Incredible Winning Images from the 2022 Siena International Photo Awards

Elderly Woman Crying in Front of Her Burning Home in Greece

“Woman from Evia” by Konstantinos Tsakalidis. Photo of the Year.
Kritsiopi Panayiota, 81 years old, reacts as a wildfire approaches her house. Amid the hottest and most long-lasting heatwave in the last 30 years, with temperatures reaching 47°C, hundreds of forest fires broke out across the country, severely hitting Greece’s second-largest island. Thousands of residents and tourists were evacuated by boat. The fire, which raged uncontrollably for a week in the tinder-dry pine forests, destroyed more than 50,000 hectares of forest area and agricultural land, burned dozens of houses, and killed many animals.

Greek photographer Konstantinos Tsakalidis‘ haunting look at the devastation of wildfires was named Photo of the Year in the 2022 Siena International Photo Awards. The shot captures the desperation of Kritsiopi Panayiota, an 81-year-old woman, as the flames are approaching her home during the serious forest fires that hit the country in summer 2021 and caused extensive environmental damage. The image was selected from tens of thousands of images sent by photographers from 140 countries.

Taskalidis' work, along with all 12 category winners, is now on display in Siena, Italy, until November 20, 2022. His incredible photo was just one of many honored in the competition. Other standout images include Dan Winters‘ portrait of Angelina Jolie, which won the Fascinating Faces and Characters category. Jolie is a striking beauty on her own, but the addition of bees placed strategically across her face and body takes the image to another level. Shot for National Geographic to promote World Bee Day, the award-winning portrait required Jolie to stay still for 18 minutes while the bees sat on her body.

Well-regarded wildlife photographer Amos Nachoum took home first place in the Animals in Their Environment category for his sweet photo of a polar bear and her cub. In this tender photo, we can clearly see the mother bear looking out for her baby, as she guides the cub next to her in the water.

From street photography to architectural photography, each category highlights the distinct talents of these photographers. Looking through the gallery of winners, it's impossible not to be dazzled by their skills and impressed by the different types of photography that are making an impact on our world today. Scroll down for some of our favorite winners and finalists.

Check out the winners of the 2022 Siena International Photo Awards.

Portrait of Angelina Jolie Covered in Bees

“Angelina Jolie and Bees Number 1” by Dan Winters. 1st Classified, Fascinating Faces and Characters.
This portrait was shot for Nat Geo to promote Angelina’s Women for Bees initiative on World Bee Day. Everyone on set had to wear a full bee suit. The actual queen bee pheromone was applied on Angelina to make the bees congregate there. Angelina stood perfectly still for 18 minutes without a sting.

Mother Polar Bear Swimming with Her Young

“Mother, Tender Love” by Amos Nachoum. 1st Classified, Animals in Their Environment.
Mother bears, in particular, are very caring of the young ones. Today, due to climate change, bears have to travel greater distances to forage for food and survive. Sometimes the mother must hold her young one by her side while searching for the next hunting area.

A line of small erupting craters in Iceland

“Way to Hell” by Nadine Galandi. 1st Classified, The Beauty of Nature.
A line of small erupting craters in the West of the Land of Ice and Fire. A river of lava guides the viewer’s eye, while thick smoke rises high into the sky. Seeing a volcanic eruption, hearing and smelling it, and feeling the unbelievable heat on your skin is a unique experience.

Man in Overcoat Walking by Stream of Steam

“Smokey Coat” by Michael Kowalczyk. 1st Classified, Street Photography.
Dressed like a detective from past times, a gentleman is passing through a cloud of underground steam rising from beneath East 37th Street. In the background, skyscrapers and ancient buildings complete the picture.

Busy Port at Nagarbari Ghat

“Work” by Rahat Bin Mustafiz. 1st Classified, Journeys & Adventures.
Nagarbari Ghat is one of the busiest river ports in the country. Importers of fertilizers, food grains, coal, and cement use this route for easy transportation. Usually, laborers work here all day long to unload the products from the ships. They carry the bags and get paid per bag at the end of the day.

Young Girl Modeling with a Hummingbird Touching Her Lip

“Kiss Me” by Raffael Gunawan. 1st Classified, Under 20.
A girl, with a sad expression and lips painted with lipstick, is the model for a photo shoot. The photo concept is revolutionized by the arrival of a curious little bird. Her colored lips attract a spider hunter, immortalized in flight.

Photographers from 140 countries submitted their best work to the photo contest.

Award-Winning Architecture Photography

“Joker Smile” by Muhammad Almasri. 1st Classified, Architecture & Urban Spaces.
It is said that buildings are lifeless subjects. However, as an architectural photographer, the author thinks it is exactly the opposite. The title of this image tells a different story: the one of a polka-dot building with a smiling roof. The moon completes the face of this brick Joker.

Elderly Woman Holding Up Her Hen

“This Is My Eye” by Ahmed El Hanjoul. 2nd Classified, Fascinating Faces and Characters.
A 70-year-old woman with a cheerful spirit who loves farming the land and raising pets, particularly poultry. Her wrinkled face and hands, clearly worn from a life of work, do not hide her hopeful smile. She carries her hen in such a way that it becomes a piece of her: through her eye everything is beautiful.

Juvenile Seahorses Holding Seagull Feather with Its Tail

“I Go Flying, I Come Flying” by Francisco Javier Murcia Requena. 1st Classified, Underwater Life.
In this phase of their life the juvenile seahorses usually move holding on to any floating object with their tails. Sometimes they grab and swim on a piece of seagrass, seaweed, or on a piece of plastic. This time, the young seahorse moves using the feather of a seagull.

