In order to find the best images, one has to get out there and find them as they don't sit around in places we're familiar with. Studying new environments and learning their story is sometimes essential in making a good photo. Therefore, traveling is often the secret ingredient of many a photographer, as traveling opens up new vistas and perspectives.
This is one of the reasons why All About Photo Magazine has a separate award for the best Travel Photos of The Year, as it could be considered an independent niche of photography in its own right. And today, we're going to show you this year's nominees of the best travel photos as awarded by the aforementioned AAP magazine: from people to places, the photos reflect all of the breadths of human experience. So go on, check it out, and you be the judge!
Tundra People By Yulia Nevskaya, First-Place Winner
"In the far north of Russia, on the Taimyr Peninsula, indigenous people continue to live according to the traditional way of life: they wander from place to place with their herds of deer. In the photo, there is a Nenets family, Angelina Venga, together with her three children.
The indigenous people of the north spend all their years in the tundra from birth to ripe old age. Except for the time when children leave to study in boarding schools. It was surprising for me to learn that they are not hostages of the situation, they have a choice. Many families have apartments in settlements, but they do not want to live in them. Of their own free will, they choose to roam the endless expanses of the tundra all their lives. They don't need another life."
Untitled By Nicola Ducati
"They live in the dust of the high altitude deserts but seem to be queens. I met the red women for the first time in the high mountains of Afghanistan.
The Kyrgyz are a minority of 1200 people scattered throughout the vast territory of Pamir. They hosted us for the night, they offered us their bread, they warmed us with their fireplaces, they gave us a moment of their life without knowing how precious it was.
A testimony of a slow and inexorable farewell. Every winter, many of them are lost forever, the snow blanket leaves large gaps because it’s too cold or because of too much opium to bear it.
Nowadays, the West has abandoned the people of Afghanistan to their fate. The red of the traditional Kyrgyz clothes now becomes a deeper red, a prediction of many incoming dark days.
The gaze of this girl now takes on a very strong meaning, a testimony and a symbol of those who are asking us for help, for herself and for all Afghan women. The arrival of the Taliban is also imminent up here among the plateaus and the peaks of the small Afghan Pamir, someone tries to escape but in the mountains, winter is already imminent.
Her eyes look deeply into the whole West. People and ethnic groups as old as the earth are about to fall into the abyss. These pictures are just a little part of the 'My Red Pamir' series, a work I did in Afghanistan during the last months of freedom."
Sailor Of Red Chilies Sea By Sujon Adhikary
"A farmer is going home after laying out red chilies on plastic sheets evenly under the bright sunlight. During the harvesting season which lasts for two months, tons of chilis are laid out to dry creating a patchwork effect on open green fields in Panchagarh, a district in Northern Bangladesh."
Bamboo Basket Seller By Ly Hoang Long
"The most well-known item of Tat Vien village, Hung Yen province - the North of Vietnam, is the bamboo basket for fishing. It is a simple tool made of bamboo, rhombus, and is flexible so that the farmer can lay it under the stream to catch small fish.
This traditional craft has been handed over many generations in Tat Vien village for 200 years. All the members of Mr. Bac’s family are extremely skillful in completing any stage of weaving. After a couple of weeks of working, all the baskets would be loaded (as many as possible) onto his bicycle, then he starts moving around the region to sell them.
The bamboo basket is not only a manual labor tool but also a decorated item for the interior design of hotels, restaurants, and shops these days."
The Wodaabe Tribe, Proud Nomads For Now By France Leclerc
"The Wodaabes are nomadic cattle herders, and as such, they depend entirely upon their herds of cattle for their existence. Young boys cannot wait to help herd the cattle, which they typically can start doing at age seven. This young boy conveys his pride in reaching that stage by standing in front of the clan's beloved big-horned Zebu cattle."
Arctic Icescape By Dede Pickering
"Scoresby Sund in Northeast Greenland is a magical place in the Arctic. The challenge is capturing the fragile beauty of existence. The icebergs and their reflections spoke to me about impermanence. One minute they appeared out of the morning mist and the next moment they were gone. Erased by the wind as though they never existed. Like actors on stage, the curtain of mist was pulled back revealing something awe-inspiring and before you could fully capture it, the curtain closed again. Mother Nature never disappoints and challenges us to ask ourselves difficult questions. The reflection we see is the one within."
Protea 7. The Wait By Monica Testa
"This photo represents the waiting of a mother for her pregnant daughter in the middle of the night."
