National Geographic Photo Contest winners 2018

Posted by Adrian Brown on 21 December 2018

The winners of the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest have been announced, and talented photographer and violinist Jassen Todorov has been awarded the grand prize for his image Unreal.

National Geographic’s Photo Contest is an annual competition that allows photographers from across the world to submit their captured moments for a grand prize and international recognition.

Within the three main categories – people, wildlife and places – each image captivates viewers and sends a wave of emotion through one’s mind. A separate category, the People’s Choice, admits a photograph the public votes for to receive an award.

Images were submitted in November and had to follow National Geographic’s strict guidelines and rules to ensure that all images were judged fairly. The judging was rigorous when it came to selecting images, and the panel sat through two rounds of evaluation before choosing the contest finalists.

Here is a detailed list of this year’s award winners: 

1. Grand Prize (category, places)  – Jassen Todorov 

‘Unreal’ – By Jason Todorov

Todorov’s photograph, called Unreal, captures thousands of Volkswagen and Audi cars in the middle of the Californian Mojave Desert. The models created between 2009 to 2015 were designed to surpass mandated emission tests by the US Environmental Protection Agency. When this information came to light, millions of cars were recalled.

The Bulgarian photographer told National Geographic that his submission is a reflection of the current impact of humans on the natural environment.

“I hope we will all become more conscious of and more caring toward our beautiful planet,” Todorov said.

2. Winner, first place (category, wildlife) – Pim Volkers 

Flying at the crossing- Pim Volkers, National Geographic.

Pim Volkers, a talented photographer was able to capture a moment that is often not seen by the eye as two powerful wildebeest cross Tanzania’s Mara River. The energy and motion in this shot is almost palpable as the animals are caught mid-air jumping over the river waters.

Volkers told National Geographic that he captured the image during the early hours of the morning.

“It was early morning when I saw the wildebeests crossing Tanzania’s Mara River. The layering of dust, shade, and sun over the chaos of wildebeests kicking up water gives this picture a sense of mystique and allure. It’s almost like an old painting—I’m still compelled to search the detail of the image to absorb the unreal scene,” he said.

This shot is titled Flying at the crossing.

3. Winner, first place (category, people) – Mia Collis 

Sunday best at Weekend Studio – Mia Collis, National Geographic.

Mia Collis’ portrait, Sunday best at Weekend studio, showcases the ‘dying’ art of film photography and humanity’s passion for seizing the moment through photos.

Collis explained the story behind the image to National Geographic.

“This photo of David Muyochokera was taken on his last day working as a photographer at Weekend Studio in Kibera, a large shantytown in Nairobi, Kenya. David had worked there for 37 years, but Weekend Studio was about to close permanently. David explained that with cameras now on phones, demand for his work had dwindled. I was troubled by the studio’s imminent closure, so I eventually took over the rent. A portrait of David now hangs at Weekend Studio in his memory,” she said.


Featured image: Jassen Torodov/ Facebook/ Unreal

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