Meet the winner.

To say that we were blown away by the breadth of photographic talent and stories from all corners of the world would be an understatement. This year, we received over 11,200 applications and viewed over 56,000 images from over 164 different countries.

Thank you to everyone who submitted their inspiring photo essays and spectacular shots. We hope you keep pursuing your passion for travel photography in 2017.

We say this every year, but selecting a winner wasn’t easy. Our challenge is to find an aspiring photographer that demonstrates a rare combination of photography skill, storytelling ability and raw potential.

We also look closely at an expressed desire to follow the path of travel photography. As the winner will embark on a scholarship assignment in Japan to learn one-on-one from a professional travel photographer Richard I’Anson, we have to consider who we think would most benefit and grow from the mentorship experience.

Without further delay, we give you the winner of the 2016 Travel Photography Scholarship to Japan...

  • In partnership with:
  • World Expeditions

The Winner

Congratulations to Felipe Romero Beltran from Colombia.

Congratulations to our winner, Felipe Romero Beltran, for his beautifully captured and presented series. Each image is strong in its own right (which is the key to producing a great photographic essay) but as a series reveals quite different and interesting moments in the celebrations. The photographs are well composed and captured our attention with their strong sense of immediacy created by getting in close to the action and filling the frame with the subject. The series also has an elegant visual cohesion thanks to the consistency of the muted colours and soft light in the daytime pictures.
Richard I'Anson,

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The Runners Up

Congratulations to Angel Torres Escalante (Spain), Lucas Gibson (Brazil), Adekunle Rufai (United Kingdom), and Dimitri Staszewski (United States of America).

Angel has produced a dynamic series with a strong documentary feel through tight compositions and great timing that capture and focus the viewer’s attention on the expressive faces of his subjects and the high point of the action. Great light and excellent black and white processing add to the overall quality of the entry.
Richard I'Anson,
By getting up close and personal Lucas has produced a powerful series of confronting yet intimate portraits in keeping with the attitudes his subjects are themselves expressing. The bold compositions are enhanced by harsh, contrasty light and the black and white presentation.
Richard I'Anson,
Mixing close up, medium and wide shots to capture quite different moments, Adekunle’s photographs work well together to shed light on various aspects of a fascinating tribal ceremony.
Richard I'Anson,
Dimitri has worked the subject well to produce an interesting series by varying his viewpoint to deliver a sequence of images that capture a range of highlights and action that bring this annual event to life.
Richard I'Anson,

The Shortlist

Congratulations to the following shortlisted applicants.

Richard's Feedback

The response to this year’s photography scholarship was almost overwhelming. Over 11,200 entries were received making it the biggest response to a World Nomads scholarship ever - by a long shot, so thank you to all of you for making the effort to enter. As it is every year, the competition was fierce and unfortunately, as clichéd as it sounds, only one entry can be awarded the grand prize. The judging process was appropriately intense in order to find the entry that not only met all the criteria, but had that little something extra to set it apart.

There were many great individual photographs among the entries but when considering the photography component of each entry the judges were looking for sequences that worked well together. Many entries contained one, two or three strong images only to be let down by others that were repetitive, less relevant or too loosely connected to the theme and therefore not contributing to the telling of a compelling story. The entries that made the shortlist, had a clearly defined story to tell that was then well executed with a visually interesting balance between compositional options such as varying viewpoints and field of view, with each image adding to our knowledge of the subject. However, it is important to remember that this isn’t a photography competition and the captions that accompanied the images and your story are equally important to the judges in their quest to select the entry most worthy of the scholarship. Consequently, the short -listed entries were those that included a relevant, concise and interesting narrative that complimented the images.

I’m looking forward to travelling to Japan as World Nomad’s Photography Scholarship mentor with Felipe and working with him to help take his photography to the next level, in a fascinating country with countless opportunities to make great photographs. We’ll be working hard to produce photographs that do justice to the amazing opportunity offered by the World Nomad’s Scholarship.

Richard's Avatar Richard I'Anson,
Travel Photography Scholarship Mentor

Due to the sheer amount of applications we receive for our scholarships, we do not provide individual feedback. If you would like to improve your photography in time for your next trip, please make sure to sign up for Richard I’Anson’s Travel Photography tips.