Young Tibetan Girl By Larry Snider
“I made 5 trips to Tibet over a period of time and was totally fascinated. Most of my trips were in the Qinghai province which is quite rural compared to the area near Lhasa. People told me that if I wanted to see what Tibet was like before China, you should go to Ladakh, so I went there many times but returned to the more remote areas of Tibet away from Lhasa.”
Daily Life In A Mundari Cattle Camp By Johan Gerrits
"The Mundari people, from South Sudan, are cattle herders as well as fierce warriors. They live in symbiosis with their cattle and nothing is more important for them than their cows. In the cattle camps, kids are doing most of the daily work. Kids collect the fresh cow dung and put it into piles which are then set on fire to protect them and the cows against mosquitoes. The Mundari also use the ash created by these fires to rub themselves and their cattle, creating protection against the mosquitoes."
Waiting For Christmas Mass By Matty Karp
"During the first days of January, thousands of Ethiopian Orthodox Christian pilgrims go to the city of Lalibela to visit the ''New Jerusalem''. This holy city is composed of 11 interconnected churches carved by hand that are connected through a series of labyrinths and tunnels. The first days of January mark the celebration of Genna, which is the Christmas version of the Ethiopian calendar. The site was built in the 12th century by King Lalibela."
Oyster Man On Dock After A Day Of Farming By Nicola Ducati
"Photo series from a shoot on Cape Cod capturing images of an Oyster Farmer."
Promise Of Storm By Ted & Nune
"The project, Feeling Winter, is about the waning human presence against a backdrop of extreme weather. Muted winter light and minimalistic scenes can be charged with trepidation, solace, and melancholy; how we view these landscapes often reflects our emotional state. This photograph was taken as we were approaching a storm during our 2019 winter road tour through Armenia. The sole cloud announcing the coming blizzard toys with our imagination."
Peru By Animesh Ray
"Gladys in her kitchen on the island of Amantini, Lake Titicaca. She speaks Quechua."
Lenin's Tomb By Paul B. Goode, Third-Place Winner
"I traveled to the Soviet Union 10 times from 1988-1992. I was there working with the Kirov and Bolshoi Ballets. When not in the theatres, I wandered the streets photographing strangers and the people I met. It was a dark but exciting time for that country. Bread lines were long. The store shelves were empty. The winds of change were in the air and there was for the first time the possibility of freedom. You could see both despair and hope in the faces of the people. Most importantly, their emotions were honest. It is that truth I sought to capture."
A Priest And Locals Sit Around By Robi Chakraborty
"This set of photographs were taken in Vrindavan and Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna. I focused on the devotees who descended on the famous Krishna temple to pay homage and prayers.
In this image, a priest stands amongst a group of Vaishnavs. Vaishnavs are a sect of Krishna followers in Hinduism."
Encountering Stillness By Kimmo Sahakangas
"My photography observes an evolving built environment… contextualizing the vast American landscape with a focus on transitional places and spaces. The absence of people enhances the portrayal of visual drama. Some of the more favored subject matter is roadside business establishments which epitomize the road trip experience. In my travels off the interstate, I would find such visual matter in the landscape… on a two-lane road allowing a slower pace without any particular destination in mind."
Infinite By Antoine Buttafoghi
"Greenland is a land of contrasts, a land of extremes where the harshness of the climate is perpetually combined with the sublime. Its landscapes touch us, challenge us, and fascinate us with their beauty and strength. Here, a stunning silence reigns supreme and exposes a certain, quiet vulnerability. In this intangible immensity where everything seems limitless, the greatness of which borders on the divine, nature performs a spectacular cycle, with ever-renewed energy.
Here, the power of these raw landscapes speaks to us, intimidates us, and reminds us of the extraordinary story of the world's creation."
Painted Desert By Barry Guthertz
"The unconventional sandstone landscapes found in Northern Arizona speak to the very core of my being. Within a 100 mile radius, there are literally dozens of otherworldly places to visit. Monument Valley, White Pocket, Painted Desert, Canyon De Chelly, The Wave, Antelope Canyon, and South Coyote Buttes to name a few.
Under the top layer of sandstone, you often find a multi-colored chaos of swirling reds, yellows, and oranges that create breathtaking land formations of domes, hoodoos, gullies, and slot canyons. When I’m in their midst, I feel a sense of wonder that calls on me to sit quietly and contemplate their mysterious beauty. Northern Arizona has become a place for inspiration as well as for introspection."
