Unsplash Awards 2019 — Selections

The wait is over.

Alex Begin
Nov 27, 2019 · 7 min read

Last month, we announced the third edition of the Unsplash Awards, celebrating the people behind the open photography movement. And what a month it’s been! We’ve been overwhelmed by both the quality and quantity of the submissions this year, making it the most exciting Awards yet.

Today, the wait is over — and it’s time for us to recognize the final selections from each category. But before we announce the results — we’d just like to say a huge thanks to everyone in our community who took the time to submit a photo, or supported the Awards this month.

Now let’s celebrate.


Finalist: Charles Etoroma

Official Judge: Stephanie Zou — Figma

“Is the man lying down or doing a headstand? Which way are the stairs going? This photo brings out more questions and intrigue the more you look at it. The unexpected colors and unlikely composition certainly challenged our perception.”


Andrei Shiptenko
Rodion Kutsaev
Jonas Denil
Kama Tulkibayeva
Martin Brechtl
Mihály Köles
Paweł Czerwiński
Faris Mohammed
Tomas Robertson
Martin Sanchez

Current Events

Finalist: Hadi Yazdi

Official Judge: Joel Tellier — Vice

“Compositionally this photo is incredible. There are layers story and history in every element. The casual nature of the subject suggests that she is completely comfortable in a place where she and her gender have never been welcome in history. Her injury and therefore struggle to attend that day, adds to the relaxed nature of her patriotic celebration alluding to a much more involved story. The numbers on the seats help to suggest the history, leaving me to wonder how many men sat where she is sitting before one(the first) woman was allowed.”


andrie chassidy
Max Letek
Cristian Castillo
Edrece Stansberry
Jannes Van den wouwer
Meghan Schiereck
Ronan Kruithof
Stephen Meslin
Tbel Abuseridze
Zoltan Tasi

Earth & Space

Finalist: Geran de Klerk

Official Judge: Naoufal Kadhom — Netflix

“The author captured a powerful portrait of an endangered animal that, quite fittingly, uses the chiaroscuro effect to create a mysterious, dark and emotional tone.”


Alexander Andrews
Ansgar Scheffold
Filip Zrnzević
Geran de Klerk
Ningyu He
Houston Ray
Joshua Earle
Nicolas Lobos
Massimiliano Morosinotto
Mike Yukhtenko

Food & Wellness

Finalist: Kelsey Curtis

Official Judge: Alexandra Nikolajev — Pinterest

“Your eyes are instantly drawn to the beautiful cake in the image because of the contrast in colour within the photograph. The food styling around the dessert is soft and simple so it enhances the boldness of the cake without taking any of the focus away. Really enjoy how this was framed and styled. It all works together.”


Alex Chernenko
Bruna Branco
Charles Etoroma
Dessy Dimcheva
Jan Kolar
Kelli McClintock
Mark Zamora
Mae Mu
Dan Burton
Taneli Lahtinen

Interiors & Architecture

Finalist: Adrien Olichon

Official Judge: Sebastian Speier — Airbnb

“I had a hard time choosing — there were a few that really stood out for me. Ultimately I went with the one that looked the least manipulated while also being a really strong composition. I love the use of negative space, the angles, the cropping, and I love the mixture of structure in light, in shadow, and the sky. Each window tells a small story of its own, and I feel like humanity is an important aspect for me and it is still here despite the composition being very stark and beautiful. I would be proud to have taken this photo.”


Alexandr Bormotin
Hendri Sabri
Simone Hutsch
Joshua Fuller
Lennon Cheng
Marcus Lenk
olga serjantu
Patrick Reichboth
Matt Reames
Massimiliano Morosinotto


Finalist: Simone Hutsch

Official Judge: Max Kaplun — SSENSE

“Minimalism has become a catch-all term describing aesthetics that are often decidedly formal and deadpan in nature.

Simone’s photo is by no measure the most minimalist image in framing or subject matter, but it stood out by avoiding the genre’s clichés.

