The 2020 International Photography Awards has received more than 13,000 submissions from the best photographers from all around the globe and the judges have faced the incredibly challenging task of selecting the winners in each of the 13 categories.
The judges praised this year’s winners for their exceptional work across various genres and styles. Hossein Farmani, IPA’s founder and president, commented, “In these unprecedented times, this year’s entries reflect some of the biggest challenges facing our generation—not the least of which is dealing with a virus which, for the first time, is an event that has affected every person on earth in some way. We see photography at its best—whether covering the Covid pandemic, or the world’s uprising against injustice—the images captured are breathtaking. I can easily say these are the best images I have seen in the last decades.”
More info: photoawards.com
Phoenix (Professional Advertising & Beauty Category, 1st Place)
“Often it’s the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self.”—Karen Salmansohn, like the Phoenix bird, she is born again by arising from the ashes. Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.
Flying Over The Sea (Professional Special & Pets Category, 1st Place)
I love to represent the dog as a superhero in my action shots. This dog and its owner were practicing disc dog in the water. It's very difficult to do such amazing performances in these conditions since the water breaks every movement. It was sunrise and I love the colors. The position of the girl is really focused on her dog and the launch of the disc was perfect. It's a shot you can't repeat more than one or two times since after that the dog needs to rest. The dog remains the main subject and his position in the air is perfect and extended with the maximum tension of muscles.
Goddess Advent (Professional Special & Night Photography Category, 1st Place)
The magical aurora exploded over and over again in the most beautiful fishing village in Norway at clear and cloudless midnight. Watching this astonishing scenery in this quiet small town, my heart followed with visual impacts accompanied by aurora expositions, full of shock and moved. All the previous hard work was left behind at this moment.
Best Friends (Professional Nature & Animals/Pets Category, 1st Place)
Two of my dogs (Border Collies) that teach me every day how to be happy with easy things like running. To take this photo I made them run together starting at a different point so that the faster one could reach the slower one exactly on the log. It's one shot that required a lot of preparation to understand their behavior running side by side. It's amazing to see how they compete with each other and at the same time play like best friends ever.
Plastic Crisis: Men On The Front Lines (Professional Editorial/Press & Environmental Category, 1st Place)
The urban poor in Accra risk injury and drowning to swim in the Korle Lagoon to recover recyclable plastics that flow into the heavily polluted water from the city's waterways during rainfall events. They sell the plastic for pennies, which they depend on for sustenance. Scavengers and waste pickers are major stakeholders in the informal plastic recovery industry worldwide. Yet their role is not recognized and appreciated. They make significant economic and environmental contributions by helping to reduce waste, cost of cleanups, and supply secondary materials to industries.
Enchantment (Professional Special & Panorama/Panoramic Category, 1st Place)
What an incredible experience! Descending into this Ice Cave below Vantnajokull Glacier in Iceland was like entering a fairy tale. As the sun set for the day it lit up the ice walls, bringing the cave to life! Since capturing this photo the cave has now completely melted. How incredibly blessed I was to visit and capture it!
Hybrid Solar Eclipse And Maasai Warrior (Professional Nature & Astrophotography Category, 1st Place)
This photograph is my tribute to Geoffrey Lowa. He was a friend that I never met in person. He was planning to be my host, driver, and my photo model for a hybrid solar eclipse in Kenya on 3 November 2013. On 8 October 2013, he sent me his last message via Facebook: "Turkana should be blessed... it`s the cradle of mankind... and now we have a hybrid solar eclipse...". Sadly he was killed just one week before I arrived. His friend Peter Nakua who has tried to save his life is standing on a hill for 11 seconds of totality. The life of a human being is fragile and on an astronomical scale to shot.
Black Mountain (Professional Nature & Seasons Category, 1st Place)
On January 2019 Canberra had one of the most spectacular lightning storms ever. It passed the city from West to East over the black mountains and continued towards Brindabella mountains.
Colossal Shadows: Super Tuskers Of East Africa (Professional Nature & Wildlife Category, 1st Place)
There are only an estimated 24 super tusk elephants left on Earth. These giants appear pulled from the pages of a bygone era, nearly out of place in today’s day and age. That they still roam the Earth after all this time is nothing short of miraculous since the market for their ivory has pushed them to the brink of extinction. With tusks weighing 100 pounds each or grazing the ground, these elephants are one of the most incredible sights on Earth. Within the animal kingdom, they are also important keepers of knowledge necessary for the development of future generations of tuskers.
