For Your Eyes Only: A Look At the Winning Entries of the Travel Photographer of the Year Awards 2021

For Your Eyes Only: A Look At the Winning Entries of the Travel Photographer of the Year Awards 2021
A scene between autumn and winter in Denali National Park, Photo Credit: Fortunato Gatto/

Photographers from all over the world push their creative senses to craft amazing visual stories

Saptak Choudhury
March 11 , 2022
04 Min Read

The Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY ) awards have been honouring excellence in the field of photography since its inception in 2003. In spite of the pandemic, The TPOTY awards 2021 saw nearly 20,000 entries from 151 countries. The winning photos are now up on their website ( From abstract photos of stunning natural beauty to stark depictions of social realities, these pictures seem to hold a mirror up to the various aspects of humanity and nature. Some other photos tell stories and depict paradoxes in fine bits of ‘storytelling’. Encouragingly enough, TPOTY also honours the future crop of budding photographers with a slew of different awards for those under 18—and if the best photos in these categories are any indication, the future of photography is bright indeed.

This colourful, red-and-blue ‘painting’ taken by Italian photographer Fortunato Gatto is actually a reflection of a cold, wintry sunrise captured on wet sand in Eig, Small Islands, Scotland


There’s a striking contrast that plays out in this scene under the Mansudae Grand Monument in Pyongyang, North Korea. A group of students learn history through the statues of the erstwhile leaders, as an old hunched woman goes the opposite way, having lived through it all

Using a slow-shutter speed, 13-yearold Indigo Larmour records the sheer excitement and buzz of a camel race in Al Dhaid, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Dani Salvà’s photo shows preparations for the Dance of Death in Catalonia, Spain — a dance that continues a long legacy of macabre dances from the Middle Ages, in which five skeletons dance to the beat of a drum

The vibrant-yet-mellow picture, shot by Jai Shet, an 18-year-old landscape photographer, displays the bright red-foliage of fall in Texas against a misty background

90-year-old Mr Trinh Ngoc still works as a shoemaker in Saigon, Vietnam. For decades, he has made shoes for the Cambodian royal family and many famous Vietnamese singers

Trevor Cole catches a young Mundari herdsman in Terekeka, South Sudan, in the act of immersing himself in the fresh urine from his Ankle Watusi cow—which is apparently thought to be an antiseptic and is used to dye hair red or bleached blonde

In this stark depiction of humanity’s abuse of nature, a man scavenges for ‘valuables’ such as bottles and cans amidst all the garbage thrown into the sea which surfaces during low tide in the harbour area of Belèm

Captured in Lombardy, Italy, Beniamino Pisati’s photo tells the story of a man who sleeps in an underground hut the size of a coffin (called ‘the bait’ in the local dialect) despite owning a comfortable stone house

Jose Fragozo’s picture of a hippopotamus in a drought-stricken mud pool in Kenya was taken at an incredibly precise moment—just as it blinked its eye after coming up to take a breath

Snow sticks to the mountains of southeast Alaska, forming unique features called spines. Pally Learmond’s picture shows a mountain face called Dirty Needle in Haines, Alaska, which also happens to be a playground for professional free-ride skiers

Normally, you would mistake this photo for a music album cover. But, you would be surprised to know that the Teton Mountains in the photo’s background appear invisible because of the forest wildfires that were raging when the photo was clicked in August 2021 by 17-year-old Tevin Kim

Black panthers have been a source of fascination for Will Burrard-Lucas since childhood. Lighting up this magnificent creature against the inky-black darkness in this photo, however, required a fair amount of creativity and tweaking of cameras

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