Beauty is subjective. No one can decide what is beautiful or not. It's all in the eyes of the beholder. However, we're pretty sure that these photos will be beautiful and inspiring to most people.
The Sienna International Photo Awards are back on Bored Panda and they have announced their winners for 2021. From thousands upon thousands of submissions, they picked the best ones. The photos are not only pretty to look at, many of them grab you by the feels and do not let go. This year there's a Covid-19-themed section and let's just say it's pretty heart-wrenching.
Photo Of The Year: Hardship Of Life
"This little boy’s father Munzir lost his right leg when a bomb was dropped as he walked through a bazaar in Idlib, Syria. His son Mustafa was born without lower or upper limbs due to tetra-amelia, a congenital disorder caused by the medications his mother Zeynep had to take after being sickened by nerve gas released during the war in Syria. Mustafa will need special electronic prostheses in the future which, unfortunately, are not yet available in Turkey."
We got an interview with one of the members of the Organising Committee of The Siena International Photo Awards—Maria. She told us about the main goal of SIPA: "Our goal is to create a family of photography enthusiasts and lovers and to give them the possibility to live a unique experience in a unique city like Siena."
The Watching Eye, Animals In Their Environment
Green Light Forest, The Beauty Of Nature: 1st Classified
"A mountain path in the middle of a forest is illuminated by a multitude of 'sparkling' fireflies that give the landscape a fairy-tale atmosphere. Their bioluminescence is part of the mating ritual, at the end of which the eggs are laid. Unfortunately, pollution hinders the reproduction of fireflies, and it is increasingly difficult to see shows like this one."
Maria also told us more about what keeps them going and inspires them to keep organizing these competitions: "We are inspired by the passion of photographers participating every year from all over the world (participants from 160 countries.)"
This year The Siena International Photo Awards got over 48,000 submissions. Maria shared what was different about 2021: "Every year the contest is different and new, thanks to the strong images submitted and this year's Photo of the Year is an excellent example of it.
Savannah Storm, Animals In Their Environment
Life In A Tear, Covid-19: 3rd Classified
"A dangerous, rare disease associated with COVID-19 led Francisco, 13, to be admitted to the ICU of D. Estefânia Hospital in Lisbon with a pathology that had already caused deaths. The symptoms began to manifest intensely, and from the initial red spots on the hands to kidney and respiratory failure, illness progressed rapidly. Days after being intubated, he responded positively to the therapy."
"The winners are selected by an international jury of professional photographers and journalists. The jury is independent and we only see the final results. The winners, according to the result obtained, get a money prize, free hospitality in Siena, the Pangea Prize."We asked Maria what makes a good photo and a good photographer: "
A good photo is the most direct and powerful way to communicate a message to the world. A good photographer is capable of making good photos!"
This Is My Jungle! Journeys & Adventures: 1st Classified
"A wild elephant attacks a jeep full of people. We should respect nature and care more about it, but we should also avoid taking unnecessary and reckless risks."
The categories in the 2021 competition were: Journeys & adventures, fascinating faces and characters, the beauty of nature, animals in their environment, architecture & urban spaces, sports in action, story-telling, documentary & photojournalism, street photography, underwater life, and short documentary film. Every single one of them had their own winner as well as the overall winner of the whole contest, who was Mehmet Aslan.
Gardener Of The Forest, Animals In Their Environment
Food For Weeks, Animals In The Environment: 1st Classified
"A camera trap placed inside of a large muskox carcass was used to take this shot of a pack of 10 wolves, the members of which returned to feed for over a month. This location became the de facto rendezvous site for the pack in the months to come."
Birthday, Covid-19: 1st Classified
"The workers of the San Carlos de Celanova nursing home celebrate the birthday of Elena Pérez, 98, two weeks after she survived the coronavirus. Nine residents died at this nursing home and more than 40 tested positive for COVID-19."
Prairie Horsemen, Journeys & Adventures
Black Drag, Magicfascinating Faces & Characters: 2nd Classified
"Belinda Qaqamba Ka-Fassie, a drag artist and activist, poses at a shisanyama - a community space where women cook and sell meat - in Khayelitsha, a township near Cape Town. Belinda, the photographer, and other black, queer, gender non-conforming and transgender people collaborated in a project to reclaim public spaces in a community where they are subject to discrimination, harassment, and violence."
Captive, Documentary & Photojournalism: 1st Classified
"A giant panda used for breeding sits alone in a facility in Shaanxi, China. Captive breeding of endangered species can play an important role in repopulating wild habitats, but it can also be a convenient label to hide behind, much like “green,” “renewable," or “sustainable.” In this case, though there was no doubt that the staff cared deeply for their wards, the feeling nevertheless was that the pandas were economic assets. There were no plans to prepare any of the captive-born pandas for release - all animals were being habituated to humans and used as attractions for paying visitors. To me, this image represents the juxtaposition between the intentions we express and the reality on the ground: a wild animal kept in a cage in the name of conservation."
Boogli, Fascinating Faces And Characters
Desire For Knowledge, Journeys & Adventures: 3rd Classified
The Collaborators, Journeys & Adventures
Flying In The Rain, Animals In The Environment: 3rd Classified
"With a very complicated setup, I was able to trigger 2 sets of flashes during a single exposure of only 1/25 second. This photo is the result of three days shooting, trying to get a single picture with an intense atmosphere, of a Brown inca hummingbird (Coeligena wilsoni)."
Welcome To The Paradise – Pardis Xiii, Architecture & Urban Spaces: 3rd Classified
"In recent years, 1.5 million housing units have been built in Iran with the main goal of reversing migration to larger cities, where living standards are deteriorating due to traffic, pollution, and the high price of housing. These communities were erected in arid, almost desertic environments (as in Pardis, located 30 minutes northeast of Tehran), often with little regard for ecological conditions on the ground."
Doctor Peyo And Mister Hassen, Storyboard: 2nd Classified
Evening Stretch, Under 20: Honorable Mention
"I had to wait a while to capture an interesting pose of Ruthy, a well-known female striped hyena in Israel. The striped hyena is an endangered species as the global population is estimated to be less than 10,000 wild specimens."
Zor, Fascinating Faces & Characters: 1st Classified
"A young bride is preparing for her wedding on a street in the Roma ghetto of Stolipinovo. In Europe, Roma communities number more than 11 million people and Stolipinovo, with around 40,000 people, is the most populous ghetto."
Two Worlds, Journeys & Adventures
Lona / Biala, Architecture & Urban Spaces: 1st Classified
"The series BIALA has a geometrical guideline and its features were taken from urban architecture. The pictures don’t portray entire buildings, but just a chosen part of the facades, to accentuate the symmetry and modular geometry of the structures. By placing a selection of shapes and colors in the foreground, the artist is able to deprive the buildings of their utilitarian residential function."
Sandstorm, The Beauty Of Nature: 2nd Classified
"Three hyena, a jackal, and two elephants endure a sandstorm on a hot humid late afternoon, while the wind picks up before the heavens open. The hyenas cool off in the cool water and get rid of parasites. The dry season is over and the rainy season is on the way, promising relief for every animal in dry Chobe National Park."
Childhood, Street Photography: 1st Classified
"Even though all over the world teenagers' lives are completely absorbed by social media and the Internet, in Havana children still enjoy themselves by playing in the open air in their homes' courtyards."
Note: this post originally had 86 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.