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Photographer of the Year 2017 Winners


Africa Geographic Editorial

Friday, 26 May 2017

After an exhausting final selection process involving many hours of both technical analysis and heartfelt opinions from our judges, we were faced with the exhilarating task of having to choose an overall winner and category winners for this year’s Photographer of the Year competition. Have a look at this post to see how difficult choosing a winner became.
We have been extraordinarily privileged to have had the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the rich stories and emotion evoked by the deserving finalists’ images. And we came to a collective understanding through this: that standout photography presents the perfect mixture of the moment captured by the photographer and the ensuing emotional reaction and journey for the viewer.
We felt that the overall winner’s photo would be the one that told the most engaging story – the one that spoke to all of us on a deep, emotional level. And the one that we hope will convey its underlying message to all our community spread far and wide across the world.
The 2017 Africa Geographic Photographer of the Year Competition has been brought to you by Land Rover and Canon.
The grand title winner of the year’s competition will walk away with a Big Cat Photo Safari for two, provided by At Close Quarters with flights by Airlink, as well as a Canon EOS 700D with a double lens kit. The two other category prizes include a two-night safari for two at Klaserie Sands River Camp or Hideaways’ Elephant’s Eye while each category finalist will enjoy a case of wine provided by Rhino Tears. The most popular entries on Facebook and Instagram will enjoy prizes sponsored by iSimangaliso and Thule.
Congratulations to all our winners! And thank you to everyone who joined us in celebrating Africa!

📷  “Circles of protection” at Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa ©John Vosloo

John Vosloo – “Circles of protection.”
Judges’ comments:
John Vosloo’s image is not only technically sound, but there is also a rich and complex visual story. It is the story of matriarchal and herd protection, of the African elephants’ dignified dedication to protecting their young and their species.
Elephants face unprecedented persecution from international wildlife criminals, from human-wildlife conflict pressures, habitat loss and from trophy hunters that persist in their strategy to remove the remaining large-tusked individuals. This magnificent photo speaks of the plight of elephants across Africa, and their resilience – if only humans would change their ways.
Many photographers this year have told wonderful stories with their images, but none as powerfully as John.

📷  “Proud” in Omo Valley, Ethiopia ©Christophe Lapeze

Christophe Lapeze – “Proud”
Judges’ comments:
Christophe Lapeze’s image of a proud Mursi woman in Ethiopia is, for us, the most evocatively told story of tribal culture in this year’s selection. This particular shot stands out above the other photos in this category as a bold and strong portrayal of cultural authenticity – almost as if the woman had taken it herself.
Here, she is not being ‘staged’ or ‘showcased’ as has become the somewhat blurred norm with cultural photography. She seems to be showcasing herself, sending a bold statement of pride in her culture, and our obligation to respect it. Our refreshed sense of respect for her and her culture is what ultimately decided this photo as the winner of the Culture category.

📷  Quiver trees in the Richtersveld, South Africa ©Willem Kruger

Willem Kruger – Quiver trees in the Richtersveld
Judges’ comments:
Willem Kruger’s star trail image is another standout image in its genre. While most astrophotography invites us to explore the universe beyond, this particular photo with its seemingly simple foreground, invites us to explore the wonder of the universe from a uniquely African perspective – what if we were walking, alone at night, lost in the African desert pondering the mysteries of life and the secrets of our universe? What if we climbed that hill to discover more? What world would be revealed to us?

📷  “End of the rainbow” in Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya ©Björn Persson

THE “FACEBOOK FAVOURITE” – as voted by our Facebook community
Björn Persson – “End of the rainbow” (3034 votes)
Photographer’s comments:
“At the end of the rainbow, you won’t find gold in the Maasai Mara.”


📷  “Gift of life” in the Kalahari Desert, South Africa ©Ferdinand Veer

THE “FACEBOOK FAVOURITE” – as voted by our Facebook community
Ferdinand Veer – “Gift of Life” (518 votes)
Photographer’s comments:
“Water is precious to the bushman of the Kalahari Desert, so they sometimes store it in empty ostrich eggs for those times of need. Here, a member of the Kruiper family drinks water out of one of these eggs. I could tell that using this ancient technique for storing water held great importance to him.”

📷  Star trails over Chapman’s baobab in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana ©Beverly Houwing

THE “FACEBOOK FAVOURITE” – as voted by our Facebook community
Beverly Houwing – Star trails over Chapman’s baobab (517 votes)
Photographer’s comments:
“Chapman’s baobab is named after James Chapman (1831-1872) who was an explorer of Southern Africa and came across this vast baobab on July 10, 1852, while traversing the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. This is an iconic tree that David Livingstone and Frederick Selous camped under during their explorations, and one of the three largest baobabs in Africa. I got an opportunity to capture this tree under moonless skies as a long exposure with stars trailed through it. Sadly, on the 7th January 2016, it fell to the ground. This tree holds a special place in Africa’s amazing history.”

📷  Sunset over the grasslands in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda ©luv4sol

INSTAGRAM “MOST POPULAR” WINNER – as voted by our Instagram community
luv4sol – Sunset over the grasslands (1657 votes)
Photographer’s comments:
“There are few things as beautiful as an African sky at sunrise or sunset.”
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