View the awe-inspiring 2019 SIPA contest winners

The Siena International Photo Awards (SIPA), now in its fifth year, is an annual photography contest that highlights awe-inspiring images from around the world; it recognizes photographers who use their skills and creativity to take a picture that captures or represents a moment or event of great impact. This year, photographers from 161 countries submitted their most daring, breathtaking photos of people, animals, urban spaces, and natural wonders.

SIPA’s descriptive categories, such as “Jump for Joy” and “Journeys & Adventures” highlight these varying styles while demonstrating that each is compelling in its own way. The section photography winners are awarded starting with 1° Classified, then 2° Classified, and then 3° Classified. Beyond that are the honourable mentions and remarkable artworks.

"A Boy in the Crowd," 2019 winner of the SIPA contest
“A Boy in the Crowd” by Johnathan Banks. 2019 winner of the SIPA.

A Boy in the Crowd is a stunning shot of a Liberian child trying to retrieve his ball in among a tight-knit group of people while going unnoticed by the armed guard that stands just a few feet away. The image, by British photographer Jonathan Banks, captured this tension-filled moment, earning “Photo of the Year” from the SIPA. Jonathan, an award-winning professional photographer and British Red Cross volunteer, who often works with non-governmental organizations, shot the winning image in Monrovia, Liberia while working for International Alert, a peace-building organization.

“This all happened in the blink of an eye and resulted in this picture,” recalls Jonathan, “which seems to represent the precariousness of peace, as seen through the eyes of a young child with little understanding of the greater dynamics at play. All he knew was, he wanted his ball back, but also to stay safe.”

The SIPA Contest is open to professional, amateur and student photographers from around the world and judged by an international panel that includes renowned photographers, editors and photo buyers. See the photographs that took the top prize from 2019 below, and view all of the winners on the SIPA website.

2019 Siena International Photo Awards winners

“Transhumance in Spain”
“Transhumance in Spain” by Susana Giron. 1° Classified, Journeys & Adventures.

The Alarcon family is one of the last families that still work as nomadic shepherds in Europe. The phenomenon of transhumance has survived for centuries: families of shepherds migrate on foot through the territory with their animals in search of better pastures, climate and living conditions.

SIPA: “Black Rhino at Night"
“Black Rhino at Night” by William Burrard-Lucas. 1° Classified, Animals In Their Environment

This is a single exposure taken with a camera trap on a moonless night. At the start of the exposure, two flashes exposed the foreground. Since there was no moonlight, there was no ghosting effect after the initial flash.

“Joy” by Bram Paulussen. 1° Classified, Jump for Joy.

In an empty train station, the beautiful laugh of a Japanese couple seems to break the almost surreal quietness of the place.

SIPA: “Diving”
“Diving” by Maxim Korotchenko. 1° Classified, Sports in Action

Some people enjoy diving from the platforms of the pool at the water centre in the city of Astrakhan, one of the many structures of the “Star” sports centre, which also hosts a hotel for athletes and coaches.

“Close Your Eyes and Let It Go”
“Close Your Eyes and Let It Go” by Hardijanto Budiman. 1° Classified, Creative & Still Life

Standing right here and chilling. Just close your eyes and feel it. Let the wind blow your tears away. Just let it go, let it go…

SIPA: “Natural Recycling”
“Natural Recycling” by Ignacio Medem. 1° Classified, The Beauty of Nature

In less than three days, more than one hundred crocodiles manage to transform a dead hippo into fertilizer for the river.

“Multi Colour”
“Multi Colour” by Elizabeth Jenny Tane. 1° Classified, Architecture & Urban Spaces

The vibrant combination of the colours of the doors in this office complex in Tokyo makes this building very distinctive and attractive.

SIPA: “Border Patrol Academy”
“Border Patrol Academy” by Matt McClain. 1° Classified, Fascinating Faces and Characters

Erin Herrgott, 20, of Oxford, Mississippi, centre, is talked to her instructor, Howard Parsons, after arriving at the United States Border Patrol Academy on August 29, 2018.