Incredible Winners of 2022 Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Incredible Winners of 2022 Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
One of Last Northern White Rhinos Resting in the Sun with Her Caretaker

Matjaz Krivic (Slovenia), Winner, Travel Photographer of the Year 2022.
Najin, 33, one of the last two Northern White rhinos left in the world, resting under a hot afternoon sun with her friend and caretaker Zachary Mutai in Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The northern white rhino is all but extinct. The two last males died several years ago. The two females are still with us, but too feeble to bear babies. In an Italian lab, their eggs are now artificially fertilized by sperm from the late males, and kept at minus 196 celsius, in hopes that surrogate rhinos from another subspecies can carry the northern white back from the brink.

Amateur and professional travel photographers from around the world submitted their best shots to the 2022 Travel Photographer of the Year contest. From these inspiring images, an expert panel of judges selected winners for their portfolio work as well as their best individual shots. In the end, Slovenian photographer Matjaz Krivic was awarded the top prize and the title of Travel Photographer of the Year.

Whether he was chasing a natural disaster in the Canary Islands or documenting endangered wildlife in Kenya, Krivic used his wealth of experience to put a creative spin on his imagery. For Krivic, the win was a full-circle moment, as he’s been participating in the contest since it began in 2003.

“Now, 20 years later, I received their highest award, which makes me very proud and means a lot to me,” he shares. “Travel and photography have been my passion and a big part of my life since I remember, and this award inspires me to continue with my journey.”

For TPOTY founder Chris Coe, seeing Krivic finally take home the big prize was particularly meaningful. And he’s also quite proud of the other winners this year for telling important stories of our planet and its inhabitants—both human and wildlife.

“Our latest winners form a fascinating collection of images,” Coe shares. “From the intensely powerful to the exquisitely subtle, sensitive, and beautiful, they reach every corner of the world and cover every facet of traveling with a camera. Conservation and sustainability permeate the collection and illustrate the role which photography can play in creating awareness of the issues facing our planet.”

All of the winning images, which were selected from over 20,000 that entered, can be viewed in the online winners’ gallery. And for the entire month of May, an outdoor exhibition at the Royal Photographic Society and the Martin Parr Foundation in Bristol, England, will host all the winning photos. The free exhibition, which is open seven days a week, is part of a larger event that will also host the winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year and Food Photographer of the Year.

Over 20,000 images from photographers living in 154 countries were submitted to the 2022 Travel Photographer of the Year contest.

Lava Flow from the Cumbre Vieja Volcano

Matjaz Krivic (Slovenia), Winner, Travel Photographer of the Year 2022
Footage of a ravaged mountainside with a single tree withstanding the lava flow. Eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on La Palma Island is the island’s longest-running volcano eruption. Huge rivers of lava and enormous amounts of continuously falling volcanic ash have transformed this Spanish holiday paradise. 7000 people have been evacuated; more than 1700 buildings were destroyed by the volcano. Strong earthquakes and permanent tremors were traumatizing the local population.

Black and White Photo of Starving Polar Bears in Norway

Roie Galitz (Israel), Winner, The Art of Monochrome (Portfolio)
Not everything is great in the polar bear realm. This starving polar bear mother and her two young cubs hadn’t eaten anything in a long time, since the ice melted sooner than before. Due to the extreme starvation, the mother’s milk dried out long ago, and two days after this photo was taken, we heard reports that both cubs died. This image is a testimony of climate change’s impact.

Portrait of Mongolian Wedding Customs

Li Yushan (China), Highly Commended, Cultures (Portfolio)
Mongolian wedding customs are rich in content, grand and warm atmosphere, highlighting the Mongolian rugged and swarthy, brisk and passionate, culture-oriented, etiquette, and other national characteristics, which are part of the intangible cultural heritage of China.

Adele Penguin Chicks Finding Refuge Under Iceberg in Antarctica

Scott Portelli (Australia), Special Mention, Best Single Image in a Green Planet, Blue Planet (Portfolio)
Adelie penguin chicks find refuge in an intricate tunnel system calved into nearby icebergs. Using these passageways to avoid predators, they group together for safety. Leopard seals patrol the surrounding waters, while skuas survey the vulnerable chicks from above.

Aerial Image of the Namib Desert

Jaroslav Hora (Czech Republic), Winner, Deserts to Rainforest (Portfolio)
Curves of the Namib desert. The photo series was created in Namibia in the Namib desert using a helicopter. During the flight, I tried to capture the unusual shapes created by the sun, light and shadow, along with the sand dunes.

