Travel Photography: The Independent Photographer Has Announced The Winners Of Its 2023 Contest (10 Pics)

Travel Photography: The Independent Photographer Has Announced The Winners Of Its 2023 Contest (10 Pics)

Discover the results of the Travel Photography awards, hosted by The Independent Photographer, that took place in July & August 2023:

This summer, we wanted to see images that communicate the life of a place in all its splendor and trigger our memories. Whatever the subject may have been: Street, Portrait, Landscape, Documentary: We wanted to share your journey, visually and intellectually!

Judge: Steve McCurry has been one of the most iconic voices in contemporary photography for over three decades and has created a unique collection of work featuring some of the most famous images of our time. McCurry’s work spans conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions, and contemporary culture alike – yet always retains the human element that made his celebrated image of the Afghan Girl so powerful.

With countless exhibitions around the world to his name, he has been recognized with some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the Robert Capa Gold Medal, National Press Photographers Award, and an unprecedented four first prize awards from the World Press Photo.

Congratulations to all Winners & Finalists!

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Stefano Lotumolo – 1st Prize – $1000

“Goli Dance” – Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast
Goli is a traditional African dance and masquerade of the Baoulé people of the Ivory Coast. Over 24 hours all Baoulé villages play music and the dancers wear four different types of masks, all of which refer to the social and generational structure of the society.

Emilio Fuliotti – 2nd Prize – $600

“Football pier” – Mabul island, Sabah, Malaysia
Boys of the Bajau Laut tribe, or ‘Sea Nomads’, are playing football on their village pier, on the island of Mabul, in Malaysia. Needless to say, the ball was more often in the water than on the pier…

Shyjith Onden Cheriyath – 3rd Prize – $400

“Tradition” – Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates
Every winter at Ras Al Khaimah, camel handlers take their camels into the sea for a wash and bathe. The saltwater helps rid the animals of parasites. Bathing camels in this way is an old Arab tradition, but it is becoming less common in the region due to the construction of new hotels and resorts along the coastline.

Didier Vanderperre – Finalist

“Sunrise at Cox’s Bazar” – Bangladesh
On a clear day the sun rises at Cox’s Bazar fish market.

Eduardo Ortiz – Finalist

“Ghats and souls” – Varanasi, India
Early morning scene capturing the reflection of pilgrims, seemingly walking on the horizon in Varanasi, India.

Henryk Welle – Finalist

“Everflow” – Southern Thailand
Aerial view of an exceptional sunrise in south Thailand

Ivo Danchev – Finalist

“Kukeri tradition” – Rila, Bulgaria
Every winter, masked dancers, dressed up in goat skins perform pagan rituals. The masks allow the dancer to become a supernatural being and to enter the spirit world where he chases away the evil spirits of the old year and brings blessings and health to the new year. it is an ages-old tradition which is still well preserved around Bulgaria. There are more than 10,000 Kukeri organized in small groups around Bulgaria.

Lonav Bharali – Finalist

“Well Rested” – Guwahati, India
A fisherman is taking a power nap in the quiet of the afternoon.

Lorenzo Perotti – Finalist

“Pray above the clouds” – Ladakh, India
Two little monks follow the puja, or morning prayer, in the monastery of Hemis, in Ladakh, India.

Parna Baharali – Finalist

Within the frame of existence, I find myself positioned at a juncture where the very essence of choice unfolds. The road diverges, each path a symphony of promises and tales, inviting me to step into their narratives of uncharted realms and boundless wonders. Here, in this crossroads of destiny, the interplay of paths and decisions weaves the tapestry of our voyage, a testament to the profound intermingling of direction and daring within the tapestry of life’s odyssey.


Travel photography has a rich history. For generations, photographers have embarked on journeys around the world, capturing their unique experiences, interactions, landscapes, and the people they met, through their lenses. This competition theme celebrates the longstanding tradition of using photography as a means to share the beauty and essence of places. The phrase “communicating the life of a place in all its splendor” encapsulates the competition, emphasizing the power of photography to capture the lifeblood of a place and evoke a sense of wanderlust.

It was an honor to have Steve McCurry overseeing the competition. He is not only one of the most iconic travel and documentary photographers globally, but also one of the most influential figures in the world of photography. His body of work perfectly encapsulates our competition theme, making him the ideal choice. When choosing judges, we prioritize individuals who have made substantial contributions to the field, and whose work resonates with the competition’s theme. In this case, Steve McCurry’s exceptional expertise and extensive experience in travel photography made him a natural fit.

There were no notable trends or recurring themes among the submissions we observed during the judging process. As ever, the competition attracted a diverse array of submissions, including images captured across the globe, as well as those captured during journeys closer to home.

We encourage participants to keep an eye on our competition calendar, which can be found on our homepage. Currently, our Street Photo Award is open for submissions and is overseen by the renowned Magnum photographer, Martin Parr. Next month, we will be hosting our Open Call competition, which welcomes submissions from all photography styles and genres. We believe the themes we have chosen offer the opportunity for photographers working across the photographic spectrum to showcase their talent. We invite all photography enthusiasts to stay updated on our upcoming competitions and look forward to seeing their submissions in the future.