Istanbul Photo Awards ‘one of the most important, prestigious contests’

Contest includes many jury members with lots of experience in field of photojournalism, says prize winner

The Istanbul Photo Awards is one of the most important and prestigious contests in recent years mainly because it includes many jury members who have significant experience in the field of photojournalism, said Greek photojournalist Konstantinos Tsakalidis, this year’s Photo of the Year winner.

While the world was facing deadly viruses, climate crises, wars, conflicts and disasters, photojournalists continued to take their responsibilities seriously to reflect the real world with incredible photos.

Even though this period has been a tough one, Anadolu Agency’s Istanbul Photo Awards contest has proven the power of photos when trying to understand what the real world is all about.

As the winners were announced in all categories, Tsakalidis, who also works for Bloomberg, shared the story behind his award-winning photo “Woman from Evia” and expressed how he felt after being deemed worthy of the award.

Noting that the photo was taken in the village of Gouves on Greece’s Evia Island on Aug. 8, 2021, Tsakalidis said he left the observation point where he could view a wildfire with other colleagues and approached the village despite the growing fires in the area.

“I thought that if the fire had really approached the houses, these would be the images that would most vividly describe the disaster and the consequences of the climate crisis we’ve lived with in recent years,” he said.

There, he came across the woman in the picture shouting towards her house as her husband was still in the backyard, telling him about “all the hard work they had put into their home” and “the lack of government intervention to put out the fire.”

“As she was telling me this, the flames swallowed up the pine forest behind the house. That's the moment I took the picture,” he said, describing the moment as “very intense and moving.”

He recounted the difficulties he had during that time, noting: “This was the first time I covered, as a photojournalist, a fire with such a scale, and I can say that I was a little bit afraid of showing this situation.”

Emphasizing that he and his colleagues’ safety was one of his priorities back then to be able to go to the area every day to take more pictures, Tsakalidis also spoke about the techniques he used, where he tried to have the same colors both in his photo and the environment as “it was a strange situation.”

“In this story of Evia, I just followed my instincts,” he said, adding “I think that you need courage and a strong character to follow the stories.”

About what “Woman from Evia” meant for him, Tsakalidis noted: “I think that this image describes in the best way the despair and sadness of the local people of Evia Island about the destruction of the natural environment as well as the negligence of the state in extinguishing the fire in its beginning.”

Fairer world

Meanwhile, he touched on the responsibilities of photojournalists and the power of their work, asserting that he doesn’t believe that only one photo could change the whole world.

“Maybe we can make the world and how politicians behave towards the people in a fairer way,” he said.

Mentioning that photojournalists have “the greatest responsibility” when demonstrating the reality to people, he said: “We have to be very confident and aware of the information we transmit both so the events and our text follow the picture.”

“I think the most important thing is that we have to help eradicate misinformation now more than ever,” he said, referring to how technological developments have affected today’s world.

However, he also pointed out some positive details about the developments in photojournalism.

“Technological developments in photographic equipment have had a very positive effect on reportage by improving the image quality, flexibility in file transmission and reducing the size and weight of the equipment.”

“It is easier and healthier for a human body to carry all the stuff,” he added.

Great honor

Recounting about how he first heard that he was granted the Photo of the Year award in the contest, he said: “It’s a great honor for me that my photo has been recognized.”

“The Istanbul Photo Awards is one of the most important and prestigious contests in recent years in the photography industry mainly because of the jury members and not only prizes,” he said.

“In this contest, we have a lot of members in the jury who have experience in the field of photojournalism as photographers and editors.”

Tsakalidis also made some important recommendations for new photojournalists and those who want to become a photojournalist.

“My only suggestion for them is to go outside and follow the news, because if you are not present in front of a huge event, you can’t take anything. Try it more and more every day and follow your instinct.

“To shoot strong images, you have to be there during the incident. Maybe then you can shoot something important. You never know,” he added.

About the difference between being a freelancer and working full-time for a corporation, he stressed that it has not always been easy for him while freelancing, as he didn’t have “a constant salary every month.”

Also, freelancers have to “follow every news event to create something every day,” he said, adding it is not “so bad” because then “you can decide what you can cover outside about the news or which story you want to follow. You don’t have a boss over your shoulder.”