Carrelets De Fouras By Julien Coomans
"I traveled to Fouras on the west coast of France to photograph some unusual but picturesque fishing huts that are dotted along the coastline. Central to my vision was to take a series of long exposures in order to set a tranquil scene and emphasize the elegant wooden structures.
The first day was miserable - windy and a lot of rain - yet despite this, I was amazed by the beauty of the huts. Undeterred, I used my time to study the scene and find my compositions, ready to pounce when conditions were just right. The hardest part about finding the right compositions was avoiding stretches of land on the horizon as the bay curves quite dramatically. I had to find the perfect balance between the fishing hut, weather conditions, and the horizon line beyond. After finding my compositions, my next challenge was to watch out for the tide times. I had to shoot as the tide was going out not only to physically be able to take the shot but to be sure I was safe.
On the second day, the conditions improved and I had my window between outgoing and incoming tides. The wind had died down making the water much calmer which was better as I could keep the exposure down to a few minutes to try and improve my chance of avoiding any tripod wobble. After shooting my pre-scouted compositions and checking the LCD screen for sharpness, I packed up and went for a well-earned beer!"
Pontochoco Dori Store Display By Don Jacobson
"What struck me about my travels in Japan was how their culture paid so much attention to detail. The shrines, temples, and gardens were meticulously crafted with an aesthetic that was beautiful and harmonious. This aesthetic was evident in a display of goods for sale as illustrated in 'Pontochoco-dori Shop Display.'"
Untitled By Trevor Messersmith
"'Legends of the Desert' is a series of high-contrast black and white photographs taken in Las Vegas. Vegas is the most American of city concepts — it is a distillation of other places, repackaged for easier consumption. Performers impersonate other performers. Architecture approximates other architecture. Money ravages money. I have to admit I’m intoxicated by the experience — as easy as it is to see its seams, the spectacle of Las Vegas is still something to behold. The drama of the desert heat and the allure of glittering surfaces are as exciting as they are dangerous."
Never Quite Free By Debbie Smyth
"The fascinating city of Tokyo is home to around 14 million people and the overriding feeling that grabs me when I arrive is that I must join the evermoving crowds. The hurrying hordes, the neon signs and bright lights, the dense traffic, all make it feel impossible to pause for just one moment. It is this constant hustle and bustle that I have captured in my Life’s a Rush project."
Lapland Journey By Carole Glaube
"The Arctic Circle cuts across Lapland with a palette of frigid winter light where colors are subtle and make a statement. With seven months of winter, such an environment heightens the awareness of isolation, vulnerability, and trust. Yet, it provides an opportunity to inspire and strengthen our inner selves, to self-reflect and observe our passage in time, both in a literal sense and metaphorically. Our experiences reflect our personal odysseys as we move from a place we know to one that we are just discovering."
Lag Baomer By Jordi Cohen
"Ladies separated from men by a fence, celebrating Lag Baomer in the Orthodox Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem. Lag Baomer is a festival that is celebrated by all manner of Jewish communities around the world. The festival itself commemorates two historical events according to Jewish tradition: the passing of revered Second Century sage Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, who ordained that the anniversary of his death be a time of rejoicing at his life; and the end of a plague which killed some 24,000 students of another great rabbi, Akiva Ben Yosef (who lived around the same time as Bar Yochai)."
Winter In Woodend By Melissa Stewart
"Winter in Woodend is cold, -3 degrees on this day. I wake up early and set off not too far away as we can only travel five kilometers from home. Along a dirt road I have traveled before, through these encompassing white clouds, the landscape looks remarkably different. My imagination eludes me and I am misguided into believing this is the Wilderness. The heavy fog reduces the surrounding landscape, suffused by the early morning light, thinking I am remote and distant from any human connection."
Dead Goat Polo By Alain Schroeder, Second-Place Winner
"A game of Kok Boru in the village of Taldy-Bulak. A rider throws the goat into the tai kazan (goal). The men share a great respect for the sacrificed animal despite the roughness of the action. The origins of this legendary game lie somewhere between nomads hunting or defending their livestock against predatory wolves, to men and horses honing their fighting skills.
Kok Boru is the national sport of Kyrgyzstan. Dead Goat Polo, as some refer to it, looks more like cavalier rugby with a headless goat as a ball. Two teams of five fearless men on horseback try to score a point by heaving the 20-kilo body into the tai kazan (goal) at either end.
Only stallions are used in this game because they are naturally anti-social and eager to fight off rivals. The players train their horses to muscle out other horses in the pack while they themselves wrestle each other to snatch the goat and gallop toward the goal, slamming into the rubber tires of the meter-high mound."