The highly-anticipated winners of the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest have just been announced, featuring eleven incredible images from the more than 12,000 entries, from 6,615 photographers in 152 countries around the globe.The prizes on offer ranged from a Galapagos photography expedition to $200 gift certificates at B&H photography. See the winning eleven images below:
Cedric Houin won top place for his image entitled ‘Butterfly’. The photograph was taken in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan and features a woman and child sitting inside a yurt. The photograph depicts the intimacy of this everyday life moment, contrasted against the harsh environment these nomadic tribes live in. Another contrast is between tradition and modernity; on the right there is a television and a sound console. These tribes live weeks away from any village by foot, yet in spite of being located at an altitude of 4,300 metres, in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan, they are equipped with solar panels, satellite dishes and mobile phones – ancestral ways of living, with new-age influences.
Vo Anh Kiet
Vo Anh Kiet‘s image of H’Mong minority children playing with balloons in the Moc Chau – Ha Giang province of Viet Nam, was taken in January 2012. Alexandra Avakian, one of the judges of the competition, remarked, “This picture is like a dream, and it’s timeless not only because it’s black and white and there’s no sense of modernity, but also because it depicts an activity that children everywhere on the planet do with balloons. The fog and soft background make it feel like a memory.”
Andrea Guarner‘s image was taken during the Easter holy celebration called iMisterii in Trapani. Religious devotees carry the scenes of Christ’s passion on their shoulders all night long, only taking a break when the morning arrives. Avakian commented, “The light on the icon of Jesus is as critical to the success of this picture as the varied expressions on the men¿s faces after an exhausting night carrying statues depicting the Passion of Christ. Recognizing when and how to balance different kinds of light in the same photo is something that can make the difference between a muddy and uninteresting picture and one that¿s good, aesthetic, and full of content.”
Ken Thorne captured this image near the city of Morondava, on the west coast of Madagascar. It shows an ancient forest of Baobab trees that are unique to Madagascar; the endemic species being sacred to the Malagasy people. Some of the trees here are over a 1,000 years old.
SauKhiang Chau‘s photograph shows some old men in Chefchaouen with djellaba, sitting and talking each other.
Photographer Camila Massu commented on her image,”My sister in the south of Chile. We are sitting at home next to the fireplace in our southern lake house when it suddenly began to pour uncontrollably. Had to rush into the lake to take this snapshot!”
Photographer, Ken Bower, took this image in the village of G Sadalur. You can just make out the island of Mykines in the background. Until a tunnel was built in 2004, the 16 residents of the island had to hike over the steep 400 metre mountain. Bower said, “It was a rare sunny day in the Faroe Islands and I had to wait until the clouds rolled in to provide some softer light. I decided to go with a long exposure (1 minute 10 seconds) to illustrate the force of the wind and a serene sea among the isolated islands.”
Fred An, said of this image, “This is the great Japanese maple tree in the Portland Japanese Gardens. I tried to bring a different perspective of this frequently photographed tree.”
Peter DeMarco said of this image, “More than 2,000 Buddhist temples and pagados fill the plains of Bagan. Farmers now raise their livestock within the centuries old complex.The best way to see Bagan, apart from a ride on a hot air balloon, is by bicycle. It’s easy to get off the beaten path and live out your wildest Indiana Jones fantasy.”
Lucia Griggi took this image at Cloud Break at an outer reef in Fiji. The photograph shows a surfer duck dive his board to clear the rolling waves. Griggi was a Merit Winner for this stunning image.
Michelle Schantz‘s image of a lonely cabin is illuminated under the Northern Lights in Finmmark, Norway.