It doesn’t look like a desktop wallpaper, or WeWork conference room art. There is an artificial flat quality to it that feels very graphic and striking without trying too hard.”


Ales Krivec
Michal Zych
Guilherme Stecanella
Joe Green
Kiran CK
Krzysztof Kowalik
Alex Gruber
Ricardo Gomez Angel
Modern Affliction
John Fowler

Mobile Photography

Finalist: Aurélien BAUD

Official Judge: Nina Mehta — Mailchimp

“The play on proportions and color directs the viewer directly into eye contact with the subject. This image captures emotional hardness with the angles, structures, and block colors to match the body language and tone. This photo shows how close a mobile camera can bring us into the stories of others. Rich portrait, ready for an album cover.”


Charlota Blunarova
Eugene Chystiakov
kim jifu
Lennon Cheng
Lennon Cheng
Kaiyu Wu
Patrick Schöpflin
Robson Hatsukami Morgan
Alexey Malakhov
Valik Chernetskyi

People & Diversity

Finalist: Yannes Kiefer

Official Judge: Amber Venerable — Condé Nast

“I love the colors in the shot and the way they play off of each other. I love seeing the lines in her face and the pierce in her eyes. Those things together create a great portrait.”


Ahmadreza Najafi
Alex Azabache
Azamat Zhanisov
JJ Jordan
Katerina Kerdi
Anton Levin
Markus Stephen Griffiths
Matheus Ferrero
Peinge Nakale

Products & Brands

Finalist: Francesca Grima

Official Judge: Melissa Chai — Etsy

“The photo has taken an editorial lens that is clean and concise. This image brings the products to life through elevating the products. I appreciate the combination of tone and shadow play. I can see this image used in a magazine editorial on a shop feature.”


Alexander Andrews
Alex Azabache
Eugene Chystiakov
Hunter Newton
Julius Drost
Marko Blažević
Monica Silva
Marcin Skalij
Yannes Kiefer

Street Photography

Finalist: Bahram Bayat

Official Judge: Viviane Labelle — Nike

“I love that there are many ways to interpret this image. I see two contrasting worlds; one very dark and flat, and the other is rich, luminous, textured and alive. I like to imagine that the latter world is slowly spreading and taking over the dark world. The climbing plant just transformed a black dress into a beautiful floral one.”


Alvaro Matzumura
Donald Martinez
Lewis Parsons
Jaanus Jagomägi
Julius Drost
Sacha Styles
samuel sng
Samuele Giglio
Stephen Meslin
Yannes Kiefer


The Community Award recognizes key Unsplash contributors for their involvement in the community throughout the year. From sharing their feedback over on slack, to cheering their fellow photographers on over on Twitter — here are a few people that Unsplash can’t live without.

Priscilla Du Preez

Priscilla often reaches out to encourage others and is consistently creating images that are useful and creative. Since joining in 2016, she’s always thinking about how her images can be useful to others.

Ashkan Forouzani

Ashkan generously shares beautiful photos and is continuously helping everyone improve their photography. He’s always willing to answer questions and offer feedback to the community.

James Lee

James is passionate about the open photography movement, contributing many beautiful photos, but also encouraging and promoting other photographers and engaging the community on social media. He’s an ever-present and positive influence for the whole community.

Lawrson Pinson

Lawrson is passionate about pushing photography forward to help others and support his local community of photographers in Atlanta as well. His photographs to raise awareness for those suffering in Sudan was an example of this.

Mat Reding

Mat is a strong advocate for the open photography movement and always inspiring others with his work. He’s an active member in the community offering support and welcoming new people to the platform.

Claudio Schwarz

Claudio is an extremely positive presence in the community. Whether it’s helping someone in the Unsplash community chat or sharing stunning photos, he’s always there to give encouragement to everyone.

Friends & Partners

And finally, none of this would be possible without our amazing judges and partners for the third edition of the Unsplash Awards, who’ve strengthened the voice of the open photography movement and done such a tremendous job supporting our community this year.

Unsplash Blog

Behind the scenes building the open photography movement at…