Unsplash Awards 2018—Selections

Andrew Neel
Dec 18, 2018 · 8 min read

Last month, we kicked off the 2nd annual Unsplash Awards to recognize the powerful impact that Unsplash contributors have made.

We created 12 unique categories and went live. In less than a month, we had an overwhelming number of photos submitted from all over the world and were blown away by the quality and creativity of each submission.

To help narrow down the final selections, we invited 11 judges and opened up the Community Award to the entire Unsplash community. Today, we celebrate the photos and contributors representing the 2018 Unsplash Awards.

Congratulations to all the finalists and shortlisted photographers and to everyone who took the time to submit a photo this year. It’s such an honor to be able to see each and every photo that was submitted to the Awards as well as the time, thought, and creativity that went into each shot.

And a special thank you to our Judges and Partners for helping us make selections and for spreading the love. And to our incredible community. You are our biggest inspiration.

- The Unsplash Team


Selected: Mads Schmidt Rasmussen Official Judge: Estaban Arturo, Designer — Global Citizen

“This photo encourages diversity and places a person of a diverse background in a more powerful position. The angle at which it is shot at, and the composition elevate the subject in a way that none of the other images are able to do.”

— Estaban Arturo

View the Editorial Team Shortlist

Aleksander Soroka Alieza Rizvie Antonio Molinari Claudia Ramírez Kilarov Zaneit Lindie Wilton Maksym Ivashchenko Nathan Dumlao Prince Akachi Sylvie Tittel


Selected: Mat Reding Official Judge: Jakob Owens, CEO /Director BuffNerds Media

“When I think of earth I think of the vast landscapes and incredibly diverse & unique terrains. This shot captures a tremendous & treacherous landscape. Its sheer size and danger is truly put into perspective with the people off in the distance tackling it head on as they climb the trails. This image just really caught my eye. I felt the cold, I felt the magnitude, I felt the danger… Beautiful capture!”

— Jakob Owens

View the Editorial Team Shortlist

Aaron Roth Anton Sharov Ben Klea Evgeni Tcherkasski Jez Timms Joshua Earle Joshua Fuller Philipp Pilz Ralph Blvmberg Rob Potter


Selected: Carlos Torres Official Judge: Amy Feitelberg, Photography Art Director Square

“This image feels like it reflects the entrepreneurial spirit at its core. I don’t need to know his name or where he’s from to see that he’s a craftsman who takes pride in what he makes and works hard for the money he earns. With simple but beautiful tools he shows us what hard work is all about.”

— Amy Feitelberg

View the Editorial Team Shortlist

Alexandru Acea Julian Christian Anderson Kevin Bhagat Prince Akachi Priscilla Du Preez Rashid Sadykov Simon Rae Thit Htoo Zaw Trent Szmolnik Zhu Hongzhi


Selected: Jeremy Bishop Official Judge: Rogie King, Lead Product Designer Dribbble

“A great photo for me, triggers connections with a myriad of possible stories one could perceive. The more we can see ourselves and our stories in a photo, the more we can receive from it. Additionally, allowing the ripples to warp the appearance of the face, creates a more ambiguous face that instead of being this woman, could be a lot of women. The dying leaves, the mixture and juxtaposition of life and death, and even the signal of bubbles/life underneath a limited color underwater scene (could be death) helps tell the story of pain and joy that are wrapped up into this thing called life. This photo connects with me in many ways and there are many lessons, stories and perceptions within it”

— Rogie King

View the Editorial Team Shortlist

Aiony Haust Alfaz Sayed Cole Keister Creedi Zhong Evie Shaffer Fernando Paz Jack Antal Sandra Seitamaa Simone Hutsch Stefano Zocca

Food & Wellness

Selected: Taneli Lahtinen Official Judge: Sai De Silva, Creative Director & Founder Scout The City

“What I look for in great photography is a connection. This image instantly transported me to their destination and made me feel the moment. There was a sense of freedom and calmness that not only spoke to me but demanded my attention.”

— Sai De Silva

View the Editorial Team Shortlist

Alev Takil Gerardo Rojas Kevin Bhagat Lawrson Pinson Maddie Bazzocco Monika Grabkowska Nicole Honeywill Noah Buscher Victoria Shes Will Truettner

Interiors & Architecture

Selected: Adrien Olichon Official Judge: Tobias van Schneider, Co-founder Semplice

“Pure and effortless. Little to no distracting fingerprints of over-editing. The black and white puts a clear focus on the shapes and tension in the composition. There’s some mystery, as though we’re peeking through a keyhole. It’s an unexpected approach for architecture photography. I’d hang on my wall.”

