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Beach Walkers Haast Beach, New Zealand
CREDIT: Justin Cliffe

Travel Image of the Year 2023

The judging of this year's competition was safe in the hands of Janey Devine FRPS.
Janey joined the RPS in 2006 and after gaining her Licentiate and Associate, she was awarded her Fellowship in 2008. She currently sits on the Travel, Documentary and Licentiate Distinctions panels and is a member of the Travel Group.  A  member of the Focus Group, and  invited to join the Arena Group of Photographers in 2016, she regularly gives talks to camera clubs, and her work can be seen in a number of exhibitions.
Janey writes:
'I felt very honoured to be asked to judge this years’s Travel Group Image of the Year. Had I realised what a difficult job it was going to be I might well have declined!
We had 190 images from 49 photographers and I believe this was an increase on last year. Hopefully now that travel restrictions have been lifted, there will be even more entries next year.
I have thoroughly enjoyed looking and re-looking at the images to select the winners. I have been transported across the world, to exotic places but also to locations in the UK which I have really appreciated.
In choosing the winning images I have considered several aspects. Firstly, does the image convey a “sense of place”, and does it communicate something special about the place? Does it entice me to visit or does it intrigue me?
Communication in an image is also very important. Some images told me a story, others made me laugh, and some were rich in atmosphere or emotion. Many of the images forced me to linger and some made me stop to think and challenged my understanding.
The images that for me stood out were the ones ‘taken from the heart”. These were ones where the photographer had their own vision and maybe saw the world in a different way. Images from unusual viewpoints or of subject matter that a casual observer would pass by. Or that elusive “decisive moment”, pressing the shutter at exactly the right point in time.
In entering a competition of this quality, the photographer must be careful to look at their images with a critical eye. Are they sharp where they should be, have sensor spots been removed and are horizons straight? Also a careful look around the edges of the image to avoid distractions is important. Sadly a number of images that caught my eye were let down on the technical side.
It was a very difficult but hugely enjoyable task to select the three winning and fifteen highly commended images - I would have loved to have included more but I was told 15 was the limit!'
Salisbury Plain South Georgia

Gold Medal

Salisbury Plain South Georgia - Dr Ray Hems ARPS

A very powerful image that really shouts “sense of place”. The solitude and lack of anything man-made gives a wonderful sense of isolation and of being alone in this amazing landscape. But the photographer is definitely not alone. He is in the presence of hundreds if not thousands of penguins.

For me the image gives me a sense of peace and tranquility, but at the same time a certain tension. Man is not meant to be here - we are invading this space. The foreground is devoid of snow and ice and makes me think about climate change and the broken clouds in the background help emphasise the uncertainty of the future. What will this environment be like in ten or twenty years?

The wide angle view really draws me into the picture, and the colour palette is very subtle and gentle. The composition looks so simple, but is masterful. There is good separation of the penguins, an almost impossible feat!

An image that one can look at and ponder forever

Salisbury Plain South Georgia
Life in Vedic School, Varanasi

Silver Medal

Life in Verdic School - Dr Ngar Shun Victor Wong FRPS

This image gave me a wonderful sense of place. It is intriguing and stopped me in my tracks.

You see the two sides of life - children at prayer and performing their devotions inside, but at the same time there is time for play outside. Two different worlds brought together into one image.

There is so much detail in the image and I wanted to come back to it several times and each time noticed something new. It was an image where I could hear the Photographer talking to me, telling me a story and I hope it is maybe part of a larger body of work.

Vedic School
Midnight 66 USA

Bronze Medal

Midnight USA - Dr Lynda Golightly LRPS

A photographer not averse to going out in the night and this image really shouts AMERICA at me. Route 66 type images have been done many times, but this image has been so carefully composed, with all the elements in just the right place, and the lighting has been well handled. The old car outside adds to the atmosphere and I really feel I want to enter the kiosk and find some old timer leaning on the counter.

This is an image that draws me in and makes me want to be part of it.

Midnight 66 USA

The Highly Commended images were:

Click on the title of each image to see a larger version