15 Spectacular Finalists in the Smithsonian Annual Photo Contest

The Smithsonian.com 13th Annual Photo Contest recently announced the finalists for its renowned competition. From March 31, 2015 to December 1, 2015, they received over 46,000 submissions from photographers in 168 countries and territories–the judges certainly had their work cut out for them! From this massive turnout, they narrowed down the list to 70 category finalists in the following seven categories: Natural World; The American Experience; Travel; People; Altered; Mobile; and Sustainable Travel.

For years, the annual competition has been one of our favorites, showcasing some of the most stunning sights from around the world. The images vary in subject matter, from breathtaking landscapes to adorably furry creatures to mysterious scenes. Each photo, while unique, has a common theme–they all evoke a sense of wonder and encourage us to go explore our wold.

Now it's your turn to help Smithsonian.com narrow down their list even further with the Readers' Choice award. Voting for this honor opened on Monday, February 22 and will close on Monday, March 21. Cast your ballot on the Smithsonian website. The awards–Grand Prize, Readers' Choice, and seven category winners–will be announced on Tuesday, March 22. Check out 15 of our favorite finalists, below.

Above: Photo: Sun Head
Credit: Geert Weggen. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Bispgrden, Jmtland, Sweden
Category: Natural World

Photo: Mating Red-Eyed Tree Frogs
Credit: Jennifer Guyton. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Costa Rica
Category: Natural World

Photo: Catch the Sunset
Credit: Tuan Nguyen Manh. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Vietnam
Category: Travel

Photo: Under Pressure
Credit: Adam Taylor. All rights reserved
Location of Photo: Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska
Category: Sustainable Travel

Photo: Under the Aurora
Credit: Gary L. Fiedler . All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Quetico Provincial Park, Atikokan, Ontario, Canada
Category: Sustainable Travel

Photo: Remaining on the Slopes of Mount Sinabung
Credit: Albert Ivan Damanik. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Mount Sinabung, seen from village of Jeraya, North Sumatra, Indonesia
Category: Natural World

Photo: Three Black Cows
Credit: Valery Romanov. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Staraya Erikla, Ulyanovsk, Russian Federation
Category: Travel

Photo: A Little Monkey on the Cliff
Credit: Hidetoshi Ogata. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Jigokudani Monkey Park, Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Category: Natural World

Photo: Jade
Credit: Florencia Mazza Ramsay. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Barrow, Alaska
Category: The American Experience

Photo: Festive Preparation
Credit: Krishnasis Ghosh. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Baghnapara, Bardhaman, West Bengal, India
Category: People

Photo: Inner Demon in the Flesh
Credit: Yana Vasilyeva. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Krasnodar, Russian Federation
Category: Altered Images

Photo: In the Midst of Monks
Credit: Wan Shun Luk. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Sertar County, China
Category: Travel

Photo: Orient Express
Credit: Alice van Kempen. All rights reserved
Location of Photo: Belgium
Category: Altered Images

Photo: Spider Man
Credit: Adam Wong. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: Nice, France
Category: Travel

Photo: Summer Movie Night in Bryant Park
Credit: Navid Baraty. All rights reserved.
Location of Photo: New York, New York
Category: The American Experience

Smithsonian.com 13th Annual Photo Contest: Website

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.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content