After a year and 52 pictures, we are proud to present our Photo of the Year – the image that most captured the imagination of The Travel Word team and a group of external judges: the Dazzling Colours of Sunset, the Maldives.
We also asked the photographer or owner of each selected Photo of the Week to submit a short and revealing text about it – covering the subject of the photo, the general location, the experience of taking the picture, technical aspects of photography etc.
These text-image combinations have proven to be very popular. We believe that this has a lot to do with the special emphasis we have placed on the honesty of the image. All taken or sourced by our franchise partners, who are local travel experts in their destinations, they conveyed (we believe) something special. We weren’t looking for postcard images, even if we did end up focusing on a gorgeous sunset or backlit kid. We still always knew we were looking at a place through the eyes of someone who’s seen lots of kids and sunsets and knows their worth or when a scene comes along that really is exceptional.
Our methods were decidedly unscientific. For each month, The Travel Word team singled out one photo of the month. To this list of 12 we added four wild cards that had made a particular impression on us. This list of 16 we put to a group of five skilled photographers for their assessment.
Below is the resulting list of nine images, ranked in order, with comments from the judges:
+ First Runner Up: Mt Yasur Eruption, Tanna Island, Vanuatu
“I like the abstract quality of this image. Proper exposure could be
challenging and this is nicely done.”
“I’ve never seen a live volcano up close, and given that I live in Brooklyn in New York City, I count that as a good thing. This view of a sudden and unexpectedly powerful eruption is an instantly-accessible peek into a foreign world. I like the easy way it reminds me of everything we don’t expect to run into in the course of a regular day.”
“This basket of mushrooms picked in Latvia looks simply stunning. The photographer has found a whole world of textures and rich colours framed by the equally tactile grass and basket. The high contrast and dappled light creates a larger-than-life image that makes me crave mushroom soup.”
“Here’s a beautifully composed image that has a nearly artificial tone to it suggesting a leisurely adventure that’s always fantastic: mushroom picking. The photograph with its colors, the arrangement of the mushrooms in a basket, takes the viewer right back to fairy tales and stories of enchanted forests.”
“This photo of a girl carrying out what is for her a day-to-day chore offers for the casual viewer a brief window into her world in a photo filled with context and brought to life with action. In the background, the rural character of her village on stilts is clear and everything about her from her unwashed clothes to her slight Mona-Lisa smile gives you a wealth of detail in this brief snapshot of her day. Contrasting this detail the rice is a blurred fountain of movement and adds a bit of magic to the every-day.”
“I love fire as a photographic element; it’s stark and full of motion, and when you capture it right you can almost hear the sizzle and crackle. This shot made me think about how performance is a kind of shorthand, in some ways. While the picture was taken at a hotel during a cultural program, it still evokes dark nights on sandy beaches, on foreign shores.”
“Very nice shot of the playful interaction. Many people are too intimidated to photograph strangers, but the people we meet are such an essential part of the experience.”
We extend sincere thanks to our five judges for their time and effort. We value their professional opinions and their readiness to share them with us.
+ Ian DeLaune is a New York-based artist working primarily with issues of media and information dissemination, and drawing on a wide array of digital and analogue techniques. He received his MFA in 1998 from SVA and currently works and teaches at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
+ Linus Gelber is a photographer from New York City, where he shoots cityscapes and live performances (notably burlesque) and sees way too many movies, if such a thing is possible. His work is represented by Getty Images. Linus would like to go to Antarctica one day, and if you knew how he felt about New York winters you’d think that was weird too.
+ Richard Jephcote has taught traditional photography and Photoshop in colleges in North London and created several films through the artistic collective Tea Fuelled Art, which he co-founded with writer/composer George Lewkowicz and artist Katherine Harding. In addition to freelancing in photography/design and filmmaking, he has been pursuing an MA in Filmmaking (specialising in cinematography).
+ Born in Brazil, Rafael Pinho took up photography after finishing his architecture studies. He set out as a freelancer in 2005 in Belo Horizonte and spent the following years between Berlin, Reykjavík and São Paulo. His work has appeared in Modern Painters (US), Forum AID (Sweden), FFW Mag! (Brazil), Nýtt Líf (Iceland), Trip and Tpm (Brazil).
+ Although Jennie Zeiner received her undergraduate degree in Journalism, it is her images that have appeared in Reader’s Digest, Fast Company, Forbes, Money Magazine, Inc., BusinessWeek, Newsweek, ComputerWorld, Utne Reader and Village Voice. Her corporate/advertising work has been used by Bank of America, General Motors, FedEx, FCB, VISA, Mastercard, Larry King, Disney Latin America and Discovery Network.