The winners of the 2018 Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) awards have been announced, shining a light on the year’s best travel photography from over 140 countries. Italian photographer Stefano Pensotti was declared the overall winner for his stunning set of images from eight different countries, including Ethiopia, Georgia and Myanmar. His photos often show observational, intimate moments from daily life, from a man taking a nap in India to a scene of religious devotion in Senegal.
Dutch photographer Marinka Masséus won the ‘Faces, People, Cultures’ category with her striking, minimalist images of Tanzanian children with albinism. “Ultimately for me, it's about connecting with people,” she said of the project. “I remember that they, for a brief moment, let me into their lives.”
Digging the Future - Matjaz Krivic
Matjaz Krivic of Slovenia won the ‘Travel Portfolio’ category with his images, which mostly show daily life in Africa and the Middle East. In one, a teenage girl from the Ethiopian Arbore tribe stares into the camera with an ambivalent, shining gaze.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER - MERMAID - NATURE - KUMEJIMA, JAPAN
I was fortunate to have encountered a humpback whale with her calf on my first day snorkeling near Japan’s Kumejima Island. Most of the time, the calf stayed close to her mom. At one point, the calf began jumping and tapping its tail on the water near us—it was very friendly and curious. Finally, the mother, who was watching nearby, came to pick up the calf and swim away. I fell in love completely with the calf and its very energetic, large, and beautiful tail.
Photo and Caption by: REIKO TAKAHASHI
Other competition categories include ‘Young Travel Photographer of the Year’ and ‘Hot/Cold’. Prizes include cash bursaries, professional cameras and lenses, Arctic voyages and membership of the Royal Photographic Society. Winning images from this year’s awards will be exhibited in Spring 2019 both across London and internationally.
Travel Photographer of the Year was started in 2003 by professional photographer Chris Coe, and now receives over 20,000 entries from photographers in 22 countries. This essey only includes a selection of some of this year’s stunning competition highlights, which show the scope and creativity of travel photography today.
Timbuktu, Mali by Stefano Pensotti, Italy - Travel Photographer of the Year - Overall Winner
In the last light of day the inhabitants of Timbuktu wash their clothes and take a shower in the port of Kabara.
Ushguli, Svaneti, Georgia by Stefano Pensotti, Italy - Travel Photographer of the Year - Overall Winner
Hay cutting in the meadows above the tower houses of Murkmeli.
Salt pans of Lake Asale, Danakil Depression, Ethiopia by Stefano Pensotti, Italy Travel Photographer of the Year - Overall Winner
They loaded the salt from the Dankalia open-air salt mines at -50m. Their journey will lead them to Agula on the Ethiopian plateau at 2400m.
Bagan, Myanmar by Stefano Pensotti, Italy - Travel Photographer of the Year Overall Winner
Prayer time in one of little temples in the plain of Bagan - a young girl stops on her way to school.
Great Mosque of Touba, Touba, Senegal by Stefano Pensotti, Italy Travel Photographer of the Year - Overall Winner
A member of the Baye Fall in the Touba Mosque.
Budapest, Hungary by Stefano Pensotti, Italy - Travel Photographer of the Year Overall Winner
Széchenyi Baths, built in 1913, is the most popular the inhabitants of Budapest who come here to relax with friends.
Badami, Bagalkot, Karnataka, India by Stefano Pensotti, Italy - Travel Photographer of the Year - Overall Winner
A moment of relaxation in front of the entrance to a gym for wrestlers.
Walking through the fortified historic town of Harar Jugol, considered the fourth holiest city in Islam.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania by Marinka Masséus, Netherlands = Faces, People, Cultures - Winner
In Tanzania, when you have albinism, you are thought to be evil. There even is a price on the head of children with albinism since killing a person with albinism is considered to bring good luck.
Guatemala, Santa Lucía Utatlán by Tom Law, United Kingdom - Faces, People, Cultures - Runner-up
Mayan woman from Santa Lucía Utatlán, Guatemala. The designs from this region incorporate colorful geometric patterns and bird motifs.
Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo by Tariq Zaidi, United Kingdom - Faces, People, Cultures - Highly Commended
Elie, 45, struts his stuff in the streets of Brazzaville. He has been a Sapeur for 35 years and his elaborate outfits bring joy to himself and his community.
