Katy Gomez Catalina, an amateur photographer and doctor of veterinary science from Spain, has become the first-ever Spanish overall winner of the international Travel Photographer of the Year awards (TPOTY). The results of this global contest were announced at an awards’ evening at the Fujifilm House of Photography in Covent Garden, London.
More than 20,000 images were submitted in the 2019 awards by professional and amateur photographers in 144 countries. The winning images can be viewed on the 2019 Winners’ Gallery on www.tpoty.com and will go on display from 7 April to 12 May in Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross, a new location for TPOTY’s London exhibition. Set canal-side and just a short walk from King’s Cross station, the restored railway arches of Coal Drops Yard are home to London’s most eclectic mix of stores and dining options.
The winning images will also be exhibited in the magnificent South Transept of Chester Cathedral in June and a TPOTY exhibition will also feature at the Xposure International Photography Festival in Sharjah (17-20 September).
Katy Gomez Catalina’s eight black & white images are atmospheric and diverse, covering everything from the Batwa people of Uganda to the esplanade of the Louvre in Paris. While TPOTY has had a number of women category winners of the years, Katy is only the second-ever female overall winner in the awards’ 17-year history.
There was female success in the Young Travel Photographer of the Year category as well, with 11-year-old Indigo Larmour from Ireland becoming one of the youngest-ever entrants to take the Young Travel Photographer of the Year title with her beautifully-composed portfolio depicting hands at work in India showing with remarkable insight and timing for one so young. 13-year-old Daniel Kurian (India/Australia) won the 14 & Under Young TPOTY category with four images of fishermen in Kerala, while the 15-18 age group was won by 16-year-old Ankit Kumar from India with a lovely portfolio showing wildlife and landscapes in Borneo.
British photographer Paul Sansome won the Art of Travel portfolio category with eight elegant and colourful images, while another British photographer – Geoff Shoults – won the award for the Best Single Image in an Art of Travel portfolio with his serene image of a walker in the Scottish Highlands.
The Endangered Planet portfolio category was won by Belgian photographer Alain Schroeder – a former overall winner of the TPOTY awards – for his moving images of the rescue and rehabilitation of Indonesian orangutans. Australian photographer Jason Edwards won the award for the Best Single Image in an Endangered Planet portfolio for his poignant and heart-breaking image of the charred remains of an elephant that fell victim to poachers in Botswana.
Trevor Cole took top honours in the People & Cultures portfolio with a delicate portfolio depicting the Mundari people of South Sudan, while Debdatta Chakraborty (India) won the award for Best Single Image in a People & Cultures portfolio with his intimate photograph of the Chhath festival in Kolkata.
American photographer Brian Clopp spent a week living amongst a herd of wild horses in Utah, USA, camping out in a dusty desert to capture the portfolio which won the Thrills & Adventures portfolio category. Quanhou Lu won the award for Best Single Image in a Thrills & Adventures portfolio with a bird’s eye view of a spectacular bridge crossing in Xingjiang in the photographer’s native China.
Will Burrard-Lucas (UK) worked with the Kenya Wildlife Service to photograph black rhinos, and his powerful night-time image of one of these magnificent animals shared top honours in the Dusk to Dawn single image category with an atmospheric Cuban street scene shot by Sumit Dua (USA/UK). Ignacio Palacios (Australia/Spain) won the Oceans, Seas, Rivers, Lakes single image category with a beautiful aerial image of the sand dunes in Parque Nacional dos Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil, and Robin Yong (Malaysia) won the Street Life single image category with his eye-catching B&W image of an elderly woman and a muscular young man in Havana, Cuba.
Smart Shot, iTravelled is for single images taken on a mobile phone or tablet. American photographer Benjamin Shaul captured a clever shot of flamingos in Aruba to win the category.
This year TPOTY also threw some of the voting open to the general public, with the People’s Choice award, which was voted for online from 100 images shortlisted by the TPOTY judges. More than 11,000 votes were received, and the image with the highest score was Robin Yong’s shot of the elderly lady and her strong young male companion.
Finally, for the first time, TPOTY joined forces with former overall winner Timothy Allen to present a place on the Timothy Allen Photography Scholarship Award (TAPSA) to one TPOTY entrant. TAPSA recognises and rewards original documentary travel photography with a scholarship run in conjunction with Xposure Photography Festival and the Sharjah Government Media Bureau, Kiran Ridley (UK) won the TAPSA Travel Documentaries category with his ten images documenting democracy protestors in Hong Kong in the summer of 2019.
Across the various categories, photographers have won prizes including cash bursaries, Fujifilm X-T3 cameras with lenses, Swarovski Optik binoculars, a Northern Lights and Whales sailing ship expedition with Wildfoot Travel, a TravelLight Secret Venice Immersive Photo Workshop, a place on the Timothy Allen Photography Scholarship Award (TAPSA), high-end outdoor clothing from Páramo, personalised leather portfolio books or iFolios from Plastic Sandwich, Photo Iconic photo tuition, Genesis Imaging exhibition prints, ‘Remembering Wildlife’ books and membership of the Royal Photographic Society.
The awards were judged by an international panel of imaging experts which included Panamanian double Pulitzer Prize-winner Essdras M Suarez and Lawrence Jackson, a former official White House photographer under the Obama Administration.
Travel Photographer of the Year co-founder Chris Coe said: “Judging these awards, whilst arduous with so many excellent images to choose from, is always a joy and it is both exhilarating and stimulating to see the wealth of creativity evident from around the world. This year’s winning entries are outstanding in all categories, elegant and sometimes thought-provoking and gritty. The portfolio from the overall winner Katy Gomez Catalina is beautiful, sensitive and diverse. Only the second-ever female overall winner of Travel Photographer of the Year, Katy is an amateur photographer and a very, very worthy winner.”