erosion, which creates unusual waves on the slopes. This agricultural landscape looks like a soft, undulating carpet, completely otherworldly, as if it had been created by AI. In addition to erosion, the problem with these intensively cultivated areas is also the increasing exhaustion of fertile soil.

WINNER, YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2023

Caden Shepard Choi, US (age 14)

Photo / Caden Shepard Choi, US (age
14)
Photo / Caden Shepard Choi, US (age
14)

Chinle, Arizona, United States

The sheep are herded back to their pen at the entrance of the canyon. They walk through a dust cloud formed by the steady kick of their hooves. The sheep are initially reluctant to enter the mouth of the canyon, but when returning home, they show no resistance. After a long day steering sheep, the two herding dogs now playfully trail behind.

JOINT RUNNER-UP, YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2023, AGE 15-18

Matthew Armett, UK (age 18)

Photo / Matthew Armett, UK (age 18)
Photo / Matthew Armett, UK (age 18)

Ramshaw Rocks, Peak District National Park, United Kingdom

Frustrating wind and rain nearly pushed us back to the car, but a glimpse of light on the horizon gave us hope for a moody sunset. We headed back towards the start of our walk and my dad suggested that I take a shot of him standing at the end of the path, whilst the light show began!

JOINT RUNNER-UP, YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2023, AGE 15-18

Arthur Cech, France (age 15)

Photo / Arthur Cech, France (age 15)
Photo / Arthur Cech, France (age 15)

Ifrane National Park, Morocco

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These wild monkeys climb freely on the majestic Atlas cedars in the Moroccan Middle Atlas and it’s just great to spend hours and hours watching them. I tried to capture the special atmosphere of the forest and the life of the monkeys: calm, peaceful, cosy, familiar.

RUNNER-UP, YOUNG TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR, 14 YEARS AND UNDER

Caden Shepard Choi, US (age 14)

Photo / Caden Shepard Choi, US (age
14)
Photo / Caden Shepard Choi, US (age
14)

Jeju Island, South Korea

The Haenyeo women prepare for their dive. Most of them look like my grandmother, with short permed hair, high cheekbones and fine lines around their eyes. They may be part of the last generation of traditional divers. All the women are busy attending to their equipment; some put on their flippers, some adjust their nets or secure their diving caps. As the women were getting ready for their daily dive, I was preparing myself for an adventure among them.

WINNER, LANDSCAPE AND ENVIRONMENT PORTFOLIO

Armand Sarlangue, France

Photo / Armand Sarlangue, France
Photo / Armand Sarlangue, France

Svinafellsjokull, Iceland

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This 360-degrees panorama was captured with a drone. It shows the whole path of glacial waters, from the Skaftafellsjokull glacier, to the glacial lake, to the glacial river, then to the ocean in the background.

RUNNER-UP, LANDSCAPE AND ENVIRONMENT PORTFOLIO

Tim Bird, UK-Finland

Photo / Tim Bird, UK-Finland
Photo / Tim Bird, UK-Finland

Obama Onsen, Nagasaki prefecture, Japan

The onsen — hot springs — in and around the town of Obama Onsen in Nagasaki prefecture in Japan are often wrapped in a steamy cloud. These landscaped gardens near the springs were magically obscured by sudden snow flurries.

HIGHLY COMMENDED, LANDSCAPE AND ENVIRONMENT PORTFOLIO

Armand Sarlangue, France

Photo / Armand Sarlangue, France
Photo / Armand Sarlangue, France

Fagradalsfjall volcano, Iceland

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Like a living galaxy of fire ready to explode from the inside … A secondary fissure turned into a lava fountain spreading 1200C hot lava over the lava fields, a few hundred metres from the main crater. It was captured with a drone during a mahor storm, with rain and strong wind making the capture process very complicated. This fissure lasted a few hours before disappearing. Later that day, the site was closed by authorities due to dangerous conditions because of the storm, and is why this image is unique.

COMMENDED, LANDSCAPE AND ENVIRONMENT PORTFOLIO

Kazuaki Koseki, Japan

Photo / Kazuaki Koseki, Japan
Photo / Kazuaki Koseki, Japan

Lake Shirakawa, Iide Town, Yamagata prefecture, Japan

For a period from the end of winter to early summer, Lake Shirakawa is filled with water from melting snow and a “submerged forest” appears. The water in the lake changes colour between light blue and light green, and mist, combined with the reflections, which look like a submerged forest, create a fantastic landscape.

In April, the season of sprouting had arrived in the submerged forest. In the soft light before sunrise, the submerged forest quietly welcomed the morning. I chose a bluish time before sunrise to erase the reality and emphasise the fantastic sight, and set the shutter speed to 30 seconds to flatten the water surface.

