The Most Astonishing Photos That Won Awards In 2015

It’s been another year of awe-inspiring and goosebump-inducing photography

Take a look at the best of the best
National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2015The travel arm of the National Geographic Society received more than 17,000 entries, with one image making it to the top
spot: a spectacular photo of divers suspended in the water as they swim
near a humpback whale. It was shot by Anuar Patjane Floriuk, from
Mexico, near Roca Partida, an island off the west coast of Mexico.Titled “Whale Whisperer”, Floriuk told National Geographic: “The photo wasn’t
planned … I was taking photos near the head of the whale, and all of a
sudden she began to swim toward the rest of the diving team. The divers
gave the whale and her calf space, and I just clicked at the moment when
the flow and composition seemed right.”

Grand Prize – “Whale Whisperer” by Anuar Patjane Floriuk
Second Place – “Gravel Workmen” by Ahmed Al Toqi
“Three gravel workmen are looking through the window glass at their work place.” – Ahmed Al Toqi

Third Place – “Camel Ardah” by Ahmed Al Toqi

“Camel Ardah, as it is called in Oman, is one of the traditional styles of
camel racing between two camels controlled by expert men. The faster
camel is the loser, so they must be running at the same speed level in
the same track.” – Ahmed Al Toqi

Merit – “Kushti, Indian Wrestling” by Alain Schroeder

“Kushti is the traditional form of Indian wrestling. Wearing only a well-adjusted loincloth (langot), wrestlers (Pelwhans) enter a pit made of clay, often mixed with salt, lemon, and ghee
(clarified butter). At the end of a workout, wrestlers rest against the
walls of the arena covering their heads and bodies with earth to soak up
any perspiration and avoid catching cold. This relaxation ceremony is
completed with massages to soothe tired muscles and demonstrate mutual
respect.” – Alain Schroeder

Merit – “Romania, Land of Fairy Tales” by Eduard Gutescu

White frost over Pestera village in Romania.

Merit – “White Rhinos” by Stefane Berube

“The night before this photo, we tried all day to get a good picture of the
endangered white rhino … In the morning I woke up to all three rhinos
grazing in front of me.” – Stefane Berube

Merit – “Highlanders” by Bart?omiej Jurecki

“Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to sort the hay.” – Bart?omiej Jurecki

Merit – “Catching a Duck” by Sarah Wouters

“Two boys are trying to catch a duck at the stream of the waterfall.” – Sarah Wouters

Merit – “Sauna in the Sky” by Stefano Zardini

“A sauna at 2,800 metres high, in the heart of Dolomites, Monte Lagazuoi, Cortina, eastern Italian Alps.” – Stefano Zardini

Merit – “A Night at Deadvlei” by Beth McCarley

“The night before returning to Windhoek, we spent several hours at Deadveli
[in Namibia]. The moon was bright enough to illuminate the sand dunes in
the distance, but the skies were still dark enough to clearly see the
milky way and magellanic clouds. Deadveli means ‘dead marsh’. The
camelthorn trees are believed to be about 900 years old, but have not
decomposed because the environment is so dry.” – Beth McCarley

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015Now in its seventh year, the Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomy photo contest received a record number of entries: over 2,700 from 60 countries, across a range of categories.The overall winner was French photographer Luc Jamet with his picture of
the drama of the total solar eclipse of 20 March 2015, 100 metres above
the wintry valley of Sassendalen in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard.

Overall Winner – “Eclipse Totality over Sassendalen”, by Luc Jamet, France

“The total solar eclipse of 20 March 2015 seen from Svalbard – one of only
two habitable locations that were able to witness totality – just 16
seconds after it began. The image shows totality about 100 metres above
the large valley of Sassendalen situated on the only permanently
inhabited island of the Norwegian archipelago. Venus can also be seen in
the photograph, as a bright spot in the upper left of the image.” –
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Luc Jamet

Runner Up – “Sunderland Noctilucent Cloud Display” by Matt Robinson, UK

“Taken on 7 July 2014 from Seaburn Beach, Sunderland, in the north of England.
The photographer had seen nightly displays of noctilucent clouds for up
to seven days prior to taking this shot … Noctilucent clouds are the
highest clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere and form above 200,000 feet.
Thought to be formed of ice crystals, the clouds occasionally become
visible at twilight when the sun is below the horizon and illuminates
them. They are usually bluish or silver in colour, but sometimes appear
orangey-red or red when they are on the horizon, as seen in this
photograph.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Matt Robinson

Highly Commended – “River of Light” by Martin Campbell, UK

“Positioned 3,000 metres above sea level for a night of stargazing, the
photographer captured the Milky Way, boasting star clouds and nebulae,
expanding over towering peaks in the Hautes-Pyrénées.” – Astronomy
Photographer of the Year 2015 Martin Campbell