Mirror (Professional Special & Smartphone Photography Category, 1st Place)
I’ve had this vision for many years before it came into life. Then finally, while we were traveling across Thailand, I managed to convince my wife and my muse to perform this jump from the edge of a swimming pool. She said spontaneously: “OK, I’ll do it, but just once!“. I didn’t have my professional camera with me but was determined to go with the flow. Therefore I borrowed… an iPhone from a friend and realized my vision, captured in just one take, without any repetitions.
Divine Light (Professional Nature & Trees Category, 1st Place)
Taken in Hokkaido, Japan. The divine light was shining on the trees in the snowy field.
Insect Portraits (Professional Nature & Macro Category, 1st Place)
Macro photography allows you to see amazing portraits of these insects, damselflies, wasps, spiders, horse flies.
City Soleil: A Melody Of Hope (Professional Editorial/Press & Other Category, 1st Place)
The UN left and the police stations crumbled into ruin. The gangs declared war and the people..they die in the midst of their relentless shoot-outs. The sound of gunfire had become a cruel melody in their ears. Last three years, a small voice in my heart grew louder and wilder: 'Can we talk about hope here?' That is when I heard the gentle whisper, a quiet but sweet melody. It was a melody that resonated through the impenetrable darkness—sound of children calling out for another day, that there will be a better tomorrow. For me, it was indeed a melody of hope.
Odilo Lawiny - Handmade Soccer Balls (Professional People & Children Category, 1st Place)
Miles from the main roads in rural Uganda, soccer balls bounce unevenly. Playing fields are arid, lush, weedy, sandy—any flattish space will do. Some feet are bare, others shod in fraying sneakers, boots, or rubber sandals. Yet children kick and chase handmade, lopsided balls with skill and abandon, competing for pride and joy—for the sheer pleasure of playing. The balls are spun into being with whatever’s at hand: rag or sock, tire or bark, plastic bag, or banana leaves. Made entirely of recuperated materials, they give another life to something that would otherwise just be thrown away.
Time Of Departure (Professional Event/Wedding Category, 1st Place)
In the eyes of the Oriental people, the father is a solemn figure. It's only on the wedding day of the daughter, you can see his tender love for his kids.
Hands (Professional People & Newborn/Baby Category, 1st Place)
A father's hand giving support, a mother's hand guiding her baby, a sister's hand welcoming her newborn brother, and a baby's hand reaching for life.
Beacons (Professional Fine Art & Minimal/Minimalism Category, 1st Place)
Lake Baikal is the largest source of fresh water on the planet, accounting for 23% of all Earth's freshwater. It freezes in the winter creating a winter wonderland but also provides an important road system that connects communities. The small trees and branches are 'planted' in the ice by locals acting as Beacons that grant travelers safe passage across the lake. They are an important part of connecting communities from one side of the lake to the other.
Blue Insularis 7 (Professional Nature & Other Category, 1st Place)
The Blue Insularis is an endangered, venomous pit viper subspecies indigenous in Indonesia. This is a shot taken of two intertwined Blue Insularis, with one of them making a meal out of a frog.
Last Eagle Hunters (Professional Special, Travel & Wanderlust Category, 1st Place)
For centuries, Eagle Hunters have used golden eagles to hunt prey during the bleak winter months, an extraordinary example of a relationship between humans and semi-wild animals. There are an estimated 250 eagle hunters in Bayan-Ölgii, which is located in the Altai Mountains of western Mongolian. They maintained ancient practice of hunting with golden eagles on horseback, and they primarily hunt red foxes and corsac foxes. Present Kazakh eagle hunters are old and grow weaker due to the unforgiving winters, and thus the traditional berkutchi is becoming a dying breed.
Metallic Forest (Professional Architecture/Cityscapes Category, 1st Place)
Pro Democracy Demonstrations, Hong Kong: The Revolution Of Our Time (Professional Editorial/Press & General News Category, 1st Place)
On June 9th 2019, an estimated one million people took to the streets of Hong Kong to march in protest to the government’s proposed Extradition Bill, allowing citizens to be extradited to mainland China for prosecution. Since that day, Hong Kong has been plunged into a political crisis, with waves of demonstrations and violent clashes between Police and protestors with an alarming rise in the number of police brutality and misconduct allegations, as protests morphed into a wider call for democratic rights and freedom in the semi-autonomous city.