A shadow self-portrait in Avignon, France.

Marina Spironetti (Italy), Winner, Smart Shot: iTravelled
A shadow self-portrait in Avignon, France.

Winners were recognized for their portfolios and for outstanding individual images.

Horse Fishermen in Belgium

Magdaléna Straková (Czech Republic), Winner, Cultures (Portfolio)
Only a handful of true horse fishermen are left in the world, keeping the rare Flemish tradition alive. They use large and calm Belgian draft horses, and in the low tide to look for shrimps together. Nowadays, they became a major tourist attraction, attracting large crowds each time they set out to fish.

An African elephant among the herd at the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe

Dana Allen (USA), Runner Up, The Art of Monochrome (Portfolio)
An African elephant among the herd at the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.

El Cono Arita in Argentina by Drone

John Seager (UK), Winner, Best Single Image in a Deserts to Rainforest (Portfolio)
‘El Cono Arita’ is a spectacular geological formation where erosion has shaped an almost perfect cone that seems to be lost in a vast desert of the Salar de Arizaro. Using a drone, I was able to capture the magnificent shadow of Arita on this beautiful, cloudless evening.

Jellyfish Underwater

Alexej Sachov (Germany), Winner, Green Planet, Blue Planet (Portfolio)
In this series, you will meet ‘new inhabitants’ of the underwater world, be they animals or eerie creatures. Dive in and enjoy! Imagine diving outside a bay, along the riff, enjoying the underwater world, and suddenly you see something moving — an exciting and new type of jellyfish! What a surprise, but nowadays, the population of these ‘beautiful’ jellyfish is rising, so you don’t need to worry at all; everyone will get a chance to see them in real life. Humans replace an endangered species with a more advanced one — the plastic-made species are now ruling the underwater world.

A large male lion peers through the remains of a buffalo killed the day before.

Panos Laskarakis (Greece), Winner, Best Single Image in a Green Planet, Blue Planet (Portfolio)
A large male lion peers through the remains of a buffalo killed the day before.

Creative Photo of Lavender and Barley Field in Provence, France

Veronika K Ko (Bulgaria), Highly Commended, Creative Travel
One of my favorite places in the world is Provence, France, because of its unique beauty and because it is the cradle of Impressionism. I like to watch how the mistral wind shakes the ripe barley and smell the scent of the lavender while my eyes sink into these enchanting colors— the colors of Vincent van Gogh, the colors of impressionism, the colors of Provence.

Baka Pygmie in Cameroon

Katy Gomez Catalina (Spain), Special Mention, Best Single Image in a Cultures Portfolio
A diminutive, graceful figure appears from the jungle, a faint accent of color in a vanishing world. For thousands of years, Baka pygmies have lived in harmony with magnificent jungles in southeast Cameroon, but within a generation, much of their unique lifestyle will be gone forever due to deforestation and industrial interests, the policies of sedentarization and preservation of protected areas that have forced them to abandon their traditional life.

The winning photos will go on display at an outdoor exhibition in Bristol, England during the month of May.

Mobius Loop Underwater

Alexej Sachov (Germany), Winner, Water
Mobius loop underwater. Most wave photographs are taken above water from a shore. This image was taken on a scuba dive during the storm. The picture does not fit ordinary underwater photography because it investigates the surface and not the deep of the sea. This is the view normally seen by underwater creatures who are curious about the world beyond their natural environment, just as humans are curious about the world under the surface.

Camel Owner Ordering Dromedaries in the Sahara Desert

Romain Miot (France), Winner, People’s Choice
I met this salt caravan after a four-day expedition into the middle of the Sahara desert. No roads lead to this place, so we navigated by compass.
Hundreds of dromedaries and their masters were present on this desert plain where nothing lives. Two wells had been dug to water the camels before they left for Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso to sell the salt. When I returned from the trip, I realized that this image of a camel owner ordering the dromedaries looked like a conductor with an orchestra.

Aerial View of Tuscan cypresses and a field

Angiolo Manetti (Italy), Winner, Mark of Mankind
A typical Tuscan landscape of cypresses and cultivated fields. I was struck by the contrast between the earth and the human figure at the center of it.

Shadows of Buddhist Monks Walking in Thailand

Lorenz Berna (Italy), Winner, Creative Travel
I took this image with the intention of conveying the theory of reincarnation in Buddhist philosophy, the shadows of the other monks who were walking out of shot representing past lifetimes of refinement towards final enlightenment. I used a slow exposure time to give a sense of impermanence and movement.

Travel Photographer of the Year: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by TPOTY.

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