Aurorae category

Winner – “Silk Skies” by Jamen Percy, Australia

“Taken in Abisko National Park in Lapland. The photographer had all but given
up on seeing the aurora after spending many hours atop a mountain
waiting to catch a glimpse of them. As he stumbled down the hill he saw
the green reflection of the aurora in the snow and captured this
breathtaking shot of the piercing blue light show coursing through the
night sky.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Jamen Percy

Runner-Up – “April Aurora” by Kolbein Svensson, Norway

“A little after midnight, when the nights in central Norway begin to get
really bright, the photographer captured a phenomenal vision of greens
and purples dancing across the sky above him, contrasting with the
tangerine glow of the sunset towards the bottom of the image.” –
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Kolbein Svensson

Highly Commended – “Sumo Waggle Adventure” by Arild Heitmann, Norway

“The vivid green aurora swirls across the night sky, countering the stillness
of the Lomaas River and the snowy trees aligned on its banks. The
photographer went the extra mile to achieve the beautiful shot,
immersing himself in the river for over two hours in waters of a
temperature of -15 degrees [celsius]. Upon exiting the river his wet
waders froze almost immediately causing him to ‘waggle’ over to his car
like a sumo wrestler and inspiring the name for this photograph.” –
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Arild Heitmann

Galaxies category

Winner – “M33 Core” by Michael Van Doorn, Netherlands

“Lying approximately 3 million light years away, M33 – often named the
Triangulum Galaxy after the constellation it can be found in – is the
third-largest member of the Local Group of galaxies behind the Andromeda
Galaxy and our very own galaxy, the Milky Way. It is one of the most
distant permanent objects in the night sky that can be seen with the
naked eye in optimum conditions.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year
2015 Michael Van Doorn

Our Sun category

Winner – “Huge Prominence Lift-Off” by Paolo Porcellana, Italy

“A massive, searing hot loop of plasma radiates from the edge of our local
star – the sun – in a phenomenon known as a solar prominence. Emanating
from the outer of the sun shell from which light is emitted, also known
as its photosphere; the photographer has captured this prominence
extending to the corona, which is the aura of the plasma surrounding it,
as it detaches from the gaseous body. During the process of detachment
the prominence reached a length of over 700,000 kilometres – a length
roughly equal to the radius of the sun itself.” – Astronomy Photographer
of the Year 2015 Paolo Porcellana

Runner-Up – “Totality Ends” by David Wrangborg, Sweden

“An arresting image of the total solar eclipse of 20 March 2015, taken just
after totality occurs and depicting the moments after the sun begun to
emerge from behind the moon following approximately two minutes of
coverage. Photographed from the Norwegian territory of Svalbard, which
was one of only two habitable locations to experience totality.” –
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 David Wrangborg

People and Space category

Winner – “Sunset Peak Star Trail”, by Chap Him Wong, Hong Kong

“Campers shelter from the wind next to old stone cottages looking up to Sunset
Peak, the third-highest mountain in Hong Kong, standing at 869 metres
tall. Above the mountain and at an even further distance from the
campers, the stars appear to flash across the night sky leaving trails
in their wake but are in fact portraying the movement of the Earth on
its axis.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Chap Him Wong

Highly Commended – “Interaction” by Tommy Eliassen, Norway

“An engrossed stargazer stands in the spotlight of a brilliant display of
the Aurora Borealis in Norway, seemingly about to be beamed up into
space.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Tommy Eliassen

Planets, Comets and Asteroids category

Winner – “The Arrow Missed the Heart” by Lefteris Velissaratos, Greece

“A coincidental alignment shows the Comet C/2014 E2 Jacques travelling just
below the famed Heart Nebula in the constellation of Cassiopeia.” –
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Lefteris Velissaratos

Stars and Nebulae category

Winner – “The Magnificent Omega Centauri” by Ignacio Diaz Bobillo, Argentina

“The globular cluster Omega Centauri is a dense orb of approximately 10
million stars, many of which are redder, cooler, and even older than our
sun. The cluster can be found 15,800 light years away from Earth and
has a diameter of 150 light years.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year
2015 Ignacio Diaz Bobillo

Joint Runner-Up – “Orion Mega Mosaic” by Tom O’Donoghue and Olly Penrice, Ireland

“A phenomenal view of the huge expanse of the Orion complex, made up of 34
panes comprising over 400 hours of exposure. The red emission nebula
Barnard’s Loop stretches – approximately 300 lightyears in length –
across the vastness captured here, arcing around the famed Orion and
Horsehead nebulae.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Tom O'donoghue And Olly Penrice

Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year category

Winner – “A Celestial Visitor”, by George Martin, UK, aged 15

“Comet C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy made the news in late 2014 and early 2015 as it soared
through the night sky and was visible to many with the naked eye, a
sight that won’t be seen for another 8,000 years but was captured by
15-year-old George Martin on 18 December 2014. Comet Lovejoy has become
known for its distinctive, bright green colouring, caused by excited
molecules of cyanogen and diatomic carbon in its nucleus.” – Astronomy
Photographer of the Year 2015 George Martin

Runner-Up – “Mega Moon” by Ethan Chappel, USA, aged 15

“A close-up view of our moon detailing the many craters on its surface. The
mosaic of 16 frames captures the craters of Copernicus, Kepler,
Aristarchus, and Grimaldi, which were created between 3.8 to 4.1 billion
years ago from continuous impacts from high-speed asteroids, in a
period that is known as the Late Heavy Bombardment. Also seen in the
image is the gloomy Ocean of Storms, a huge lunar mare or sea, made up
of solidified basalt from volcanic activity that took place after the
Late Heavy Bombardment.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 Ethan Chappel

Special Prize: The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer

Winner – “Orion DT” by David Tolliday, UK

“Lying 1,300 light years away from Earth, the Orion Nebula is found in Orion’s
Sword in the famous constellation named after the blade’s owner. The
Orion Nebula is one of the most photographed and studied objects in the
night sky, due to the intense activity within the stellar nursery that
sees thousands of new stars being created. The nebula is thought to
measure about 24 light years across and have a mass 2,000 times that of
our sun.” – Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015 David Tolliday

CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year 2015The CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year competition encourages amateur and professional photographers to
capture the essence of the urban environment through the brief of
“Cities at Work”. This year saw over 21,000 entries from 113 countries.Oscar Rialubin from the Philippines was named the 2015 winner for his image
“Xyclops”, which shows a watch repairman at work in Doha, Qatar.

Overall winner – “Xyclops” by Oscar Rialubin, taken in Doha, Qatar

“Although this looks like an image of an empty stare of a watch repairman, his
wrinkled face tells a thousand stories.” – Oscar Rialubin

Americas Regional Winner – “Winter Work” by Christopher Martin, taken in Alberta, Canada

“On a cold morning in January, airplanes required de-icing before being able
to takeoff. As I waited for my flight to warmer climes, I watched a
crane truck approach this plane. It stopped a few metres away, the
bucket then extended upwards with this gentleman waiting to go to work.
When he turned on the spray from the hose, the steam lit by the rising
sun made for a compelling image.” – Christopher J Martin

Asia-Pacific Regional Winner – “Poultry Prepared for Market” by Peter Graney, taken in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

“Poultry is prepared ready for sale at a nearby market in Phnom Penh. The
operation is well hidden from sight by a high wall but I was able to get
an image from above with some careful balancing. The lack of
refrigeration in the local houses means most meat is sold fresh. Lack of
cleanliness and hygiene standards make for a stark contrast to food
preparation in the West.” – Peter Graney

Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Winner – “Couple Policemen” by Armen Dolukhanyan, taken in Kharkov, Ukraine

“This young couple, both police officers, were having a deep discussion. The
girl seemed sad and there was lots of tears. I left them hoping they
were happy and sorted out their problems.” – Armen Dolukhanyan

Mobile Category

Winner – “Blizzard Days” by Cocu Liu, taken in Chicago, USA

“I took this photo near the Chicago Board of Trade building during the snowstorm in the past winter.” – Cocu Liu

A selection of “Hourly Winners”

“Managing Influence” by Pedro Guimarães Lins Machado, taken in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

“This picture was taken during a series of protests and is part a small
documentary called ‘To The Streets!’” – Pedro Guimarães Lins Machado

“General Compartment” by Sujan Sarkar, taken in Kolkata, India

“The passengers were sleeping in the Indian railways compartment late at night.” – Sujan Sarkar

“Waiting for Tourists” by Grzegorz Piaskowski, taken in Varanasi, India

“In the evening, tourists want to see the burning piles from the river. Early
morning boat owners offer to admire the sunrise. Their employees must
keep their family. Daily rowing is hard work, therefore after
departure, paddlers negotiate with the tourists to shorten the agreed
route. The spell of romantic trip is broken, but people have the
opportunity to touch the Indian reality. In India every inch of
opportunities to earn money is divided and inherited.” – Grzegorz

“Crossroads” by Joshua Charow, taken in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, USA

“There had always been a skyscraper looming over Manhattan which interested me
more than the others. The architecture intrigued me and it was a dream
to take pictures from the top. After dozens of calls and emails later, I
stood 40 floors above the ground on one of the patios looking over the
vast city. This was the vantage point where ‘Crossroads’ was taken.” –
Joshua Charow

