Travel Photographer of the Year 2019 – our favourite shots

From the glaciers of the Antarctic to a North Korean gym.

Following more than 20,000 entries from amateurs, professionals and semi-professionals from more than 140 countries, the Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) awards have finally crowned their victors for 2019.

Doctor of veterinary science Kate Gomez Catalina was named overall winner, while Indigo Larmour from Ireland became one of the youngest ever entrants to take the Young Travel Photographer of the Year title, at just 11 years old.

These are our picks for best in show…

Overall winner, Travel Photographer of the Year: The second ever female overall winner in the awards’ 17-year history, Katy Gomez Catalina’s portfolio featured this geometric shot from the United Arab Emirates. “I found it symbolic that the two women are under prominent male portraits,” she said.

Two women sitting beneath portraits of men

Two women sitting beneath portraits of men – Katy Gomez Catalina

Another symmetrical snap, Gomez Catalina lined up this picture at the Louvre on a rainy day.

The Louvre on a damp day

The Louvre on a damp day – Katy Gomez Catalina

Runner-up, Young Travel Photographer of the Year, 15-18: Russian teenager Alexey Nikitin used a drone to achieve this aerial image of the red roofs of Dubrovnik’s old city in Croatia.

Red roofs in Dubrovnik

Red roofs in Dubrovnik – Alexey Nikitin

Winner, Young Travel Photographer of the Year, 14 and under: Daniel Kurian first became interested in photography aged eight experimenting with the family iPad. He’s now 13, and triumphed with a series profiling fishermen in the South Indian state of Kerala.

Boats on an Indian beach

Boats on an Indian beach – Daniel Kurian

Winner, Art of Travel Portfolio: Paul Sansome took home the Art of Travel prize with a series of hypnotic compositions, including this unique shot of the Taj Mahal, obtained by merging different exposures taken over several minutes.

High exposure shot of the Taj Mahal

High exposure shot of the Taj Mahal – Paul Sansome

Runner-up, Art of Travel Portfolio: Ignacio Palacios took this bizarre, bulbous photo in Lapland, Finland. We’re honestly not sure what it’s capturing (trees, anyone?), but it’s atmospheric to say the least.

Frozen giants in Finland

Frozen giants in Finland – Ignacio Palacios

Highly commended, Art of Travel Portfolio: Ted Lau braved North Korea to score this snap of schoolchildren practising gymnastics in Pyongyang.

North Korean children doing gymnastics

North Korean children doing gymnastics – Ted Lau

Commended, Art of Travel Portfolio: This dynamic picture by Irish photographer Trevor Cole shows men of the Wodaabe tribe in Southwest Chad. “The Wodaabe dance like male peacocks,” said Cole, “and the male beauty ideal stresses tallness, white eyes and teeth.”

Tribesmen with painted faces

Tribesmen with painted faces – Trevor Cole

Winner, Best single image in an Art of Travel Portfolio: Snapped by UK photographer Geoff Shoults, serenity oozes from this photo of a lone hiker cresting a ridge in the Scottish highlands.

A lone hiker in the highlands

A lone hiker in the highlands – Geoff Shoults

Winner, Endangered Planet Portfolio: Alain Schroeder turned in this shot of a baby ape with a broken arm. The Belgian was photographing orangutan rescue and rehabilitation operations in Indonesia.

A chimp with a broken arm

A chimp with a broken arm – Alain Schroeder

Runner-up, Endangered Planet Portfolio: They say a picture tells a thousands words, and this offering by Frenchman Florian Ledoux shows a polar bear stretching to span two masses of melting ice. Insert metaphor here.

A polar bear between two burgs

A polar bear between two burgs – Florian Ledoux

All the way at the other pole, Ledoux caught these crabeater seals resting on an arrowhead-shaped berg amidst a scattering of jagged sea ice. “Crabeater seals depend on the ice to feed, rest and give birth,” he said.

Sleeping seals

Sleeping seals – Florian Ledoux

Highly Commended, Endangered Planet Portfolio: We can only hope Amit Eshel legged it after getting his shot, because this austere Patagonian puma looks in no mood for a close-up.

A stern mountain lion

A stern mountain lion – Amit Eshel

Commended, Endangered Planet Portfolio: Photographed by a remote-controlled, ground-level “Beetlecam”, this magnificent Kenyan elephant sadly – according to photographer Will Burrard-Lucas – passed away from starvation just a few weeks after this shot.

Elephants on the move

Elephants on the move – Will Burrard-Lucas

Winner, Thrills & Adventure Portfolio: Brian Clopp spent a week camping in the dust to photograph Utah’s mustang – wild horses that roam the American west and engage in vicious confrontations over mates.

Wild mustang fighting

Wild mustang fighting – Brian Clopp

Commended, Thrills & Adventure Portfolio: Photographers don’t often include themselves in their snaps, but in this vista-cum-self portrait from Senja Island, Norway, photographer Marco Grassi adds a superb sense of perspective.

A vertiginous photo op

A vertiginous photo op – Marco Grassi

Special Mention, Single Image in a Thrills & Adventure Portfolio: On another occasion, a meeting between these two apex predators might have ended in bloodshed, but wolf and bear stood in mutual respect just long enough for Russell Millner to get this shot, before going their separate ways.

A polar bear and a wolf

A polar bear and a wolf – Russell Millner

Joint-winner, Dusk to Dawn Single Image: Another triumph for Will Burrard-Lucas, this shot is a testament to the wonders of technology. Extremely risky for a human, Burrard-Lucas used a motion-sensitive camera to capture this rhino head (and horn) on.

A charging rhino

A charging rhino – Will Burrard-Lucas

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