However, he also underscored the need for a well-known corporation to work with in situations like the Russian war on Ukraine, saying “it’s very difficult to follow this story as a freelancer. You need very big support both for your safety and for managing the budget.”

Information related to the 2022 jury and award-winning photographs can be accessed via the website

Istanbul Photo Awards 2022 winners announced

Bloomberg photographer Konstantinos Tsakalidis wins Photo of the Year award with his work ‘Woman from Evia’

Bloomberg photographer Konstantinos Tsakalidis' photo titled "Woman from Evia" won the Photo of the Year award at the Istanbul Photo Awards, the eighth edition of the annual international photography contest held by Anadolu Agency to support photojournalists.

A prestigious jury selected the award-winning photographs for the Istanbul Photo Awards 2022.

Tsakalidis' photo was selected among more than 16,000 photographs submitted from different parts of the world. 

In the Single News category, Getty Images photojournalist Drew Angerer received second prize for his work, in which he captured the violent Jan. 6 siege on the US Capitol.

AFP photojournalist Paul Ratje won the third-place award with his photograph reflecting the difficulties faced by refugees who try to enter an encampment in Texas.

Professional photojournalists entered the contest with photos demonstrating last year's global events, from the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan to floods in Indonesia, from the Australian Open tennis tournament to protests over the UK's coronavirus restrictions.

Two finalists were awarded at the suggestion of jury members in the Story Portrait category, in total, 19 photographers received prizes in seven categories.

This year, the contest was supported by Canon, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Turkish Airlines (THY), the nation's flag carrier.

The jury members selected the winners through a platform designed exclusively for the contest by the Anadolu Agency Information Technologies team due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

'Istanbul Photo Awards will continue to support the photography sector'

Speaking about this year's contest, Serdar Karagoz, the agency's director general, said the power of photos extends news content beyond language, space and time.

He praised photojournalists for continuing their work with dedication despite the disruption to normal life due to the pandemic.

Noting that the importance of the quality of the photographs submitted is increasing every year and the jury members are speaking highly of the organization, he continued: "I would like to thank all the photographers who made us witnesses of the anxiety of the California fires, the excitement of the Olympic Games, and the heartbreaking moments in refugee camps. Additionally, I thank each jury member for their invaluable contributions to the contest."

He stressed that Anadolu Agency will continue to support photography in the coming years with the Istanbul Photo Awards, which has turned into a platform that all professional photographers in the world wait for with interest.

Congratulating Mehmet Aslan, who received the first prize for "Single Nature and Environment" with his photo that exposes the effects of drought, Karagoz said: "Special news projects spanning several years will be evaluated in the long-term projects category that we will open next year."

Information related to the jury and award-winning photographs can be accessed via the website (

Istanbul Photo Awards jury set to select 2022 winners

Jury of Anadolu Agency’s international news photo contest gathers online to review over 16,000 photos

The distinguished jury of the Istanbul Photo Awards 2022 on Thursday started their work reviewing thousands of entries from hopeful photographers worldwide.  

For the eighth edition of the contest from Anadolu Agency, Turkiye’s premier news source, the jury sessions are being held online due to coronavirus measures. The members of the jury logged in from eight different countries to select last year's best photos.

This year's jury brings together prestigious figures from the world of photography, including National Geographic photographer and filmmaker Ami Vitale, photojournalist Carol Guzy, Reuters photojournalist Goran Tomasevic, NOOR Agency photojournalist Yuri Kozyrev, visual storyteller Marion Mertens, former AFP Director of Photo Business Development Michel Scotto, Getty Images chief sports photojournalist Cameron Spencer, photojournalist Ahmet Sel, and Firat Yurdakul, the Editor-in-Chief of Anadolu Agency’s Visual News Department.

The winners will be announced at the end of March after a three-day selection process done through a platform specially prepared for the contest by Anadolu Agency's dedicated tech team.

Over 16,000 photos taken by 1,482 professional photojournalists from 113 different nationalities were entered by the Feb. 15 deadline in seven categories: Single News, Story News, Single Sports, Story Sports, Single Nature and Environment, Canon Story Daily Life, and Story Portrait.

The winner of the Photo of the Year – the Single News category first prize winner – will be awarded $6,000.

Winners in other categories will be awarded $3,000 for first prize, $1,500 for second prize, and $1,000 for third. Only the first prize will be awarded in the Story Daily Life and Story Portrait categories. In addition to the awards, this year the first prize winners will be awarded Canon cameras.