Irish Traveller Children (Professional People & Lifestyle Category, 1st Place)
Irish Traveller children and their families are historically nomadic and have long been marginalized. They have lived in Ireland for hundreds of years, number about 40,000 in the whole of Ireland, and are separately ethnically from Romani and Gypsies. A law was passed about 15 years ago that forbids them from continually moving. They attend school with the Settled Irish, but generally, drop out by the age of 12-14. They are predominantly Roman Catholic with most marrying around the age of 18. Travelers often have large families and live in roadside camps or halting sites.
City Of Musical Scores (Professional Fine Art & Collage Category, 1st Place)
In this project, I would like to compose musical scores with images while attempting to capture the time and movement of soccer playground audiences. The stand is a five-line staff and the people are musical notes. While people in the stand are resting, chatting, eating, or watching a soccer game, they are inadvertently composed into a city musical.
Inscapes (Professional People & Self-Portrait Category, 1st Place)
Placing individuals & objects where they don’t seem to belong, Astrid explores the relationship between humans & nature. She travels to distant landscapes to explore her connection to nature & the influence it has on her sense of identity. A character arises that wants to connect to her surroundings, but can feel out of place. She can be humble & anonymous, yet have an iconic appearance. It shows a struggle with a modern background & her place in the natural world. Her images can be seen as emotional translations where an urge to control is challenged by the desire for synergy.
The Dukha People, Victims Or Culprits (Professional Editorial/Press & Environmental Category, 1st Place)
Currently, only about forty Dukha families, engaged in reindeer husbandry, survive. Rising temperatures, due to climate change, and the conservation laws of the Mongolian government to preserve the Taiga from the ecological impact that the Dukha pose on their territory, threaten their traditional way of life. The worldwide struggle between the use of environmental resources and their sustainability is dramatically palpable in this remote place where the Dukha people lose the battle and fear for their survival.
In The Bubble (Professional Nature & Underwater Category, 1st Place)
Bubble coral shrimp in the bubbles. Also called Crustaceans, Carid Shrimps, Commensal Shrimps, Bubble Anemone Shrimp, Philippine Shrimp, Anemone Shrimp.
Shinjuku (Professional Fine Art & Abstract Category, 1st Place)
Shinjuku is a major commercial and administrative centre with lots of people. Shot looking down from the movie theatre area of Shinjuku. It was a very busy scene and I made it feel even busier by multiple exposing the image five times. Changing the camera angle between each frame as I went. What makes this image special to me was that in the first frame the sign on the left towards the bottom of the frame was lit, then it changed to dark tones. This gave a place where the eye could rest. I also like the abstract shape that can be found in the high tones that travel down the street.
Ampie Vedute (Professional Architecture & Historic Category, 1st Place)
These images are the first in the series Ampie Vedute, an ongoing project studying the expansive views and architecture of Canale Della Giudecca in Venice, Italy. The body of water offers sweeping views of the diverse architectural styles that span centuries, which in their design have sympathetically retained the aesthetics of this unique city. Inspired by the ethos upon which Venice was built and the muted colors introduced during the Renaissance period, Ampie Vedute explores a minimalistic view of a classic setting, unveiling the intricacies and tones found in the architecture.
Healing Landscape: A Damaged World In Transition (Professional Nature & Aerial/Drone Category, 1st Place)
Once home to an array of wildlife and plants, the San Francisco Bay Area salt ponds are now a world of blazing colors and patterns when viewed from above. Their dark past connected to the manufacture of napalm is part of the complicated story of a thriving land in transition—a healing landscape that unites many worlds as one.
The Maldives: Skydiver Photographer Perspective (Sports/Extreme Sports Category, 1st Place)
The Maldivian landscapes are incredible, and for the first time, we could manage to have a skydiving event in one of the most beautiful islands. For these photographs, Kooddoo Island is our background. The Maldivian blue and greenish water is well known, which makes unique photographs. The parachute and the skydivers are an integral part of these photographs. Also, it explains the reason why we were there. The island, water, resort, bungalows, and nature create the perfect scenario for one of the most iconic aerial/skydiving photoshoots in the Maldives until today.
Note: this post originally had 85 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.