National Geographic Announces Winners of the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest

picture of 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest winner

Photo by Jassen Todorov, 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest


Selected from nearly 10,000 entries, a photo of thousands of recalled Volkswagen and Audi cars sitting idly in the Mojave Desert has been chosen as the grand-prize winner of the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. The photo, titled “Unreal,” was captured by Jassen Todorov of the United States. He has won ,000 and will have his winning image featured on the @NatGeo Instagram account.

A concert violinist by trade, Todorov began soaring above the ground in the early 2000s, eventually becoming a flight instructor and igniting his passion to visually capture the aerial world below—including both epic beauty and environmental challenges.

“When I fly long distances, I listen to a lot of music. I’m able to combine music, flying, and photography. Music has a lot to do with structure and composition, colors and patterns, moods and characters—when I am looking at a photo, I am thinking about the same things,” Todorov said.

Simultaneously flying, communicating with airport control, and photographing is a juggling act Todorov has refined over the years. What he was able to capture was incredible.

On the importance of the photo, Todorov said, “By capturing scenes like this one, I hope we will all become more conscious and more caring for our beautiful planet.”

Pim Volkers of Laren, Netherlands, won first place in the Wildlife category for a photo of wildebeest crossing the Mara River in Tanzania. Mia Collis of Westlands, Kenya, won first place in the People category for a portrait David Muyochokera on his last day working at his studio in Kibera, Nairobi.

Contestants submitted photographs in three categories – People, Places and Wildlife. Submitted photos also joined National Geographic’s photography community, Your Shot. The photos were judged by a panel of National Geographic photo editors. All of the winning photos, along with the honorable mentions, may be viewed at

For more on the winning photograph, see the full story HERE.

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Kelsey Taylor,, (202) 912 6776

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