The contest, now a dedicated platform with 14,000 users, contributes to photography with exhibits and photo albums containing winning photos, as well as the prize money it distributes.

Information on all jury members of the contest and the award-winning photos from previous years can be accessed at

This year the contest is supported by Canon, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), and Turkish Airlines, the nation’s flag carrier.

2022 Call for Entry

Anadolu  Agency’s international news photography contest Istanbul Photo Awards 2022 application deadline is Feb. 15, 2022. Professional photographers may apply to the contest in 7 categories via The winner of the Photo of the Year will receive $ 6.000. First prize winners will also be awarded a Canon camera. Winners will be selected by prestigious jury  members in March. Award-winning photos will be published in photobooks and displayed at international exhibitions.

Istanbul Photo Awards ‘important contest for photojournalists’

Competition is like a ‘rendezvous’ that photojournalists were all waiting for, says prize winner

The Istanbul Photo Awards is an important contest for photojournalists and something the community waits for eagerly, said photojournalist Alain Schroeder, first prize winner in the awards’ 2021 Story Sports category.

Amid the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the whole world was filled with concerns and trying to hold onto everyday life, Anadolu Agency’s Istanbul Photo Awards still managed to reflect unforgettable events with the undeniable power of photos.

Schroeder is among a group of photojournalists who spent nearly three months in lockdown in an apartment in Kazakhstan’s capital Nur Sultan after he arrived to take photos of the traditional Kok Boru horse games in March 2020.

Since measures taken by the Kazakh government meant he could not shoot the games as he had to stay indoors, he said that he came back to the capital that November for another chance to cover the competition.

“I practiced finding different angles and situations that show emotion, tested contraptions with my camera,” he told Anadolu Agency, Turkiye’s premier news source.

“I spent several weeks traveling throughout the country to find playfields in exceptional places, in front of a mountain or near water.”

“Last year I won third prize in the News Category in the contest,” he added.

Mentioning how many people told him that thanks to his photos they learned about the plight of orangutans and the habitat destruction due to “illegal logging, mining and palm oil exploitation,” he underlined the power of good pictures, saying: “Photography can absolutely have an impact and make a difference.”

“The Istanbul Photo Awards is now an important contest for a photojournalist and a rendezvous we were all waiting for,” he said.

Joy of succeeding in ‘prestigious competition’

Roman Vondrous, a photojournalist at the Czech News Agency, won first prize in the Single Sports category for his work in the capital Prague.

He took photos of the football players of the Bohemians 1905 Prague thanking their fans after a match against FK Pribram on Dec. 15, 2020 at Dolicek Stadium.

Despite the ban on fans attending the match due to COVID-19 restrictions, several fans managed to watch the whole game by standing on ladders or stepladders to peer into the stadium.

“It’s not an easy thing to pay attention to the whole match while balancing on a ladder,” Vondrous told Anadolu Agency.

“It was also interesting that a lot of the fans didn’t hesitate to travel with their ladders across the whole city by public transport or by car,” he added.

“We, with my colleague, picked out one of the buildings opposite the stadium and asked the owner if we could take some pictures from it,” he said.

“We were lucky that the home team won and the players walked up to the fans to say thank you after the match. That was the exact shot we were waiting for.”

Despite the technological advances that help photojournalists take good photos in most situations, Vondrous explained: “To get an exceptional shoot you still must be in the right spot at the right time; that hasn’t changed at all.”

“Even in this complicated time we are experiencing, I am convinced that photos still have the power to display our era in an extraordinary way,” he underlined.

Mentioning that after the announcement of the Istanbul Photo Awards winners, he got lots of emails and messages of congratulations, he said: “I was really happy I managed to succeed in such a prestigious competition where the photos are judged by a reputable jury.”

He once again submitted some of his photos for the next round of the contest, and would be “really grateful for any recognition,” he added.

Vondrous also won Second Prize in the Single Sports category in 2015.

For more information on the distinguished photos honored by the Istanbul Photo Awards, visit

On the website, professional photographers can also submit entries to the 2022 contest through Feb. 15.

Winners get cash prizes, and the photos are recognized in the awards photobook and international exhibits.

The 2022 contest is supported by Canon, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), and Turkish Airlines, the nation’s flag carrier.