“Morning Shift” by Jan Koš?ál, taken in Sitakunda, Chittagong, Bangladesh

“The photo was taken in the shipbreaking yards on the Bay of Bengal, near the
city of Chittagong. Labourers were taking barrels with gasoline from
old vessels, using the high tide for easy transportation. This
controversial industry is probably the biggest of its kind in the
world.” – Jan Koš?ál

“Sumo” by Lukasz Kazimierz Palka, taken in Tokyo, Japan

“Sumo wrestlers spar in the early morning at Nakano, Tokyo, while instructed
by their coach, a former sumo champion.” – Lukasz Kazimierz

“Construction on Call” by Geoff Williams, taken in Birmingham New Street Station, UK

“On 27 October 2014 I went to Birmingham New Street railway station to
photograph the ongoing refurbishment and construction work. The new
outer skin of the building on Stephenson Street was made of highly
reflective curved metal panels and these created distorted reflections
of the construction workers and the much older Midland Hotel on the
opposite side of the street. I noticed that while one of the builders
was working hard another stood nearby leaning on his shovel and using
his mobile phone and I thought this made for an interesting
composition.” – Geoff Williams

“Old School” by Goran Jovic, taken in New York, USA

“One of the last ‘analog men’ surrounded by modern technology in a digital world.” – Goran Jovic

“Cleaning the Western Wall” by Louis Capeloto, taken in Jerusalem, Israel

“A very rare sight of workers gathering the messages put by worshipers at the
Western Wall in Jerusalem. This was the first time in many years I had
seen these workers.” – Louis Capeloto

“Workers” by SHM Mushfiqul Alam, taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh

“Two workers are carrying jeans to the market. Local factories produce jeans for the Eid festival.” – SHM Mushfiqul Alam

“Dog Walker” by Johanna Siegmann, taken in Malibu, California, USA

“Leslie is a professional dog walker, who also offers boarding services. She
can walk up to 20 dogs at a time, although on this day she ‘only’ had
12. Here she is driving them to a dog park, where they will be allowed
to run around, unleashed. The hardest part of her job, from what I
witnessed, was unraveling the giant macramé knot of leashes created when
the dogs weave in and out around each other.” – Johanna Siegmann

“In Between Work” by Ankit Narang, taken in New Delhi, India

“Some labourers were working right below my house. I climbed up on my terrace
and captured this moment instantly where the mother was taking a nap
with her daughter. After observing them for some time I got a strong
message yet again that life is not easy. Forced to work as a labourer
due to lack of education they don’t have houses to live in, nor do they
have access to the basic needs. They make construction sites their
temporary home, moving from one place to another. Things should not be
taken for granted.” – Ankit Narang

“Underground” by Mario Pereda Berga, taken in Shinjuku Station, Tokyo

“This image was part of a series taken in November of the past year in various
cities of Japan. I took this picture at Shinjuku station, Tokyo. This
station was used by an average of 3.64 million people per day in 2007,
making it, by far, the world’s busiest transport hub. I expected to find
employees with white gloves stuffing people on the train. However,
Japanese people are very respectful of each other, and when the wagon is
full, people often wait for the next train.” – Mario Pereda Berga

“Wine” by David Martin Huamani Bedoya, taken in Lima, Perú

“I could see that inside the wine cellar a worker was reviewing and
pointing to a list of wines. I took this picture without preparing the
scene; the light was nice and the employee was very focused.” – David
Martin Huamani Bedoya

“Mannequins” by Katia Morichetti, taken in Brescia, Italy

“I walked down the street and there were no people, except them.” – Katia Morichetti

“Oriental Fast Food” by Marcos Sobral, taken in Beijing, China

“This gentleman was selling several kinds of insects and other animals such as
scorpions, larvae, and some pig and cow organs, cooked on a small
wooden stick.” – Marcos Sobral

World Sony Photography AwardsThe Sony World Photography Awards announced American photographer John Moore as the overall winner and
professional photographer of the year with his photo project “Ebola
Crisis Overwhelms Liberian Capital”.Moore’s hard-hitting series centred on the human tragedy of the Ebola epidemic in Monrovia, the
capital of Liberia, the epicentre of the deadly disease. Other winners
were awarded in 13 professional categories and also in open, youth, and
student awards.

