“Big Sister” by Gabriella Cigliano. Grand Prize Winner, Photographer of the Year. Shot on iPhone X. “Last year I spent a month in Wasa, Tanzania, teaching a class of young, curious and amazing guys. Before heading back to Italy we stopped in Zanzibar, where this photo was taken. I still wonder how could I capture that exact moment in all its beauty. I was just observing, a few meters from them, but they were probably more curious about me than I was about them, and that’s probably why the girl was looking at me. We couldn’t talk much, except for a few words in Swahili I had learned in the previous weeks, but those kids could definitely talk with their eyes. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life, and I’ll keep it in my memories forever. The best part was showing them and their mums the photos, for some it was the first time they were seeing their faces, and their excitement was unexplainable, unfortunately my iPhone was in their hands and I couldn’t capture that!”
Photographers from over 140 countries submitted their best work to the 2019 iPhone Photography Awards, which highlights extraordinary iPhone imagery around the world. Thousands of images were evaluated by an expert panel for the twelfth annual contest. In the end, 23-year-old Italian photographer Gabriella Cigliano took home the coveted grand prize.
Cigliano's winning image (which was captured on her iPhone X) garnered her the title of Photographer of the Year. Her stunning photo Big Sister not only immortalizes her experiences in Africa, but captures the essence of beauty and humanity in Zanzibar. In one photograph, Cigliano manages to perfectly balance color, composition, and emotion in a manner that also displays the technical prowess of the iPhone.
Similarly, the winners across 18 categories demonstrate just how powerful the iPhone can be when it comes to photography. From explosive fireworks to richly colored sunsets, there's no setting that can't be documented by these skilled iPhone photographers. The winners represent different world perspectives that hail from China, the United States, Portugal, Taiwan, Australia, Bahrain, Germany, India, and the United Kingdom.
“The 2019 entries were off the charts great,” shared jury member Cary Hazlegrove. “Astounding work that pulls the planet together through photographs.”
Scroll down to get inspired by the winners. (You can also start thinking about your entry for the 2020 competition, which is already open for entries.)
The 2019 iPhone Photography Awards winners were selected from thousands of photos submitted by photographers in over 140 countries.
“Fire Dragon” by Lianyu Lu. 1st Place – News/Events. Shot on iPhone 6S. “This photo was taken at the Lantern Festival in Buzhai Town. It is the tradition of this small southern town to hold a dragon dance performance for Lantern Festival that dates back to the Qing Dynasty. It is a spectacular scene with the fire dragon being lifted by more than 30 adults while it dances and fireworks are set off from its body. Thousands of people came to watch the event and to pray for their family to be safe and healthy for the New Year.”
“Janta Manta Observatory” by Kuanglong Zhang. 1st Place – Architecture. Shot on iPhone X. “Janta Manta Observatory is very sci-fi looking. I captured the flying pigeon with the building to give the photo a dynamic feeling.”
“Petra Wadi” by Hsueh Isan. 1st Place – Landscape. Shot on iPhone SE. “An unexpected scene on the road to Petra.”
“Blue light” by Jiangying Guo. 1st Place – Abstract. Shot on iPhone 7 Plus. “A beam of sunlight shined on a swimming pool at 9:32am, when I was visiting the house designed by Luis Barragán.”
“Piercing the Sky” by Sreekumar Krishnan. 1st Place – Sunset. Shot on iPhone 6S. “The evening sky marred by some solitary clouds provided a perfect backdrop to this shot. This is the statue of Lord Ram, Hindu God, shot in the outskirts of Bangalore just before sunset.”
“A Future Eagle Hunter” by Mona Jumaan. 1st Place – Portrait. Shot on iPhone 7 Plus. “In Bayan Ulgi province in western Mongolia, eagle hunting is a tradition passed across generations. Boys start their training as early as 11 years old, and little Bakha is no exception as he makes his entrance into the world of eagle hunting with his prized falcon.”
