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Travel Photography Scholarship 2011 - Winner Announced!

WORLDWIDE | Thursday, 1 December 2011 | Views [52616] | Comments [16]

Photo by Walid Rashid

Photo by Walid Rashid

On behalf of World Nomads and National Geographic Channel we would like to thank each and every one of you for sharing your talent and creativity by applying to our 2011 Travel Photography Scholarship. As happens each year, you continue to raise the bar with your poignant and captivating photos and the amazing stories from across the globe that accompany them.

You did not make our task an easy one when we set out to create a shortlist and pick the winner. We are so thrilled to know that such a deep pool of talented, budding photographers are out there capturing our world. 

Congratulations to you all!

Judging Panel - General Feedback

Unfortunately we don't have the resources to comment on each individual entry, but there has been some general feedback from the judges which you might find useful when applying next year.

It is important to demonstrate that you can read and interpret a brief correctly, by making sure you carefully consider the judging criteria before submitting your photos. We include the video blog from Jason Edwards to make the criteria as clear as possible. Even so, we still had a number of entries who submitted fantastic photos but did not provide any captions for their photos and/or did not fulfill the brief of a 300 word maximum essay.

The Scholarship is a learning/mentoring opportunity, and we want you to tell us what have you captured, who you are are and why you should be the one person chosen to be mentored by a National Geographic photographer. If you didn't fulfill each and every part of the judging criteria, you would have been penalised accordingly. When a competition is as competitive as this, every point in the judging process is crucial. As a reminder these included; composition, exposure, originality, story, opinion, depth, captioning, reason for why you should win (max 300 word essay), willingness to learn and, contribution to photography.

Overall, the standard of submitted photos was excellent so we cannot fault you there! But some people did let themselves down by not fulfilling all of the brief.

So without further ado, we give you the winner...

1st Place - Kawah Ijen: Hope in the Inferno

Walid Rashid (Lebanon)

I’d like to congratulate Walid on his wonderful series featuring men working in a toxic sulphur mine. His images are a collection of wonderful compositions that strive to place the labourers within their environment whilst communicating their struggle and obvious dedication to their families. I was very pleased to see such a well-balanced mix of environmental portraiture and landscape within the set. I was also very happy to see Walid avoid the cliché mining image so common today, very well done!

UPDATE! Read Walid's blog and check out his photos from his assignment in South Africa.

2nd Place - Eiderdown

Ingolfurb Bjargmundsson(Iceland)

Congratulations to Ingolfurb for a clear and concise snapshot into the lives and struggles of Eider Duck farmers. I loved his use of lines to encapsulate the scene and more importantly his use of negative space to take me into this isolated farm environment. I thought the fox prints on the wall a fantastic addition to the set.

3rd Place (Equal) - Rural Living

Gunta Podina (Sweden)

Gunta’s heartfelt essay on the struggles of the elderly in a Latvian village was not only beautifully photographed but also insightful and thought provoking. Her composition sucked me into the world of this forgotten generation aided by wonderful exposure.

3rd Place (Equal) - Mayurakshi in Birbhum

Debashis Chandra (India)

As soon as I viewed Debashis' images of the Birbhum fisherwomen I just wanted to be there! Not only to photograph this scene myself but also to share the experience with Debashis who so obviously felt an affinity with her subjects. It was nice to see a set of images that had a very obvious timeline i.e. a day in the life, as opposed to a set representing an overview of a ‘place’.

4th Place - Grainfed Photo

Adrian Smith (Canada)

One of the simplest ways of endearing yourself to a wider audience photographically is to capture something that touches on a simpler way of life, an ‘ideal’ if you like. Adrian’s series about a family day at the farm does exactly that. Simple yet clever compositions, smart choices in the time of day and a very strong sense of place all combined to create a lovely essay.

