While the prospect of travel was mostly out of reach for the majority of us in 2020, entries to the Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) have provided great inspiration for future dreams and voyages.
Almost 25,000 entries were submitted to the annual competition from photographers in 147 countries. For the first time, a Russian has claimed the top spot, with Vladimir Alekseev scooping the prestigious overall title Travel Photographer of the Year 2020.
The competition drew submissions from amateur, semi-professional and professional photographers from around the world.
Categories include wildlife, islands, solitude and a section that was particularly relevant this year titled Close to Home.
Alekseev, a photographer and journalist, submitted stunning images taken in Russia, Greenland, Norway and Myanmar.
One of those which impressed the judges was of an Arctic fox captured in a snow blizzard in Spitsbergen, while another depicted a total solar eclipse in Svalbard.
Describing how he captured the Arctic fox, Alekseev said: “Once on my expedition to Spitsbergen, there was a blizzard. Everything around was equally white. And suddenly I spotted this Arctic fox. He almost merged with the environment. Only his eyes and nose betrayed him.”
A black and white portfolio of the streets of Lahore in Pakistan won 12-year-old Indigo Larmour the Young Travel Photographer of the Year award – the second year in a row that she bagged the title.
The awe-inspiring selection of images submitted for the competition feature everything from majestic landscapes and intimate wildlife portraits to harrowing reportage of life under siege in Syria and windows into different cultures around the world.
Mouneb Taim, who won the People of the World category, started out taking pictures while living under siege in Syria as a child. Born in 2001, he now works as a freelancer in neighboring Turkey.
The pandemic “inevitably had an impact,” the competition said in a press release. While some entrants submitted images taken closer to home than they might otherwise have done due to lockdown limits, others captured the world around them in places they became unexpectedly stranded.
Italian Pier Luigi Dodi won the lockdown-inspired Close to Home category with an intimate portrait of a woman blowing bubbles for her young son.
The award for Best Single Image went to Belgian photographer Eddy Verloes for his photograph of Orthodox Jews taking their daily exercise on the beach during lockdown.
Chris Coe, founder of TPOTY, said in a statement: “Interestingly, when our worlds feel like they’ve shrunk, the list of nationalities winning TPOTY and its categories has grown, with our first overall winner from Russia and other winning entries from Syria, Egypt and the Philippines for the first time, taking the total number of nationalities who have featured amongst our winners over the years to 45.”
Covid restrictions permitting, the gallery will go on display in London on May 12. All of the winning shots, however, can be viewed at the TPOTY’s online winners’ gallery.