Lonely Planet Writer

10 photographers that made us see the world differently in 2016

There’s no doubt that photography is more popular now than ever before. With the prevalence of rapidly evolving technology that includes drones, 360-degree cameras, and affordable, easy to use DSLRs, as well as the emergence of social media sites geared specifically towards connecting people all over the world through images, the act of taking and sharing unique photos has become an essential part of a trip for many people.

Moab, Utah in USA. Evaporation ponds visible at the Potash mine.
Moab, Utah in USA. Evaporation ponds visible at the Potash mine. Image by Overview

With that in mind, and with the New Year nearly upon us, Lonely Planet Travel News takes a look back at some of the most incredible, unique and inspiring pictures of 2016 from photographers who made us see the world from a different angle.

1. The photographer that captured daily life in the coldest city on Earth

A local girl returning home from university.
A local girl returning home from university. Image by Amos Chapple

With freezing temperatures that can plummet to as low as – 50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit), Yakutsk in Siberia is the coldest inhabited city on Earth. The idea of documenting the unique inhabitants of the region and sharing the challenges that they face on a daily basis inspired photographer Amos Chapple to venture to Yakutsk in the dead of winter, resulting in some truly stunning and unique images

2. This neon-tinged, anime inspired view of Hong Kong

ghost in the shell
Food Market at Quarry Bay, Hong Kong Image by Andy Yeung

Inspired by the stylised depiction of a futuristic metropolis based on Hong Kong in the 1995 cult anime film, “Ghost in the Shell”, photographer Andy Yeung set out with a vision to capture the neon-tinged beauty of Hong Kong as it is today, in an effort to capture the iconic street views of a rapidly changing city.

3. The abandoned homes of the Outer Hebrides photographed by former Buzzcocks Drummer John Maher

John Maher Outer Hebrides Photography
“Bedroom and Chapel” from the “Nobody’s Home” collection. It features the only house on the now uninhabited island of Ensay. The photo looks across to Ensay Chapel from one of the upstairs bedrooms of the house. Image by John Maher / The Flying Monk

As well as being a former member of the iconic punk band Buzzcocks, it seems drummer John Maher is also an extremely talented photographer. One of his most recent projects entitled, “Nobody’s Home” features images of decaying uninhabited homes in the Western Isles of Scotland set against the natural beauty of the surrounding landscapes.

4. A haunting look inside the Fukushima Exclusion Zone

An abandoned shop inside the Fukushima Exclusion Zone.
An abandoned shop inside the Fukushima Exclusion Zone. Image by Keow Wee Loong

In 2011, Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered three meltdowns as a result of a tsunami. Although efforts to clean up the surrounding areas have been ongoing, more than five years on from the incident, little was known about the state of the exclusion zone that lies within a 12-mile radius of the plant. That changed when an adventurous photographer named Keow Wee Loong snuck into the red zone and documented stores, houses and streets close to the plant, offering a haunting look at objects and buildings frozen in time.

5. An intimate look inside the bedrooms of young people from all around the world

Room #24 featuring 30-year old Joseph from Paris, France.
Room #24 featuring 30-year old Joseph from Paris, France. Image by John Thackwray

French photographer John Thackwray’s, “My Room” project began in 2010, when he had the idea of travelling the world documenting the bedrooms of people aged from 18 to 30. The result is a truly unique look into 1000 of the most intimate and personal spaces of a diverse group of young people from over 70 countries around the world.

6. Macro landmarks photographed in tiny water drops

The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.
The Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Image by Dusan Stojancevic

One of the main challenges for any travel photographer is finding a way to portray a familiar place from a fresh point of view. Serbian photographer Dusan Stojancevic managed to pull that off by capturing iconic landmarks such as the Brooklyn Bridge in New York and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona reflected in tiny meticulously crafted water beads.

7. The seriously scary skyscraper selfies of these Russian Instagrammers

Although it seemed to be a growing trend in 2016, taking photographs from dizzying heights is definitely not something that we recommend trying! One group of daring friends however, has amassed thousands of followers on Instagram for their images captured on top of skyscrapers and cranes in cities such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, Moscow and Paris.

8. Bioluminescent sea fireflies off the coast of Japan

Sea Fireflies Japan
The crustaceans, known locally as “umihotaru” excrete a bioluminescent liquid that makes them shine a vibrant blue. Image by Tdub Photo

This year, photographers Trevor Williams and Jonathan Galione of Tdub photo shared stunning images of bioluminescent sea fireflies lighting up the shores of Okayama in Japan. The photographers even shared the techniques that they used during the shoot, outlining the best way to draw the creatures out in order to capture the shots.

9. The photographer pilot that captured otherworldly weather from the cockpit

Thunderstorms light up the insides of cloud formations.
Thunderstorms light up the insides of cloud formations. Image by Amazing-Aviation

Flying high above oceans, cities and rolling countryside, pilots are afforded a view of the world that is rarely seen by the average person. So when a pilot comes along who also happens to be a skilled photographer, the resulting images are bound to be exciting, as is the case with the images shared by senior first officer Christiaan van Heijst. With over ten years of flying experience under his belt, Christiaan’s photos outline some of the incredible and otherworldly weather occurrences that can be seen from the cockpit, including sunrises, the Northern Lights and cloud formations being lit up by lightning during a thunderstorm.

10. The breathtaking beauty of earth from above

Nishino Island, Japan. Nishinoshima is a volcanic island located 940 kilometres south of Tokyo. Starting in November 2013, the volcano began to erupt and continued to do so until August 2015.
Nishino Island, Japan. Nishinoshima is a volcanic island located 940 kilometres south of Tokyo. Starting in November 2013, the volcano began to erupt and continued to do so until August 2015. Image by Overview

First coined in the 1980s, the “Overview Effect” is the name given to a cognitive change described by astronauts that have gazed upon the beauty of Earth from outer space. Having seen the planet from the stunning new angle, those that have been lucky enough to take in the sight describe a new found responsibility for our home. With that in mind, this year artist Benjamin Grant shared a new book entitled, “Overview: A New Perspective of Earth” that showcases amazing aerial photos of the planet taken from satellites. Featuring scenes such as Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro and the tulip fields of Lisse in The Netherlands, the book proves just how vibrant and beautiful our home planet is.