The Shortlist (in alphabetical order)

Angela Radulescu (USA) - Finding Old Shatterhand

Annabel Candy (Australia) – Get in the Hot Spot

Antione Reveau (France) – Bagan behind the scene

Bianca Anderson (Spain) – Tales from a 35 litre backpack

Bryce Hughes (UK) – Stranger on the Streets of London

Catherine Jaffee (USA) - Chronicle of a Trottingglobe

Chris Tanner (USA) – The Village

Clancy Lethbridge (Australia) – A Japanese Story

Doug Wayne (Canada) – The Mesh Life in Jurujuba

Emlyn Crockett (Australia) – A Brief Step into Cambodia

Felix Lowe (Australia) – Rock to Ring: Diamonnds in Siberia

Grace Lee (USA) – The Light in your Eyes

Hannah Robinson (Australia) – The Last Nomad

Hema Narayanan (India) – Faith & Life in Ladakh

Ilan Zvuluni (Israel) – Radio & Times

Jessica Sartini (Australia) – Along the Roads of the Kingdom of Morocco

Joachim Neilandt (Belgium) – Sights

Julie Hockensmith (USA) – A Small Village in Sri Lanka

Kristen Bacon (USA) – Appalachia

Leyland Cecco (Egypt) – Ceccout Egypt

Matiinu Ramadhan (Indonesia) – The Cikapundung Kids

Mohammad Amin Ahangari (Iran) – No Pain, No Gain

Nazrul Haider Chowdhury (Bangledesh) – In the Valley of Banderban

Nicolas Rakotopare (Australia) – Unseen Durbar Square – Kathmandu

Penny Kittel (Australia) – The Arena

Rhysg Gwyn (Australia) – The Story of Cobra

Richard Fairbrother (China) – A long winter in Beijing

Sarah Pragnell (Australia) – Laugh. Love. Eat. Create. Travel.

SureshBabu Korangi (India) – Countryside

Taushik Mandal (India) – Julaaay!

Victoria Schuller (Cambodia) – Children of Cambodia

Zaki Habibi (Australia) – tranquility

What's Next?

Congratulations to Walid Rashid, and everyone who was shortlisted or placed. We will keep you posted on Walid's trip to South Africa with Jason Edwards and the resulting photos.

We look forward to seeing everyone's new work next year! To stay up to date on scholarship news and for upcoming opportunities, don't forget to sign up to our Scholarship mailing list.


A Final Thought from Jason Edwards

It seems only a moment ago I was boarding a plane for Bhutan and now here we are with our 2011 winner, Walid. Congratulations!

Every year I marvel at all that I’ve had the privilege to experience and photograph and also all of the wonderful people I’ve met along the way. I feel that way about this Scholarship now, we’ve become somewhat of a family finding long lost cousins and making new friends every year.

For myself 2011 has been a little different, for a start I have been shooting but a lot less; I’ve been travelling but also a lot less. I lost four months to illness, possibly penance for my wayward lifestyle, and in between smaller photographic projects attempted with my assistant Katie to edit a couple of hundred thousand frames, about 27 shoot folders to be exact. And we’re still going…

I was also back in Washington meeting with Editors and friends at National Geographic so if it’s any consolation the harsh eye I’ve focussed on your entries has likewise been turned inwardly. The result was a mix of surprise, frustration, pride and pinch of self-loathing and flagellation.

The quality of entries rose again this year so the judging was even more cutthroat if that was at all possible. It was wonderful to see such a variety of stories told in so many ways and from so many countries. However, it still surprises me how few people focus the eye on their local community but there you have it, you all like to travel it seems!

Winning the Scholarship is not simply a matter of selecting the best imagery but in finding the individual we felt would benefit the most from time with me and in turn what they hoped to achieve through their photography. This year that element of the judging became more difficult as people chose to ignore the judging criteria in far larger numbers.

