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.

Istanbul Photo Awards announces jury for 2022 contest

National Geographic photographer, filmmaker Ami Vitale, photojournalist Carol Guzy both join this year’s jury for prestigious photo contest

The jury for the Istanbul Photo Awards 2022, organized this year for the eighth time by Anadolu Agency, Turkiye’s premier news source, has been announced.

This year’s jury for the prestigious international photo contest includes NOOR Agency photojournalist Yuri Kozyrev, Reuters photojournalist Goran Tomasevic, visual storyteller Marion Mertens, AFP Former Photo Business Development Director 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.


National Geographic photographer and filmmaker Ami Vitale, who has worked in more than 100 countries, and photojournalist Carol Guzy, who has over 40 years of experience in the field of photography, joined the jury this year.


Guzy is respected for her work in many places around the world, from Africa to the Balkans, since starting in the photography business in 1980. Specializing in long-term projects in the fields of documentary, human interest, news and feature stories, Guzy is currently a contract photographer with ZUMA Press. In addition to being the first photojournalist to win the Pulitzer Prize four times, Guzy has won numerous other international awards.


“Photographers should consider entering this prestigious competition. Awards bring recognition and give images a second life,” she said. “With a newfound awareness of the critical impact of climate change on the environment, the addition of the new nature category is immensely relevant.”

She added: “Cash prizes and camera offer assistance for future photographic endeavors.”


Vitale, who has devoted half of her professional life to publicizing to the world what is happening in international war zones, has recently been working on compelling wildlife stories.

A National Geographic photographer and member of the Advisory Board of Photographers, Vitale is actively involved in organizations aimed at protecting wildlife habitats.

The photographer, who often shares her experiences in talks and workshops programs, has racked up six World Press Photo awards along with many international awards.


The jury of the contest, which attracts hundreds of entries from professional photographers worldwide annually, will meet online on March 17-19. The winners will be announced at the end of March after the selection process, done through a platform specially prepared for the contest by Anadolu Agency's dedicated tech team.

Information on all the jury members, all of whom are prestigious members of the world of photography, can be accessed at


- Deadline for entries Feb. 15


Applications are open for professional photographers until Feb. 15, via


Participants can apply with photographs concerning the year 2021 in seven different 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.

The winners in other categories will be awarded $3,000 for first prize, $1,500 for second prize, and $1,000 for third. Only first place will be awarded in the Story Daily Life and Story Portrait categories.

In addition to the awards, this year the winners of Single News and Story Sports will receive Canon EOS R3 camera, while winners of other categories will be awarded Canon EOS R5 cameras.


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

Istanbul Photo Awards 2022 applications open

Anadolu Agency’s international news photography contest to be held for 8th time this year

Applications for the Istanbul Photo Awards 2022, Anadolu Agency’s international news photography contest, are now open.

Now in its eighth year, the Istanbul Photo Awards aim to honor and support press photographers for their professional dedication.

The competition is recognized as one of the world’s top photography contests.

Along with many staff photographers, a sizeable number of freelance journalists also enter the contest.

Only professional photographers can enter the contest, using photos of events that made headlines worldwide in 2021.

Entries are being accepted in seven categories: Single News, Story News, Single Sports, Story Sports, Single Nature and Environment, Canon Story Daily Life, and Story Portrait.

This year, three awards will be given in the Single Nature and Environment category, featuring works in the field of the environment, one of the world’s most pressing issues.

Applications will be open to all published and unpublished works from all over the world.

The contest jury, featuring star-studded figures from the photography world, will award the best photos in March.

Terms and conditions for applications can be found at the contest website. Entries will be evaluated based on multiple factors such as technique, perspective, movement, and feeling.

The Photo of the Year award will be given to the photograph that is first in the Single News category, and the photographer will be awarded $6,000.

The first place winners in each category will be awarded $3,000, the second place winners $1,500, and the third place winners $1,000. The Story Daily Life and Story Portrait categories will have first place winners exclusively.

Besides cash prizes, first prize winners this year will win a Canon camera, Canon EOS R3 to single news and story sports and in other categories Canon EOS R5.

The contest, which attracts thousands of applications every year, is supported by Canon, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), and Turkish Airlines.

Applications are available at through Feb. 15.

Award-winning sports photographer speaks in Istanbul

Seasoned Getty Images photojournalist Adam Pretty talks about his work behind camera at show of selections from Istanbul Photo Awards

An award-winning sports photographer from Australia on Friday spoke about his secrets for capturing eye-catching images, as well as his experience taking pictures at the Olympic games.

Adam Pretty, a photojournalist with Getty Images, spoke at a special Istanbul exhibition of selections from the Istanbul Photo Awards, an international photography contest held by Anadolu Agency.

