National Geographic Traveller have just announced the winner of their prestigious Travel Photographer of the Year competition, handing the top prize to Daniel Burton, a London-based lensman, for this stunning face-to-face shot of a mountain gorilla (pictured above).
Captured in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burton's winning shot was praised by the judges for the way it draws the viewer in. Chris Hudson, National Geographic Traveller’s art director, said of Burton’s shot that it “immediately captivates the viewer, and the way in which he’s filled the frame with the subject makes it an intense and imposing photograph. Overall, it offers a real sense of an intimate and personal experience, which is ultimately what we’re looking for.” Hudson was part of a six-man judging panel, alongside award-winning travel photographers like Nori Jemil and Craig Parry, as well as Time Out’s picture editor, Ben Rowe.
Burton, writing on his Instagram, draws parallels between the icy stare and “[Joseph] Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, or Michael Crichton’s Congo”. Despite the shot’s composition, however, Burton describes the family of mountain gorillas he encountered - the Humba - as welcoming.
Burton’s wasn’t the only prize handed out yesterday. Every year since 2011, National Geographic Traveller has invited photographers from across the UK to submit photos in five categories: Cities, Nature, Food, People, and Portfolio. As well as scooping the Grand Prize, Burton took home the Nature award for his gorilla shot, but the other category winners found equally exciting subjects in all corners of the globe.
Annapurna Mellor, winner of the ‘Cities’ category, caught a Kolkata taxi driver on his break, perched up alongside his lurid-yellow Mercedes, reading a newspaper next to a police station. Justin Cliffe, won the ‘People’ prize for his shot of a wool-dyer in a Marrakech souk, turning back and smiling in his balmy, grime-laden workshop.
Pablo Borrego won the ‘Food’ prize for his snap of the Kandy Central Market in Sri Lanka, and the bounty of gnarled, ripe fruits and tubers on offer there. The competition’s other big winner, however, was Simon Urwin, who won the ‘Portfolio’ prize - and a seven-day trip to Chamonix - for his series on how Mao iconography persists in the small Sichuan town of Pengzhen. To see the rest of this year’s winners, see below.