This weekend I went down to sunny Greenwich to visit the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition. Partly because it helpfully combined two great loves of mine into one bitesize Sunday afternoon, but mostly because it was free. The exhibition houses all the winners, runner ups, and any other photos deserved of a special mention from the 2015 competition, across a dozen or so categories.
If you’re ever in London, Greenwich is well worth a visit anyway, it’s like a quaint riverside market town that’s completely forgotten it’s actually in the middle of one of the world’s biggest capital cities.
At the mouth of the River Thames, Greenwich is drowning in Maritime history. So if grand old buildings and boats are your thing head to the Royal Naval College, the Maritime Museum or the beautiful Cutty Sark. If you’re more of a landlubber, why not spend some doubloons at the various vintage and food markets, have a beer at one of the many riverside pubs, or eat like a cockney at one of London’s only remaining traditional pie ‘n’ mash shops, Goddard’s of Greenwich. You fans of longitude can even stand astride the Prime Meridian Line at the Greenwich Royal Observatory, which the website describes with no hint of sarcasm as “a once in a lifetime experience.”
And if standing on a metaphorical line hasn’t left you comatose with excitement, take the boat back into the city from Greenwich pier – for an extra couple of quid it’s far more enjoyable than the tube and comes with wonderfully informative commentary. And of course, if you’re in town before the 4th of September, the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition is just another great excuse to visit.
Many of the photos at TPOTY, as it’s known to its friends, were taken by professionals, but there were also a few amateurs in the mix, including one infuriatingly talented 13 year old. And it was these amateurs, particularly the bloody kids, who made me think “Why can’t I be a travel photographer of the year?” I must have taken tens of thousands of travel photographs over the years, and at least 20 or 30 of those probably don’t involve me sweating heavily, spilling a cheap cocktail down my front, and draping my arm over someone who looks like they really don’t want to be there. With so many categories to compete in I’d say that’s pretty decent odds of already having something worthy of next year’s exhibition, especially if I tell the judges I’m only 7.
With this in mind, and the deadline for this year’s competition less than 2 months away, I decided to scour through my ‘portfolio’ to find next year’s winners, or at very least a few special mentions.
“Give a Man a Fish. . .”
Location: Sapzurro, Colombia
Description: Colombia has some of the most beautiful women in the world, yet only 5 minutes from the shore and he’s already got a dead fish down his pants. This is mankind in a nutshell.
The grass isn’t always greener my friend.
Category: Land, Sea, Sky
Location: Salar De Uyuni, Bolivia
Description: The land looks like the sea, which looks like the sky, which looks like the sea, which is actually the land.
Category: Journeys and Adventure
Location: La Paz, Bolivia
Description: Bolivia: Where the Journey IS the adventure! This is the 2:45 to Potosi just setting off from La Paz’s central Terminal De Buses. It may not be the most luxurious public transportation system in the world but it’s cheap and everyone gets a window seat.
Category: Young Travel Photographer – Places and Experiences
“Vadge of Honour”
Location: Dubrovnik, Croatia
Description: As a 7 year old, my first sight of a lady’s chuff, even one made of stone, was a huge moment in my life. I’d heard some crazy rumours about them, whispers in the darker corners of the playground, but to discover hard evidence, it was like finding out Hogwarts was real. So to have the composure to not only take a photo during this groundbreaking moment, but to also keep it in focus, is surely worthy of some sort of prize. Especially as I definitely am only 7 years old. £500 and a place on a Photo iconic photography workshop perhaps?
Category: Eye to Eye
Location: Darwin, Australia
Description: I once sent this photo to David Icke and said how much of a nice time I had meeting The Queen. I hope it made his day.
Category: Wildlife and Nature
“It’s a Bird Eat Bird World”
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Description: Just when I was beginning to understand the circle of life a seagull dropped the bloody corpse of a pigeon at my feet, squawked angrily at me to keep away (unnecessarily, I’d just had a large croissant), and then continued to messily tucked in. This is nature, and it needs to work on its manners.
Category: Cities – Architecture and Spaces
“We Don’t Take Any Shit Here”
Location: Florianopolis, Brazil
Description: When is a toilet not a toilet? Think about it. Yeah? …Philosophy.
Category: Shaped by Light
“Jungle Book Deleted Scenes”
Location: Hampi, India
Description: I’m not really sure what ‘Shaped by Light’ means, but look what that monkey’s doing! If this picture isn’t gallery worthy then frankly I’ve lost all faith in the Travel Photographer of the Year awards and would ask that they kindly return the 74p I left in the donation box. You’re not who I thought you were.
Category: iTravelled iCaptured
Location: New York, USA
Description: At the top of the Rockefeller Centre, faced with one of the world’s most famous and breathtaking cityscapes, a tourist takes a photo of himself in front of a concrete wall. With a fucking selfie stick.
Featured Image: Travel photographer of the Year competition entry by Ly Hoang Long, Vietnam