The talk, held at the Energy Museum at Bilgi University’s santralistanbul complex, was moderated by Atilgan Ozdil, a chief photographer at Anadolu Agency.

Ozdil asked Pretty, who has so far won honors in four Istanbul Photo Awards, including third place in this year's Single Sports category, what his "secret" is for winning contests.

"I've always sort of tried to be part of the Istanbul Photo Awards," he explained. "I think it's important to support photo awards wherever they are in the world."

He said it was "obviously important" to him that Istanbul Photo Awards includes sports coverage, adding: "Also, it's just a different opportunity to reach another market, as well as a bunch of people who still want to look at photography."

Shooting the Olympics

The seasoned photojournalist told the audience that he still got nervous before covering big events like the Olympics.

"If you're at a big event, you know, you only get one chance with that picture. And you’re competing against a lot of other photographers from around the world."

For some assignments, Pretty said, he would start preparing even a year or six months in advance. "Other times, I like to go to a venue totally blind and just go in and see what I see."

He said that his best work often emerges with a degree of spontaneity, when he is able to act “on instinct” rather than thinking too much.

Pretty said that when he starts putting too much thought into his work, it tends to be "a little bit more static or lacks a bit of life."

"So, I think it's a bit of a mixture," he explained, adding that to cover the Olympics, "you need to plan," as there are strict rules and accreditation regulations for photographers.

He also recalled his experience during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which were only held in 2021 under strict coronavirus measures, and how he used the runup to the competition.

"I spend a few days or a week before, without all my decisions (made) about what to do,” he said, adding that this gave him “the chance to shoot something different.”

Pretty told how while attending a session of the Tokyo Games, he was able to ask a supervisor if he could go under the water to take photos.

When the actual race starts, he said "it's much more strict. You know you're stuck in a position."

Technology and photography

According to Pretty, technology helps photographers a great deal. "It's also made the competition get much better."

"When I started, sort of 20-25 years ago, the best sports photographers were the ones who put the men in focus the best. And then autofocus came in and almost anyone could do that," he recalled.

But he still sees the person behind the lens as key, saying: “I still believe the camera doesn't take a picture by itself. Image has that vision. So, I think if you want to stay on top of the game, you need to have something else than just technology."

Istanbul Photo Awards exhibition kicks off in Turkish metropolis

In opening speech, Anadolu Agency's deputy director general says event is more impactful every year

The third exhibition of Istanbul Photo Awards, an international photography contest held by Anadolu Agency to support photojournalism, opened to visitors on Thursday, Dec. 2.

The award-winning photos of the contest will be presented at the Bilgi University santralistanbul Campus Energy Museum until Dec. 10.

Delivering the opening remarks of the event, Anadolu Agency's Deputy Director General Oguz Enis Peru started with this year's photo of the year, taken by Bangladeshi photographer Mohammed Shajahan during the coronavirus pandemic.

The image Shajahan captured, Peru said, "summarizes the fight against the coronavirus since 2019 with this single frame, making us feel the story that thousands of words try to tell."

He added that Istanbul Photo Awards was an annual project "meant to recognize the efforts of distinguished photographers, efforts that we have witnessed most closely."

Noting that Istanbul Photo Awards 2021 marked the event's seventh edition, Peru said the contest's worldwide impact becomes greater with each passing year.

Photographers from 96 different nationalities participated in the contest this year with around 15,000 photos submitted, he added.

3rd prize winner: Adam Pretty

Adam Pretty, a photojournalist with Getty Images and winner of third prize in this year's Single Sports category, was also present at the opening ceremony, saying it was a "great honor and privilege" to come to Istanbul for the first time in 17 years.

"I think Istanbul (Photo) Awards are fantastic photographic awards," he told Anadolu Agency. "If you can spread the word about photojournalism across the world, in different countries, cultures, I think it's a really positive thing."

He underlined that the event was "one of the awards that's really prestigious and highly looked upon." "The exhibition, the book they publish, it all helps and it's done in a really good way," he added.

Being awarded for his work and having his photographs exhibited around the world is a "positive thing," said Pretty. "I think as a storyteller, that's kind of what I want to do. It's the driving goal behind what I'm trying to do."

On the importance of sports journalism during the pandemic, he said: "Especially in the last couple of years with the whole COVID pandemic, sports played a really big part in helping people through it."

"Hopefully, that's the story behind my picture as well," he said, speaking of the award-winning photograph he took, titled "Log Pile Bouldering," of an athlete in Germany.

The image, he said, is the story of one person as well as how they survived COVID pandemic by keeping on with their training and their physical exercise.

A special selection of photos featuring events that marked the last year, from lachrymose scenes of the COVID-19 pandemic to the explosion in Beirut and the Superbike World Championship, are expecting visitors.