Current Affairs Photographer of the Year – “Sister’s Grief” by John Moore

“A woman crawls towards the body of her sister as Ebola burial team members
take her away. In the summer of 2014 Monrovia, Liberia became the
epicenter of the West African Ebola epidemic, the worst in history.
Although previous rural outbreaks were more easily contained, once the
virus began spreading in Monrovia’s dense urban environment, the results
were described by Medecins Sans Frontieres as ‘catastrophic’.” – John

Current Affairs Photographer of the Year – “Blue Room” by John Moore

“Omu Fahnbulleh stands over her husband Ibrahim after he fell and died in a classroom used for Ebola patients.” – John Moore

Travel Photographer of the Year – “Aerial Views Adria” by Bernhard Lang

The colourful umbrellas create amazing geometric patterns which contrast
dramatically with the golden sand and azure-coloured sea. From the air
it is possible to see how almost every inch of sand is used on a busy
summer’s day on the Adriatic coastline. Bernhard Lang

Travel Photographer of the Year – “Aerial Views Adria” by Bernhard Lang

Campaign Photographer of the Year – “Shooting ball” by Sebastian Gil Miranda

This picture was taken as part of the social project Uniendo Caminos, in the
Chapel Our Lady of Lujan, in Villa La Carcova, Jose Leon Suarez, Buenos
Aires, Argentina. This is one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in
the country.

Campaign Photographer of the Year – “Ball religion” by Sebastian Gil Miranda

This picture was taken as part of the social project Uniendo Caminos, in the
Chapel Our Lady of Lujan, in Villa La Carcova, Jose Leon Suarez, Buenos
Aires, Argentina. This is one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in
the country.

People Photographer of the Year – “La Ville Noire – The Dark Heart of Europe” by Giovanni Troilo

Philippe passes most of his time in his beautiful house in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Charleroi.

Student Focus Photographer of the Year – “On the way to the edge” by Svetlana Blagodareva

People who live in the city edges spend much time on the way. In the morning
mist they struggle with the remainder of sleep, in the dawn they drowse,
only by force of habit trying to read something or chat. They observe
through the veil floating quarters of the city behind the window… Only
the subtle envelope of unconsciousness makes each of them feel
comfortable in between the skyscrapers, bridges and overpasses, so
inhospitable in the darkness.

Student Focus Photographer of the Year – “On the way to the edge” by Svetlana Blagodareva

Sport Photographer of the Year – “Las Valkyrias de Bolivia” by Riccardo Bononi

“When I was working in the San Pedro prison in La Paz I met a woman living
inside the jail and left only during the weekend for a fight. That made
me curious to follow this woman in her world of the Bolivian female
lucha libre.” – Riccardo Bonomi

Sport Photographer of the Year – “Las Valkyrias de Bolivia” by Riccardo Bononi

“Bolivia is proud of being the Latin American country with the highest the
number of actively working women. Bolivian women no longer are the
subject for the “weaker sex” prejudice, they are rather associated with
the outstanding physical stamina, the inclination to struggle, and great
brute strength. Then it must not be surprising that, in the poorest
neighbourhood of La Paz (4,000m), a bunch of female farmers from the
countryside get together every Sunday in the ring for a public fight.
Wearing the traditional cholitas (the term originally refers to the
“indigenous mixed-race” people) clothes and bowlers, Bolivian Valkyries
deal with even more demanding fights once they get out of the ring,
raising their children all by themselves and working between the fields
and the urban street markets.”

Architecture Photographer of the Year – “Intimate Room, Targsor Penitentiary, Romania, 2011” by Cosmin Bumbut

“Once Romania joined the European Union in 2007, the whole prison system went
through major revamp and the biggest reform was to introduce the right
to private visits. This means that a prisoner who is married or in a
relationship has the right to receive, every three months, a two-hour
private visit which takes place in a separate room inside the prison
compound. Plus, if a prisoner gets married in detention he or she can
spend 48 hours with the spouse in the special room and is allowed visits
once a month in the first year of marriage. I started photographing the
private rooms in 2008 and I have now photographed the private rooms
inside all Romanian penitentiaries (35 penitentiaries).” – Cosmin Bumbut

Architecture Photographer of the Year – “Intimate Room, Tulcea Penitentiary, Romania, 2013” by Cosmin Bumbut

“I was taking pictures at the Aiud prison when Romania joined the EU and
reformed the prison system – the biggest change was the right to private
visits. I had the idea of photographing ‘private rooms’ since then, but
I did not find the time to visit all Romanian prisons until 2014.” –
Cosmin Bumbut

Arts & Culture Photographer of the Year - “Tweeting Prom” by Aristide Economopoulos

A girl tweets during her prom. For many teenagers, social media has become an important outlet of who they are.

Arts & Culture Photographer of the Year – “Dance Floor” by Aristide Economopoulos

Students at Newark’s Arts High School keep the dance floor busy at the Richfield Regency in Verona.