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman by Sue O'Connell, United Kingdom - Faces, People, Cultures - Commended
The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman, is an awe-inspiring building in every way, fully deserving its status as an icon of modern Islamic architecture.
Kibish, Ethiopia by Danny Yen Sin Wong, Malaysia - Faces, People, Cultures - Winner, Best Single Image
A boy stands among the copper bracelets worn by the Suri women.
Purros, Kunene Region, Namibia by Ben McRae, Australia - Faces, People, Cultures - Special Mention
In the vast wild expanses of Namibia, there is not much in the way of civilization, but where there is it will be in the form of a small shop where basic supplies and alcohol can be bought.
Venice, Italy by Robin Yong, Malaysia - Faces, People, Cultures - Special mention
Maleficent at the entrance of the fabled Green Door. Dark, mysterious and extremely beautiful, she beckons me to follow her with my camera...
Russia, Yamal Peninsula by Vladimir Alekseev, Russian Federation - Faces, People, Cultures Special Mention
The ‘chum’- the Nenets’ dwelling - is as mobile as they are. It consists of long sticks, and stitched reindeer skins stretched over it.
Tate Modern, Bankside, London, UK by Edmond Terakopian, United Kingdom - Faces, People, Cultures - Special Mention
A child runs around whilst bathed in rays of sunlight in the Turbine Hall.
Kyoto, Japan by Robi Yong, Malaysia - Faces, People, Cultures - Special Mention
The Geiko Tomitae, at the gates of her ancestral temple. We come here every time I come to Kyoto.
Nivelle, Wallonia, Belgium by Adriaan Devillé, Belgium - Faces, People, Cultures Special Mention
Gilles proudly dance with their specific masks to conquer the bad spirits and welcome Spring.
Omo Valley, Ethiopia, South Ethiopia, Arbore village by Matjaz Krivic, Slovenia - Travel Portfolio - Winner
Onno, a teenage girl from the Arbore tribe.
Bani, Burkina Faso by Matjaz Krivic, Slovenia - Travel Portfolio - Winner
Kids playing on the main minaret of the Grand Mosque in Bani during Eid al-Fitr.
Thula, Yemen by Matjaz Krivic, Slovenia - Travel Portfolio - Winner
In Yemen, although the government provides for compulsory, free education for children ages six through 15, a lot of children in remote, rural areas become shepherds at an early age and never learn to read and write.
Shugruf, Yemen by Matjaz Krivic, Slovenia - Travel Portfolio - Winner
Morning mist rises mystically from the valley towards the small Yemeni village of Shugruf in the Haraz mountains.
Varanasi, India by Matjaz Krivic, Slovenia - Travel Portfolio - Winner
In a local akhara (wrestling school), local boys are doing their training.
Amritsar, India by Matjaz Krivic, Slovenia - Travel Portfolio - Winner
A Sikh pilgrim performs his ritual washing in the lake with the most famous place of worship for the Sikhs in the background.
Diafarabe, Mali by Matjaz Krivic, Slovenia - Travel Portfolio - Winner
This boy’s only shoes were no longer wearable. With a sewing needle that I always carry with me and some dental floss, we patched them up.
Masai Mara, Kenya by Matjaz Krivic, Slovenia - Travel Portfolio - Winner
I walked through the savanna with the Masai, I took this photo when we were surrounded by ten lions stalking through the dry savanna grass.
Gannan, China by He Jian, China - Hot/Cold - Winner
The local people who walked on the pilgrimage road were pious and pure.
Embankment, London, UK by Philip Lee Harvey, United Kingdom - Hot/Cold - Runner-up
Snow seldom lays around in London, but when it does people make snowmen all over the city.
Yankee Harbour, Antarctica by Andrew James, United Kingdom - Hot/Cold - Runner-up
This photo of an elephant seal and Gentoo penguin was taking in near-impossible shooting conditions. By the time I had finished I was more or less buried in the snow and absolutely frozen as I can’t work a camera with gloves on so had removed them earlier.
Hinckley Reservation, Ohio, USA by Souvik Dutta, India - Hot/Cold - Highly Commended
What better way to swim your way to the summer than lying on the boat ramp of a frozen lake and taking a drone selfie (dronie)?