Awe-Inspiring Winning Images of the 2019 Siena International Photo Awards

SIPA Photo Contest Winner 2019

“A Boy in the Crowd” by Jonathan Banks. Monrovia , Liberia. SIPA Contest Photo of the Year
Suddenly out of the crowd leaned this boy reaching for his precious ball. This was a child who had grown up in war, and had good reason to be scared of soldiers and their guns. He wanted to get his ball back, but his eyes were fixed on the soldier. This all happened in the blink of an eye and resulted in this picture, which seems to represent the precariousness of peace, as seen through the eyes of a young child with little understanding of the greater dynamics at play. All he knew was, he wanted his ball back, but also to stay safe.

Among a tight-knit group of people, a Liberian child attempts to retrieve a ball while going unnoticed by the armed guard that stands just a few feet away. Photographer Jonathan Banks captured this tension-filled moment in an image titled A Boy in the Crowd, and it recently earned the title of “Photo of the Year” from the 2019 Siena International Photo Awards (SIPA).

Of the winning image, Banks explains that he was photographing a festival and snapping pictures of the attending soldiers. He later shifted his focus to the crowd of people, which turned out to be a much more interesting subject. It was at this point that he saw the boy reaching for his ball. “This all happened in the blink of an eye and resulted in this picture,” he recalls, “which seems to represent the precariousness of peace, as seen through the eyes of a young child with little understanding of the greater dynamics at play. All he knew was, he wanted his ball back, but also to stay safe.”

Now in its fifth year, SIPA recognizes stunning pictures taken by photographers around the globe who showcase a variety of themes. Their descriptive categories, such as “Jump for Joy” and “Journeys & Adventures” highlight these varying styles while demonstrating that each is compelling in its own way. The section photography winners are awarded starting with 1° Classified, then 2° Classified, and then 3° Classified. Beyond that are the honorable mentions and remarkable artworks.

See the photographs that took the top prize from 2019, and view all of the winners on the SIPA website.

The Siena International Photo Awards is a yearly photography contest that highlights awe-inspiring images from around the world.

Herding Sheep

“Transhumance in Spain” by Susana Giron. Spain. 1° Classified, Journeys & Adventures.
The Alarcon family is one of the last families that still work as nomadic shepherds in Europe. The phenomenon of transhumance has survived for centuries: families of shepherds migrate on foot through the territory with their animals in search of better pastures, climate and living conditions. In Spain, around 150 families survive as nomad shepherds. Twice a year, Antonio, Maria and their two sons walk almost 200 km for 8 days to transfer their hundreds of sheep from Fatima (Granada) to Las Navas de San Juan (Jaen). During the journey, enduring hard living conditions, they camp in forests on mountain slopes along the ancient Spanish paths known as “Canadas Reales.”

Rhino in Kenya

“Black Rhino at Night” by William Burrard-Lucas. Tsavo West, Kenya. 1° Classified, Animals In Their Environment
Black rhinos are predominately active at night, so I wanted to capture them in their nocturnal environment. This is a single exposure taken with a camera trap on a moonless night. I used a long, 25-second exposure time to expose the stars. At the start of the exposure, two flashes exposed the foreground. Since there was no moonlight, there was no ghosting effect after the initial flash. I opted for side lighting to highlight the sides of the rhino’s horn and make it stand out from the night sky. Rhinos were almost wiped out by poaching but thanks to concerted conservation efforts in the park, their numbers are gradually recovering.

Whale Underneath Boat

“Whale Shark Encounter in West Papua” by Marco Zaffignani. Teluk Cenderawasih National Park, Indonesia. Remarkable Artwork

Couple Laughing in a Train Station

“Joy” by Bram Paulussen. Japan. 1° Classified, Jump for Joy.
In an empty train station, the beautiful laugh of a Japanese couple seems to break the almost surreal quietness of the place.

Polar Bear Looking Into Camera

“Polar Bear Changing Careers” by Roie Galitz. Svalbard, Norway. Honorable Mention.
While photographing a big male Polar Bear in Svalbard, he suddenly turned around and started walking towards us. I jumped on my snowmobile and left my gear. The bear reached the camera and looked through it for a few seconds before walking away. Clearly, he was only curious.

People Standing and Diving Off Diving Boards

“Diving” by Maxim Korotchenko. Astrakhan, Russia. 1° Classified, Sports in Action
Some people enjoy diving from the platforms of the pool at the water centre in the city of Astrakhan, one of the many structures of the “Star” sports centre, which also hosts a hotel for athletes and coaches.

Child Sitting Next to Gravestone

“Memorial Day” by Matt McClain. Arlington, U.S. 2° Classified, Documentary & Photojournalism
7-year-old Christian Jacobs sits against the headstone of his father, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Christopher James Jacobs, as he visits in observance of Memorial Day on May 28th, 2018, at Arlington National Cemetery. Christopher died during a training exercise in 2011.

Surreal Image of Two People in SIPA Photo Contest

“Close Your Eyes and Let It Go” by Hardijanto Budiman. Indonesia. 1° Classified, Creative & Still Life
Standing right here and chilling Just close your eyes and feel it Let the wind blow your tears away Just let it go, let it go…

Black and White Architecture Photo

“Lonely Biker” by Marcel van Balken. Marseille, France. 2° Classified, Architecture & Urban Spaces
Abstract vision of the roof of the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, the largest stadium in France, which hosts more than 67,000 people during the Olympique de Marseille matches.

Frog Swimming Under Water

“Wallace's Flying Frog” by Chin Leong Teo. Indonesia. Remarkable Artwork
Wallace's Flying Frog is a moss frog found in Malaysia and western Indonesia. It is generally quite photogenic given its large size, brilliant colours and calm temperament. This is a shot taken of a specimen swimming in water, with full extension of its beautiful long legs.

Pack of Alligators Eating Hippos

“Natural Recycling” by Ignacio Medem. Zambia. 1° Classified, The Beauty of Nature
In less than three days, more than one hundred crocodiles manage to transform a dead hippo into fertilizer for the river.

Bug Looking Through Leaf

“Window Of Autumn” by Hasan Baglar. Chatos, Cyprus. Remarkable Artwork

Colorful Doors in Building

“Multi Color” by Elizabeth Jenny Tane. Tokyo, Japan. 1° Classified, Architecture & Urban Spaces
The vibrant combination of the colors of the doors in this office complex in Tokyo makes this building very distinctive and attractive.

Line of People in Training

“Border Patrol Academy” by Matt McClain. Artesia, U.S. 1° Classified, Fascinating Faces and Characters
Erin Herrgott, 20, of Oxford, Mississippi, center, is talked to by her instructor, Howard Parsons, after arriving at the United States Border Patrol Academy on August 29, 2018. The academy, located in Artesia, New Mexico, is on the grounds of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

Camels Kneeling in the Sand

“Tread on the Sand Sea” by Benli Bai. Remarkable Artwork

Siena International Photo Awards: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Siena International Photo Awards.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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