National Geographic has announced the winners of their annual photography contest and has released the top 50 photos. The annual contest always showcases the best of the world’s photography, and this year they did not disappoint. The photographers’ passion and personal stories truly shine through their photos.
We take photos as a way to commemorate something special to us. It doesn’t have to have deep meaning; we could wish to remember something pretty, something strange but attention-grabbing, or a silly moment that made us laugh. Photography contests like the National Geographic contest show us the ability of photos to move us emotionally.
This year’s grand prize winner was Jassen Todorov of California. His stunning photograph of the Mojave Desert won him $5000, and rightfully so. The photo is a celebration of the three things he loves: music, flying, and photography. In a single-engine plane with classical music playing in the background, the violinist took to the skies to capture a boneyard of aircrafts and automobiles. In an interview with Bored Panda, he accurately describes the relationship between his passions: “music has a lot to do with structure and composition, colors, and patterns, moods, and characters. When I am looking at a photo, I am thinking about the same things.” With his photo, he hopes to inspire people to explore the world because there’s so much unseen beauty in it.
The other contest photos released are also quite stunning. The top 50 are all under the category of either wildlife, people, or places, and each has their own top three photos. Pim Volkers’ photo of wildebeests crossing the Mara River won first place in the wildlife category, and the photo seems like it was a painting. There were also photos chosen by the people for each category; David Odisho’s photo of Mount Tamalpais mesmerized viewers with the fog waves that seem like water.
Contests like the National Geographic photo competition are important because they encourage people to share their work. Torodov stated that winning the contest was a major validation for his artistic pursuits. While it would be amazing to win a large amount of money, it’s still an honor to be showcased in a large publication and have people appreciate your work.