Many people seemed troubled talking about themselves wasting valuable words describing things that should have been in their captioning. So many people didn’t tell me what they wanted to gain from the experience or even what they hoped to learn. Some people chose not to even caption their images, a major omission… Ignore the judging process criteria at your own peril!

In closing congratulations to everyone that took the time to produce a portfolio and enter. This in itself is a great exercise and strengthens your photographic ability in ways you may not realise. Please remember, what is most important about your images is what you capture at the time, not what you do in post production. Enjoy your photography as a creative expression of who you are and your place in the world. I hope to see you all again next year!

Best Wishes


Travel. Learn. Create.

For all of you aspiring creatives, check out our Scholarships page and sign up to hear about our latest opportunities, tips, advice and interviews with industry professionals in the fields of photography, travel writing and filmmaking.

And if you're lucky enough to be mentored by one of our industry professionals, it could kick start your career!

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congratulations to the winners. Walid, make the most of your time with Jason. Will look forward to your pictures.

  inanc Dec 1, 2011 6:36 PM


Wow! An amazing standard of entries this year - congratulations Walid!!

  Anna Zhu Dec 1, 2011 8:24 PM


Congratulations to Walid, enjoy the ride mate !!!
I have to say, this was a very good and suspenseful experience for me and my photos.
It makes me want to do better next time.
Jason, see you next year :)

  images_in_air Dec 1, 2011 8:40 PM


Well bravoo

  musawar massan Dec 1, 2011 11:07 PM


Thank you Worldnomads, National Geographic and Gap Adventures for this opportunity, you have made my longlife dream come true, it has been quite a challenge with lots of amazing photography from all the participants. I look forward to be mentored by Jason on this trip and will share with you my experiences and some unique photos.

Walid Rashid

  Walid Rashid Dec 1, 2011 11:16 PM


Congratulations Cousin

Allah Ma3oo Walid

  Karim Dec 2, 2011 7:50 AM


Congrds Walid Rashid!!!! have fun in Africa.

  Dilshaan Dec 3, 2011 6:35 PM


Congratulations, nice pictures !!

  ours Dec 4, 2011 5:21 AM


Walid, dreams do 'come' true when you chase them with perseverance. Looks like you have! Hearty Congratulations on your series. Have an enriching trip with Jason to South Africa.

Jason, I can only understand how hard it must have been for you esp when the quality of work is so supreme this time! Look fwd to hearing from you often on this forum.

Yes it is a Dream for me too :-) but I am glad my work at least got shortlisted. Thanks for liking my series Jason!


  Hema Narayanan Dec 4, 2011 9:26 PM


I am beyond excited to be short listed! This is my first competition, so I now have the courage to try harder and work toward more! I am also excited for Walid and his opportunity. I can't wait to see the photographs. The final entries this year were incredible. Congrats to everyone and light to all.

  Julie H. Dec 4, 2011 10:10 PM


Congrats Julie. Congrats to all those who have made it to the final shortlist and the winners.

Jason, is THERE any way, you can send some comments to the shortlisted series? I would be encouraged and very interested in knowing what your comments!


  Hema Narayanan Dec 4, 2011 10:44 PM


Congrats Walid!!!! Enjoy South Africa!!!! And don't stop asking Jason :) Looking forward to see your work!

Good luck to you too Jason :)

M. Beretta

  Maria Beretta Dec 8, 2011 2:30 AM


What can I say! I'm so happy to be among the elite here! Gives me more impetus to do much better next time around! Congratulations to Walid and all the best of luck for the assignment in South Africa!

  Taushik Mandal Dec 20, 2011 5:15 PM


congratulations walid..have a safe trip..

  dhianne Jan 18, 2012 9:43 AM


Many thanks to World Nomads and National Geographic Channel for the wonderful opportunity. It was an honour to be short-listed: thank you! Walid, huge congratulations!

  Emlyn Feb 10, 2012 6:45 PM


Congratulations, nice pictures !!

  lifestyle Mar 28, 2012 5:05 PM

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