Contemporary Issues Photographer of the Year – “Butterflies chapter 3 photo 4” by Scott Typaldos

“A documentary project on mental illness. In Ancient Greece, drifting souls
were often represented by butterfly symbols. This was a direct link to
Psyche, the soul goddess, who was similarly depicted with delicate
lepidoptera wings. When looking for a title for my work on the mental
condition, I wanted a word that elevated the individuals I had met above
the stale socially created traumas and stigmatizations, which had
ruined their lives. The word ‘Butterflies’ soon imposed itself as an
image of a delicate but radiant state of being.” – Scott Typaldos

Contemporary Issues Photographer of the Year – “Butterflies chapter 3 photo 6” by Scott Typaldos

Documentary project on mental illness.

Landscape Photographer of the Year – “Mt Kenya 1934” by Simon Norfolk

“Mapping with a pyrograph, the melting away of the Lewis Glacier on Mt. Kenya.
The flame line shows the Lewis Glacier’s location in 1963.” – Simon

Landscape Photographer of the Year – “Mt Kenya 1934” by Simon Norfolk

Lifestyle Photographer of the Year – “Ethnic Yi People Living in the Great Liangshan Mountains of China” by Li Fan

“Living in the Great Liangshan Mountains in southwest Sichuan province of
China, the ethnic Yi people experienced a great societal change from the
slave society to the socialist society after the founding of the
People’s Republic of China in 1949.” – Li Fan

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015The top spot for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition was taken by a photo of
two foxes showing the struggle for life in the subarctic climes of Cape
Churchill, Canada, beating more than 42,000 entries submitted from
across 96 countries.

Winner – “A tale of two foxes”, by Don Gutoski from Canada

“It’s a frozen moment revealing a surprising behaviour, witnessed in Wapusk
National Park, on Hudson Bay, Canada, in early winter. Red foxes don’t
actively hunt Arctic foxes, but where the ranges of two predators
overlap, there can be conflict. In this case, it led to a deadly attack.
Though the light was poor, the snow-covered tundra provided the
backdrop for the moment that the red fox paused with the smaller fox in
its mouth in a grim pose.” – Don Gutoski

Winner, Young Wildlife Photographer – “Ruffs on display” by Ondrej Pelánek from the Czech Republic

“On their traditional lek ground – an area of tundra on Norway’s Varanger Peninsula – territorial
male ruffs in full breeding plumage show off their ruffs to each other,
proclaiming ownership of their courtship areas.” – Wildlife
Photographer of the Year Ondrej Pelánek

Winner, 15-17 years old – “Flight of the scarlet ibis” by Jonathan Jagot from France

“Jonathan has been sailing round the world with his family for five years, and
for the past three years he has been taking wildlife photographs. It was
when they anchored off the island of Lençóis on the coast of northeast
Brazil that he saw his first scarlet ibis – the most beautiful birds he
had ever seen.”

Winner, Birds – “The company of three” by Amir Ben-Dov from Israel

“Red-footed falcons are social birds, migrating in large flocks from central and
eastern Europe to southern and southwestern Africa.”

Winner, Amphibians and Reptiles – “Still life” by Edwin Giesbers from The Netherlands

“A great crested newt hangs motionless near the surface of the stream. Also
motionless in the water, in Gelderland in the Netherlands, was Edwin in
a wetsuit. He had very slowly moved his compact camera right under the
newt, and though he knew the shot he wanted, he had to guess at the
framing and literally point and shoot.”

Winner, Underwater – “A whale of a mouthful” by Michael AW from Australia

“A Bryde’s whale rips through a swirling ball of sardines, gulping a huge
mouthful in a single pass. As it expels hundreds of litres of seawater
from its mouth, the fish are retained by plates of baleen hanging down
from its palate; they are then pushed into its stomach to be digested
alive. This sardine baitball was itself a huge section of a much larger
shoal below that common dolphins had corralled by blowing a bubble-net
around the fish and forcing them up against the surface.”

Winner, From The Sky – “The art of algae” by Pere Soler from Spain

“The Bahía de Cádiz Natural Park on the coast of Andalucia, Spain, is a
mosaic of marshes, reedbeds, sand dunes and beaches, which attracts
great numbers of birds, and in spring it is an important migration
stopping-off point. Pere was there for the birds but also for a spring
phenomenon, only fully visible from the air.”

Winner, Urban – “Shadow Walker” by Richard Peters from the UK

“A snatched glimpse or a movement in the shadows is how most people see an
urban fox, and few know when and where it goes on its nightly rounds. It
was that sense of living in the shadows that Richard wanted to convey.
He had been photographing nocturnal wildlife in his back garden in
Surrey, England, for several months before he had the idea for the
image, given to him by the fox when it walked through the beam of a
torch he had set up, casting its profile on the side of his shed.”

Winner, Impressions – “Life comes to art” by Juan Tapia from Spain

“Every year, a pair of barn swallows nests in the rafters of an old storehouse
on Juan’s farm in Almeria, southern Spain, entering the building through
a broken windowpane.”