Orthodox Funeral in Jerusalem

“JERUSALEM 2018” by Barry Talis. 2nd Classified, Street Photography.
A massive orthodox gathering after the funeral of a famous jewish spiritual leader in the streets of Jerusalem. Tens of thousands of people are seen mourning all over the city on a winter day.

A female puma hunting a full-grown male guanaco

“Puma Hunting Guanaco” by Ingo Arndt. 2nd Classified, Animals in Their Environment.
A female puma hunting a full-grown male guanaco. The two animals stand out in the center; the mantles blend in with the background, though the muscular bodies create a sort of dance that gives rhythm to the shot and make the protagonists stand out. The image is part of a 7-month-long documentary project.

Two Red Foxes in Urban Environment

“Urban and Wild” by Peter Mather. 1st Classified, Storyboard.
Red foxes, celebrated for their cunning intelligence, have adapted to the human world with astonishing success and they are supremely designed to inhabit the borderlands of greenspaces and urban living. They are rapidly evolving to live in the new world. This can be seen in the wilderness city of Whitehorse, in northern Canada, where the fox has found the ideal community straddling our new urban, wild world. In the city, fox density is exceptionally high due to an abundance of food, but their lifespans are shortened due to the dangers of living within an urban space dominated by roads and cars.

Fire in Savannah Georgia

“Savannah Burning” by Roberto Marchegiani. 2nd Classified, The Beauty of Nature.
A sudden fire burned a huge part of the Savannah and the rangers were unable to contain it. The fire lasted for three days and reduced entire hills to ashes. Fortunately the trees were not affected by the flames.

Photojournalism Story About Mass Graves in Iraq

“Uncovering Iraq” by Alessio Mamo. 2nd Classified, Storyboard.
With estimates running from 250,000 to one million people, Iraq is estimated to have the largest number of missing persons in a single country. The Iraqi missing are the victims of more than four decades of human rights violations, dictatorship, wars, genocide, and terrorism. The teams of Mass Graves Department and Legal Medicine have been traveling all over Iraq in the past thirteen years. Their journeys were the most painful and challenging missions ever: guiding their teams in excavating mass graves and exhumation of the remains of dead bodies. The tireless Iraqi teams reunite all the forensic anthropologists, doctors and experts who are uncovering mysteries and crimes against humanity, identifying the bodies to return to the families of the victims.

Brazilian Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ana Marcela Cunha competes in the Women’s 10km Marathon Swimming Final

“Finding Nemo” by Jonne Roriz. 1st Classified, Sports in Action.
Brazilian Olympic gold medalist swimmer Ana Marcela Cunha competes in the Women’s 10km Marathon Swimming Final event of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Odaiba Marine Park. A small fish splashes out of the water, going backward from the athlete’s stroke.

All the winners will have their work displayed in Siena, Italy through the end of November.

Sea Lion Hunting for Sardines

“Hunting California Sea Lion” by Nick Polanszky. 2nd Classified, Underwater Life.
Catching a sardine is not an easy task for the sea lion, since they’re protected by the huge numbers in the school. The sea lion will have to penetrate the school several times, hoping to separate one of them from the others, so that he can focus on his target and hunt down the single sardine.

Refugees on Rubber Raft in the Mediterranean Sea

“High Hopes” by Fabrizio Maffei. 1st Classified, Documentary & Photojournalism.
Even in 2020, while we were all struggling with COVID, the world did not stop: people continued to flee from wars and poverty, looking for a better future and putting their lives at risk. In the Mediterranean Sea, even the rescuers, led by hope, have not stopped.

Caeleb Dressel of Team United States is seen in action on his way to winning the Men’s 100m Butterfly final at Tokyo Aquatics Centre

“Caeleb Dressel” by Ian Macnicol. 2nd Classified, Sports in Action.
Caeleb Dressel of Team United States is seen in action on his way to winning the Men’s 100m Butterfly final at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. The water wraps around his body like a mantle, creating an interesting optical effect. His head, facing down and forward, symbolizes the athlete’s strong determination.

An Israeli police officer stands with his pistol pointed at a Palestinian man, in the center.

“Israeli Palestinians” by Ohad Zwigenberg. 2nd Classified, Documentary & Photojournalism.
An Israeli police officer stands with his pistol pointed at a Palestinian man, in the center. Next to them is a Jewish driver who was attacked by Palestinian protesters. The Israeli police have already clashed with the latters on many occasions: this is pushing the contested city to the brink of eruption.

Person Climbing a Spiral Staircase

“Confine” by Qiyuan Zhu. 2nd Classified, Under 20.
A person is about to climb the stairs: she is surrounded by a staircase, as if it were an uncrossable border. This work reflects on the awkward situation of human beings in the universe. We always imagine what the fish in the fishbowl is thinking, not knowing that we humans may actually live in a bigger fish tank.

Fogged Up Bus in Chisinau

“The Couple Is Struggling to Find a Stop” by Morten Gåsvand. 2nd Classified, Journeys & Adventures.
Cold winter days are well known in Chisinau. Without heating on the buses, it becomes extra difficult to see anything outside and jump off at the right stop. The picture was shot in Stefan cel Mare, the main street, which is usually very busy with traffic.

Optical Illusion on the Streets of Manhattan

“Elevator” by Ibrahim Nabeel Salah. 2nd Classified, Architecture & Urban Spaces.
The image, taken from a street in Manhattan, creates a stunning optical illusion. The perfect geometry of the four sides gives the impression of being on an elevator: we do not know which way it is going, but we feel ourselves lifted upwards, even though we are still standing on the ground with our feet!

Siena International Photography Awards: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by the Siena International Photography Awards.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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