SPECIAL MENTION

Jaroslav Hora, Czech Republic (Czechia)

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Photo / Jaroslav Hora, Czech Republic
(Czechia)
Photo / Jaroslav Hora, Czech Republic
(Czechia)

Namib Desert, Namibia

The Namib Desert has already been photographed many times. On my last visit, I tried to find a combination of graceful curves and living and dead trees in this almost-lifeless place.

WINNER, NATURE, WILDLIFE AND CONSERVATION PORTFOLIO

Martin Broen, US

Photo / Martin Broen, US
Photo / Martin Broen, US

La Ventana, Baja California, Mexico

A split shot of a Mobula ray fever cruising below the divers’ boat as part of their annual migration in the waters of Baja California.

SPECIAL MENTION

Donna Feledichuk, Canada

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Photo / Donna Feledichuk, Canada
Photo / Donna Feledichuk, Canada

Lac La Biche, Alberta, Canada

I was sitting in the middle of a gravel road watching this owl hunt. It was perched on the end of the fence and I noticed a movement to the left. I fixed my camera on the owl and held down the shutter as a hawk dived right at the owl and the owl raised its wings in a defensive pose, but remained on the post as the hawk flew within inches.

SPECIAL MENTION

Sam Turley, UK

Photo / Sam Turley, UK
Photo / Sam Turley, UK

Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservancy, Hwedza, Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe

Makhavusi walks hundreds of miles a week in search of food and so does Marupia, to make sure that the elephant doesn’t stray into local communities. Makhavusi was rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and, too young to fend for himself and traumatised by his ordeal, was hand raised and bottle fed. During this process, Mak naturally became increasingly dependent on human interaction, and could not be released back into the wild.

After such a traumatic start to life at the hands of people, Mak’s temperament is unbelievable. He has formed incredible relationships with conservancy staff members, and none are stronger than the bond he has with Marupia. Hundreds of tourists now visit Mak each year and while Marupia educates visitors about how incredible and important elephants are, Mak shows them. A true ambassador for his species.

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WINNER, PEOPLE AND CULTURES PORTFOLIO

Athanasios Maloukos, Greece

Photo / Athanasios Maloukos, Greece
Photo / Athanasios Maloukos, Greece

Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia

The Buryatian shaman Vitalli performs a ritual to connect with the spirits on frozen Lake Baikal, with the sacred Ogoi (Dragon) cape in the background. Siberia is considered the heartland of Shamanism, with Lake Baikal its most sacred place.

HIGHLY COMMENDED, PEOPLE AND CULTURES PORTFOLIO

Cliff Fawcett, UK

Photo / Cliff Fawcett, UK
Photo / Cliff Fawcett, UK

Havana, Cuba

Just outside the crumbling city of Old Havana, buried amongst dilapidated buildings and apartments, lies a small, open-air boxing gym. It doesn’t look like much, yet the gym is renowned for creating champion after champion. Whilst the credit has to go to the coaches, perhaps when you have legendary figures like Che Guevara watching every swing and upper cut, you push that little bit harder!

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WINNER, BEST SINGLE IMAGE IN A PEOPLE AND CULTURES PORTFOLIO

Jack Lawson, UK

Photo / Jack Lawson, UK
Photo / Jack Lawson, UK

Lagos, Nigeria

Four members of The Special Eagles, Nigeria’s national amputee football team, stand looking out into the ocean at a day on the beach.

SPECIAL MENTION

Nicolo Brugnara, Italy

Photo / Nicolo Brugnara, Italy
Photo / Nicolo Brugnara, Italy

Near the Ijen volcano, Java, Indonesia

Before the arrival of multinationals, people lived a simple life connected with the cycle of nature. The rice fields bordering the volcano were the primary source of subsistence. Not more than 80 years ago, some “wise” entrepreneur realised there was the possibility of extracting an immense amount of money in that idyllic place.

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Thanks to the geological activity of the volcano, infinite sulphur could be removed and used to produce cosmetics on a large scale. Thus, since the 1940s, poor agricultural workers, attracted by a better wage, have become sulphur miners.

RUNNER-UP, MPB ONE SHOT: LEISURE AND ADVENTURE

F.Dilek Yurdakul, Turkey

Photo / F.Dilek Yurdakul, Turkey
Photo / F.Dilek Yurdakul, Turkey

Erbaa, Tokat, Turkey

Children from different families and ethnic identities play together in a ruined historic Turkish bath. There is no racism or discrimination for the children. It is instilled in their minds by adults as they grow up.

Erbaa Municipality has announced it will soon restore this historical building, which was damaged in the 1939 earthquake.

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