World Press Photo 2015The 58th annual World Press Photo Contest was won by Danish photographer Mads Nissen, a staff photographer for the Danish daily newspaper Politiken, represented by Panos Pictures.Nissen’s picture shows Jon and Alex, a gay couple, during an intimate moment in
St Petersburg, Russia. The photo is part of a larger project by Nissen
called “Homophobia in Russia”, highlighting the increasing difficulties
that lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people face in
Russia, including legal and social discrimination, harassment, and even
violent hate-crime attacks.

First Prize, Contemporary Issues – Mads Nissen, taken in St. Petersburg, Russia

“Jon and Alex, a gay couple, during an intimate moment. Life for lesbian,
gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people is becoming increasingly
difficult in Russia. Sexual minorities face legal and social
discrimination, harassment, and even violent hate-crime attacks from
conservative religious and nationalistic groups.” – Mads Nissen

First Prize, Portraits – Raphaela Rosella, taken in New South Wales, Australia

“Laurinda waits in her purple dress for the bus that will take her to Sunday
School. She is among the many socially isolated young women in
disadvantaged communities in Australia facing entrenched poverty,
racism, trans-generational trauma, violence, addiction, and a range of
other barriers to health and well-being.” – Raphaela Rosella

Second Prize, Daily Life – Åsa Sjöström, taken in Baroncea, Moldova

“Igor hands out chocolates to a classmate to celebrate his ninth birthday.
When he and his twin brother Arthur were 2 years old, their mother
travelled to Moscow to work in the construction field and later died.
They have no father. They are among thousands of children growing up
without their parents in the Moldovan countryside. Young people have
fled the country, leaving a dwindling elderly population and young
children.” – Åsa Sjöström

Second Prize Daily Life, Stories – Sarker Protick, taken in Bangladesh

John wears his grandson’s bowler hat. “It was in the afternoon. I was sitting
on my grandpa’s couch. The door was slightly open, and I saw light
coming through, washed out between the white door and white walls. All
of a sudden it all started making sense. I could relate what I was
seeing with what I felt. John and Prova, my grandparents. Growing up, I
found much love and care from them. They were young and strong.“As time went by, it shaped everything in its own way. Bodies took different forms and relations went distant. Grandma’s hair turned gray,
the walls started peeling off and the objects were all that remained.
Everything was contained into one single room. They always love the fact
that I take pictures of them because then I spend more time with them,
and they don’t feel lonely anymore. After Prova passed away, I try to
visit more so John can talk. He tells me stories of their early life,
and how they met. There are so many stories. Here, life is silent,
suspended. Everything is on a wait; A wait for something that I don’t
completely understand.” – Sarker Protick

First Prize, General News – Sergei Ilnitsky, taken in Ukraine

“Damaged goods lie in a kitchen in downtown Donetsk. Ordinary workers, miners,
teachers, pensioners, children, and elderly women and men are in the
midst of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Artillery fire killed three
people and wounded 10 on 26 August 2014.” – Sergei Ilnitsky

Second Prize, Contemporary Issues – Ronghui Chen, taken in Yiwu, China

“Wei, a 19-year-old Chinese worker, wearing a face mask and a Santa hat, stands
next to Christmas decorations being dried in a factory as red powder
used for coloring hovers in the air. He wears six masks a day and the
hat protects his hair from the red dust, which covers workers from head
to toe like soot after several hours of work.” – Ronghui Chen

Second Prize, Long-Term Projects – Kacper Kowalski

“Kacper Kowalski is a pilot and a photographer. Side Effects is a documentary project about the complex relationship between humans
and nature. The photos were shot either from a paraglider or a
gyroplane, some 150 meters above the ground, mainly in the area around
Gdynia, in Poland. In this work, Kowalski explores answers to questions
that deeply interest him: What is the natural environment for humans? Is
it an untouched, virgin landscape? Or is it a landscape that has
changed, adapted to human needs?”

First Prize, Nature, Stories – Anand Varma

“When spores of the fungus land on an ant, they penetrate its exoskeleton and
enter its brain, compelling the host to leave its normal habitat on the
forest floor and scale a nearby tree. Filled to bursting with fungus,
the dying ant fastens itself to a leaf or another surface. Fungal stalks
burst from the ant’€™s husk and rain spores onto ants below to begin
the process again.” – Anand Varma

Second Prize, Contemporary Issues, Stories – Tomas Van Houtryve

“Students are seen in a schoolyard in El Dorado County, California. In 2006, a
drone strike on a religious school in the village of Chenegai reportedly
killed up to 69 Pakistani children.” – Tomas Van Houtryve

