A look at how we stayed connected during the pandemic took home the top prize at the 19th annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest. Sinsee Ho's timely photo beat out the 59 other finalist images, which were culled from over 47,000 entries. Aside from the grand prize, winners were named in six categories, as well as a Readers' Choice award.
Ho's winning image was taken in Malaysia during the 2021 Chinese Lunar New Year. Typically a time for big gatherings, Ho wanted to show how dramatically the world had changed. “I had my husband wear a red shirt and Chinese traditional ponytail hat to depict the festive mood of Lunar New Year, while I portrayed a more casual mood, as though I just woke up from bed,” she shared. “I used a tripod and 10-second self-timer to take the shot.”
Winners were also announced in the six individual categories—Natural World, People, Travel, American Experience, Altered Images, and Mobile. The themes allowed for a rich array of imagery, from Matjaz Krivic's touching look at the relationship between humans and animals to Prathamesh Ghadekar's fascinating look at the symbiotic relationship between two types of insects.
Over 13,000 votes were cast for the Readers' Choice award, which went to Shayna Stevens. Stevens' charming photo was taken right in her own backyard. In the photo, Stevens' husband shows their 2-year-old son the inside of a can, fresh with milk he'd just gathered. This moving moment between father and son is certainly one that resonated with the public.