“Lonely Boat” by Liu Bo. 1st Place – Travel. Shot on iPhone 8 Plus. “It was a cloudy day. I noticed a man with a small boat floating up and down in the sea when I was walking on the beach. Something occurred to me in that moment, I thought, I want to get closer so I walked in until salty seawater flooded my chest. The man, the boat, and me. I felt a connection in that moment, people are so small between heaven and earth.”
“Sorry, no movie today” by Yuliya Ibraeva. 2nd Place, Photographer of the Year. Shot on iPhone 7 Plus. “It was a hot summer day in Rome, Italy, even the asphalt was melting. We decided to escape from the city center to see the ancient trees of the Borghese Gardens and watch an Italian movie, but when we arrived the pouring rain began. We didn’t see the film, but I took wonderful pictures. It was a great travel moment I’ll never want to forget.”
“Cactus under the Scorching Sun” by Dan Liu. 1st Place – Floral. Shot on iPhone XS Max. “In Joshua Tree National Park in the United States, there is a valley called the Cholla Cactus Garden which is covered by a large number of Teddy-Bear Chollas. This species of Cholla grows freely under the scorching sun, unafraid of the heat and dryness.”
“Untitled” by Wei Xiong. 1st Place – People. Shot on iPhone X.
“Jasper the Raptor” by Neri Rivas. 1st Place – Children. Shot on iPhone XS. “This photo was taken outside a supermarket in Los Angeles. My son Jasper wore a raptor mask and a Dodgers hat and we made up a story about Jasper the Raptor, a dinosaur boy who was hungry and went to the grocery store.”
“Snowshadow” by Christian Helwig. 1st Place – Trees. Shot on iPhone 6S. “This was taken on the island of Rügen, which is a German island in the Baltic Sea. The spot where I took the picture is on the northernmost coast of the island, close to the little village Schwarbe. There was a strong wind from the sea behind me with some snow, and the wind and the flakes produced this kind of “shadow” on the “lee” of the trees. Everything was very black and white, except the smaller bushlike trees in the back that were a little brown.”
“Segla Mountain at Sunrise” by Vincent Chen. 1st Place – Panorama. Shot on iPhone X. “Segla Mountain is a very identifiable mountain on the northern part of Senja Island. From Segla’s top I saw the amazing landscape of a narrow mountainous peninsula surrounded by two spectacular fjords. They looked really beautiful at sunrise.”
“The Womb” by Huei Jiuan Wang. 1st Place – Nature. Shot on iPhone 6. “t was dark, humid and quiet inside the ice cave. I was climbing up step by step toward the light. The moment brought me to the scene like a newborn inside the womb of nature, ready to embrace the outside world.”
“Fishing” by Biao Peng. 1st Place – Lifestyle. Shot on iPhone 6s. “A man fishing by the lake, it feels like it came out of the movie called “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and I wrote a poem at the time：半山融水雾，深树隐渔翁。君钓江中鲤，吾观落日红。[Half-mountain melts water mist, deep trees hide fishermen. Jun fishing in the middle of the river, I am watching the sunset.]”
“Sea Stripes” by Diogo Lage. 1st Place, Photographer of the Year. Shot on iPhone SE. “Sea Stripes was taken in Santa Rita Beach, Portugal where the striped beach tents are very typical and set the tone of the well organized and summery little villages. Playing along with this beachy mood, a bather in the distance embodies the spirit in a striped shirt.”
“In the Wind” by Clarita Phiri Beierdoerffer. 1st Place – Still Life. Shot on iPhone SE. “This photo is one of a series where I wanted to document moments where I felt particular emotions and I took a picture whether I felt like it or not.”
“The Proud Peacock” by Diogo Lage. 1st Place – Animals. Shot on iPhone SE. “What made me take this photo was the unexpected balance of the composition that reinforces the sense of pride, place, and charisma of this peacock. In this public garden, seeing these wild peacocks is one of the most exquisite experiences people can have, they are truly the lords of the garden.”