Emma SparksLonely Planet author
To celebrate the launch of our breathtaking new book, Beautiful World, we wanted to see the world through your eyes. So we asked our community to send their best photos encapsulating four different themes: space, community, untamed and celebration – with an epic photography tour of Tibet as the grand prize.
We received tens of thousands of entries, which meant choosing our favourites was a seriously tough job. With the help of Beautiful World Commissioning Editor Robin Barton, we whittled the entries down to to five finalists, including one overall winner. Feast your eyes on the beautiful results.
Overall winner and winner of Space category
‘Rise Ampitheatre’ by Tessa Vollmeier, shot in the Batad rice terraces in the Philippines.
‘This picture reminds me of how beautiful and rich the spectacular landscapes of the Philippines are,’ says Tessa. ‘Even though it was a short trip (a week break during my time as an exchange student in Hong Kong), I enjoyed the beauty of the country and it was enough to convince me that is one of the most wonderful countries I have ever seen.’
Our judge Robin says: ‘We like the way the waves of green lines in Tessa’s photograph focus attention on the higgledy-piggledy village in the foreground, but also draw the eye into the distance, where the mountains get darker and wilder. It’s also a thought-provoking image, raising questions about the human influence on landscapes – and what is or isn’t beautiful.’
Tessa has won a once-in-a-lifetime photography tour in Tibet with World Expeditions.
Finalist and winner of Community category
‘Over the Clouds’ by Mike Reich, shot on Volcano Chimborazo in Ecuador.
Mike was inspired by the extreme yet beautiful conditions in which the local indigenous people live in Ecuador. This thought-provoking composition of a lone silhouette in the fading light of a sunset made us long to know more – and earned Mike a spot among our finalists.
Finalist and winner of Untamed category
‘The Snow Monkey’ by Daniel de la Rosa, shot at Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano, Japan.
It wasn’t easy for Daniel to capture this remarkable photo of a snow monkey bathing in a thermal pool. ‘There is no direct route to Jigokudani Monkey Park from Tokyo but rather a combination of bullet train, local train, bus and at the end a 1.5 mile hike,” says Daniel. ‘The trip was totally worth it and I was in heaven. I spent several hours and shot hundreds of photos; it started to snow and that’s when I took this particular shot with the steam rising all around.’
Finalist and winner of Celebration category
‘Rich Tradition of Hindu Wedding’ by Raghu Lakshminaarayanan, shot in India.
‘Rice occupies pride of place in traditional Hindu weddings,’ says Raghu. ‘Rice signifies abundance and prosperity. In this image the bride is given a handful of rice by the groom signifying the fact that he would forever provide her with plenty in life.’ The intimacy of the newlyweds’ cupped hands and the sense of movement earned Raghu’s photo top billing in the Celebration category.
Winner of the public vote
‘Celebration of Lights’ by Shiva Nepal, shot in Durbar Square, Kathmandu.
We wanted to know which of our thousands of entrants captured our community’s imagination, and this vibrant shot won the most votes. ‘I was on holiday in Nepal for a month in October 2013, during which time Tihar, the festival of lights, is celebrated,’ says Shiva. ‘As soon as I saw this pagoda temple covered in lights, I couldn’t resist taking a picture. I am really thankful to all the people who voted for me.’
Each of the finalists will receive a copy of Lonely Planet’s Beautiful World.