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These are the Winners of the 2020 Photo is Light Competition


The Photo Is Light World Photography Contest has announced its 2020 winners in six categories and, among them, the “Illuminated Photographer,” who received the highest score throughout the competition.

Warning: Some images below may not be suitable for all audiences or environments. Viewer discretion is advised.

The competition, based in Brazil, judged a large number of photographic submissions across six categories — Architecture, Fine Art, Nature, Landscape, People, and Photojournalism — and received entries from 66 different countries.

Ten entries with the highest score within each category received recognition with a digital certificate and are published online on the Photo is Light website, with the top three winners included in the count. The first-place winners also received a cash prize of $500, while the nominated “Illuminated Photographer” winner, who had the overall highest score awarded by the jury, received a total of $1000.

Below are each of the categories as well as the winners.


The winning image above, titled The Colorful Doors, was shot by Gerdie Hutomo, an Indonesia based photographer who likes to travel and captured these colorful doors on an office building in Tokyo, Japan.

Second place: Judith Kuhn
Third place: Anna Wacker

Fine Art

The first place image in this category, above, was awarded to Oksana Moroziuk for her entry titled Arrived, which embodies the photographer’s fantasies and explains that she gives “viewers an opportunity to fantasize and interpret what they see on their own.” The photographer has received numerous competition awards around the world and two of her works are stored in The State Russian Museum.

Second place: Jozed Danyi
Third place: Jack Savage


Thomas Vijayan’s image above, titled Peek a boo, won first place in the “Nature” category. The photographer captured this Pallas’ cat hiding in the snow while out photographing wild horses. At first, he didn’t even notice the animal, but the bright eyes gave its location away. Vijayan was intrigued and spent several hours observing and photographing this beautiful wild cat.

Second place: Tracey Lund
Third place: Xiangli Zhang


With the image above, titled The landscape of fear, photographer Francisco Negroni not only won first place in the “Landscape” category but was also awarded the “Illuminated Photographer” title as the overall winner of the competition.

The image was shot in the lake region in Chile, which has several active volcanoes, such as Chaiten and Calbuco. In 2015, the latter started a new eruption that terrified the locals; this phenomenon was visible from hundreds of kilometers and gave an opportunity for this apocalyptic moment captured in the photograph.

Second place: Ivan Pedretti
Third place: Xavier Mas


Titled The young breeder, the image above was shot by Roberto Pazzi and was awarded first place in this category. This portrait of a Mundari child and a herd of bulls was photographed in South Sudan. The photographer explains, “the Mundari are cattle herders of South Sudan who dedicated their lives to the care of their cattle,” and young children do a lot of the hard work looking after the animals. Pazzi has received awards in several competitions and has a permanent exposition in Singapore.

Second place: Pietro di Giambattista
Third place: Sebastiano Bellomo


Zachary Birdson won the “Photojournalism” category with his powerful entry, titled Not solved, above. Birdsong is an award-winning newspaper photographer and photographed the 5-year-old Jade Battle holding up her protest sign during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest march in Winchester, Tenessee, on June 6, 2020.

Second place: Simon Moricz Sabjan
Third place: Sebastiano Bellomo

The judging panel consisted of an international jury: editor Benjamin Leterrier (France), architect and artist Vera Odyn (Russia), and photographers Darcie Sternenberg (USA), Felipe Foncueva (Spain), Miquel Angel Artús Illana (Spain), Marcio Cabral (Brazil), Najla Angawi (Saudi Arabia), Pierluigi Rizzato (Italy), and Srinivas Kuruganti (India) who all evaluated and checked each finalist image.

All top 10 entries of each category as well as each winner’s individual stories can be viewed on Photo is Light website here.

Image credits: All photos individually credited and provided courtesy of the Photo is Light competition.