Tobias van Schneider

View the Editorial Team Shortlist

Adam Birkett Federico Rizzarelli Hannes Maurer Joshua Rawson-Harris Lachlan Gowen Marian Kroell Matt Reames Ryoji Iwata Simone Hutsch Viktor Forgacs

People & Relationships

Selected: Vince Fleming Official Judge: Andre Felipe Ribeiro, Design Manager Squarespace

“Your first instinct when imagining a picture that would fall under the ‘People and Relationships’ category might be to envision a photo with multiple subjects, most likely interacting with one another. For that reason, I love the fact that instead of capturing a typical scene of people together, Vince broke convention and still managed to create a strong sense of connection with the viewer of the photo. He captured the gaze of the photo’s subject through the reflection of a mirror, and it feels like the person in the picture is staring right back at you as a viewer. Through capturing only a fraction of the subject’s face, Vince creates a sense of mystery around the subject, whose direct eye contact with the viewer is extremely powerful.”

— Andre Felipe Ribeiro

View the Editorial Team Shortlist

Handy Wicaksono Kevin Laminto Lindie Wilton Mohammad Metri Nikita Belov Norbert Kowalczyk Pablo Merchán Montes Ricardo Esquivel Sasha Freemind Toa Heftiba


Selected: Johanna Buguet Official Judge: Joel Tellier, Design Director VICE

“This powerful photograph can be interpreted in many different ways by the viewer. It evokes emotions and makes you feel like you are a part of a historic moment.

— Joel Tellier

View the Editorial Team Shortlist

Amadej Tauses Heather Mount Heather Mount Johan Mouchet Johanna Buguet Josh Edgoose Pawel Janiak Random Institute Skyler Gerald Zoltan Tasi

Product Photography

Selected: Pablo Merchán Montes Official Judge: Kate Allchin, Content Marketing Manager Pinterest

“A good product photograph should show off an item in its very best light and entice to you to take action — in this case eat. This image does exactly that. This card-trick of a photo reminded us just how magic the perfect burger can be. We love the color contrast, composition and playfulness too”

— Kate Allchin

View the Editorial Team Shortlist

Amy Shamblen Gijs Coolen Humphrey Muleba Krisztian Tabori Lucas Ortiz Marisa Howenstine Maurizio Vele ORIENTO REVOLT Toa Heftiba

Shapes & Textures

Selected: Taneli Lahtinen Official Judge: Emanuel Sá, Co-founder Sketch

“For me, composition is the most important part of any image and this shot is living proof of that. The texture and unconventional perspective of this shot transform this natural landscape into something beautifully abstract.”

— Emanuel Sá

View the Editorial Team Shortlist

Adrien Olichon Daniel Olah Erol Ahmed Joshua Oluwagbemiga Martin Sanchez Masaaki Komori Mickael Tournier Micki Spollen Nicolás Rueda Toa Heftiba

Street Photography

Selected: Ryoji Iwata Official Judge: Wesley Yendrys, Creative Technologist SSENSE

“There’s something remarkably intriguing and voyeuristic about this shot. The meticulously framed, homogeneously stark concrete backdrop paired against the warmth of a family on the move, shielding their youngest from the beaming rays of sun leaves the viewer with so many unanswered questions. Where are they headed? Why are they the only ones on the street? Do they know they’re being watched? Where was the photographer hiding out? How long did he wait to capture this moment? In short: Beautifully composed and captured.”

— Wesley Yendrys

View the Editorial Team Shortlist

Andre Benz Andrea Leopardi Arlindo Camacho Brunel Johnson Deva Darshan Manuel Pena Mateusz Majewski The Vantage Point Zac Ong Zoltan Tasi

Unsplash Community

This year, we opened up the Unsplash Community Award to the entire community. We wanted to hear from you who you thought should be recognized for their stand-out involvement in the Unsplash community.

Thank you all so much for sending in your nominations. We read so many great stories as we went through all the submitted forms and are so encouraged by your kindness and generosity.

Four people really stood out to us, though, and so we wanted to recognize all of them for their stand-out involvement in the Unsplash community. Here’s what people had to say about them:

Aaron Burden Aaron has been generously sharing his different styles of photography since 2015. Always a positive presence in the community, encouraging others in their creative work.

Paweł Czerwiński Paweł generously shares so many beautiful photos and is active in the Unsplash Slack community, always helping other people with questions and feedback.

Matt Seymour Matt always adds a story to the photos he shares, helping others connect to his work more. Always friendly and proactive, Matt’s enthusiasm to set up some Southern UK events in 2019 is going to bring lots of online friends together!

Susan Wilkinson Susan is a much-loved pillar of the Unsplash community who expresses gratitude, thanking photographers from her social accounts and creates useful collections to help others.

Unsplash Partners

In support of the spirit of the open photography movement and the Unsplash community, we are so proud to have had the following partners participate in the celebration of the Unsplash Awards:

Unsplash Blog

Behind the scenes building the open photography movement at Unsplash.

Andrew Neel

Written by

Community Manager @unsplash @andrewtneel - Support the people that you believe in.

Unsplash Blog

Behind the scenes building the open photography movement at Unsplash.