Second Prize Nature Category – Ami Vitale, taken in Lewa Downs, Northern Kenya

“A group of young Samburu warriors encounter a rhino for the first time in
their lives. Most people in Kenya never get the opportunity to see the
wildlife that exists literally in their own backyard.“Organized by sophisticated, heavily armed criminal networks and fueled by heavy demand from newly minted millionaires in emerging
markets, poaching is devastating the great animals of the African
plains. Much-needed attention has been focused on the plight of wildlife
and the conflict between poachers and increasingly militarized wildlife
rangers, but very little has been said about the indigenous communities
on the frontlines of the poaching wars and the work that is being done
to strengthen them. These communities hold the key to saving Africa’s
great animals.” – Ami Vitale

First Prize, Long-Term Projects – “Family Love 1993-2014 – The Julie Project” by
Darcy Padilla, taken in San Francisco, California

“I first met Julie on January 28, 1993. Julie, 18, stood in the lobby of
the Ambassador Hotel, barefoot, pants unzipped, and an 8-day-old infant
in her arms. She lived in San Francisco’s SRO district, a neighborhood
of soup kitchens and cheap rooms. Her room was piled with clothes,
overfull ashtrays and trash. She lived with Jack, father of her first
baby Rachel, and who had given her AIDS. Her first memory of her mother
is getting drunk with her at 6 and then being sexually abused by her
stepfather. She ran away at 14 and became a drug addict at 15. Living in
alleys, crack dens, and bunked with more dirty old men than she cared
to count. ‘Rachel,’ Julie said, ‘has given me a reason to live.’ For the
next 21 years I photographed Julie Baird and her family’s complex story
of poverty, AIDS, drugs, multiple homes, relationships, births, deaths,
loss and reunion.” – Darcy Padilla

First Prize, General News, Stories – Pete Muller, taken in Freetown, Sierra Leone

“Medical staff at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center work to escort a man in
the throes of Ebola-induced delirium back into the isolation ward from
which he escaped. In a state of confusion, he emerged from the isolation
ward and attempted to escape over the back wall of the complex before
collapsing in a convulsive state. A complete breakdown of mental
facilities is a common stage of advanced Ebola. The man pictured here
died shortly after this picture was taken.” – Pete Muller

Second Prize, General News – Massimo Sestini, taken off the coast of Libya

“Shipwrecked people are rescued aboard a boat 20 miles north of Libya by a frigate
of the Italian navy. After hundreds of men, women and children had
drowned in 2013 off the coast of Sicily and Malta, the Italian
government put its navy to work under a campaign called ‘Mare Nostrum’
rescuing refugees at sea. Only in 2014, 170,081 people were rescued and
taken to Italy.” – Massimo Sestini

Second Prize, Spot News, Stories – Jérôme Sessini, taken in Kiev, Ukraine

“A protester calls for medical aid for a comrade shot dead.“[Story]: After several months of violence, anti-government protesters remained mobilized by holding barricades in Kiev’s
Independence Square, known simply as the Maidan. On Saturday, 20
February, unidentified snipers opened fire on unarmed protesters as they
were advancing on Instituska Street. According to an official source,
70 protesters were shot dead. Ukrainian riot police claimed that several
police officers were wounded or shot dead by snipers as well. An
unofficial source said that snipers opened fire on the police and
protesters at the same time in order to provoke both camps. 20 February
was the bloodiest day of the Maidan protests, and two days after,
President Viktor Yanukovych left the country.” – Jérôme Sessini

Second Prize, General News, Stories – Glenna Gordon, taken in Abuja, Nigeria

“School uniforms belonging to three of the missing girls. [Story]: In her
school notebook, Hauwa Nkeki wrote a letter to her brother: “Dear
Brother Nkeki, Million of greetings goes to you thousand to your friend
zero to your enemies.” Hauwa is one of the nearly 300 girls who were
kidnapped by the Islamic militants Boko Haram on 14 April 2014 from
their school dormitory in Chibok, a remote village in northern Nigeria.
Boko Haram’s name translates roughly to “Western Education is Sinful.”
The group believes that girls shouldn’t be in school and boys should
only learn the Koran. Glenna Gordon, USA

First Prize, Spot News – Bulent Kilic, taken in Istanbul, Turkey

“A young girl is pictured after she was wounded during clashes between
riot-police and protestors after the funeral of Berkin Elvan, the
15-year-old boy who died from injuries suffered during last year’s
anti-government protests. Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at
protestors in the capital Ankara, while in Istanbul, crowds shouting
anti-government slogans lit a huge fire as they made their way to a
cemetery for the burial of Berkin Elvan.” – Bulent Kilic

First Prize, Nature – Yongzhi Chu, taken in Suzhou, Anhui Province, China

“A monkey being trained for circus cowers as its trainer approaches. With
more than 300 troupes, Suzhou is known as the home of the Chinese
circus.” – Yongzhi Chu


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