The best camera may be indeed be your phone; these winners of the 2015 iPhone Photography Awards prove that great imagery can be captured with even the smallest of cameras. They beat out thousands of entries from 120 countries around the world in the annual IPPAWARDS.
Michał Koralewski - 1st Place, Photographer of the Year
Michal Koralewski of Koziegłowy, Poland came across this striking moment as he strolled through a market square in Warsaw. "His face was the first thing I noticed," Koralewski says, "so expressive and beautiful in it's own way. It was like an open book. You could almost read his life story from the wrinkles."
Credit: Michał Koralewski
iPhone Photographer of the Year
David Craik - 2nd Place, Photographer of the Year
The only restriction on a photographer is his or her own imagination, according to David Craik of Surrey, United Kingdom. This philosophy shines through in his photo of Starlings that came to snatch crumbs off his table at a coastal cafe in the UK.
"After the first bird landed and I saw the shadow on the white wall behind it," Craik explained, "I knew this was a great image to be captured."
Craik's experience as a wildlife photographer showed him that you can rarely force a photo to happen. Patience is key. "Some may think I'm mad," he said, "but one of the most exciting things about wildlife photography is the waiting."
Credit: David Craik
iPhone Photographer of the Year
Yvonne Lu - 3rd Place, Photographer of the Year
Yvonne Lu of New York captured a quiet yet captivating image of a couple on a train. She noticed the pair as she travelled through the Hudson River Valley on her way home to New York City.
Lu, whose Chinese name is Yichieh, is a Taiwan-born fine arts photographer.
Credit: Yvonne Lu
1st Place - Abstract
Ben Schuyler - 1st Place, Abstract
There are times when two disparate images, like this natural setting and the woman in the blue robe, come together to form a beautiful image. Ben Schuyler of Seattle, Washington took this photo as part of a series called "Come All Ye Saints."
He is currently traveling America to document life on the road for his project "When the Road is Home," an exploration of mobile living.
Credit: Ben Schuyler
1st Place - Animals
Sephi Bergerson - 1st Place, Animals
After more than 10 years as an advertising and commercial photographer, Sephi Bergerson closed his studio in 2002 and moved to Goa, India with his wife and 10-month-old baby girl to follow his dream of becoming a documentary photographer. His most inspiring photo projects address cultural and humanitarian issues from polio and HIV to rural development and education.
Credit: Sephi Bergerson
1st Place - Architecture
Christian Frank - 1st Place, Architecture
Originally from Bavaria, Christian Frank is currently studying Interior and Products Design in Germany at the Academy of Arts in Stuttgart.
Frank: "This photo shows the central library of Stuttgart. You can often find photographers there trying to catch the beautiful light coming through the book shelves. On this evening I was able to bring together the light, inner architecture and the best position."
Credit: Christian Frank
1st Place - Children
Jeremy Kern - 1st Place, Children
Jeremy Kern of Washington, D.C. is an amateur photographer and pediatric hospitalist at the Children's National Medical Center. Once a year, Kern travels to a medical facility in rural Haiti as part of Project MediShare.
Kern: "This particular photo was taken during my third trip to Haiti in the Central Plateau outside of Thomonde, where news of our arrival travels by word of mouth. On this particular day, we were stationed in a cinder block schoolhouse... Children who are waiting to be seen were peeking through the window curious to get a glimpse of the foreign doctor teams."
Credit: Jeremy Kern
1st Place - Flowers
Amy Paterson - 1st Place, Flowers
Amy Paterson is a 23-year-old writer, born and bred in Cape Town, South Africa.
Patterson said, "I took this photo at Silvermine Nature Reserve while surveying the charred aftermath of the fires that ravaged Cape Town in March of this year. These are proteas, which is our national flower and a type of fynbos that has adapted to fire over millions of years."
Credit: Amy Paterson
1st Place - Food
Xu Lin - 1st Place, Food
Xu Lin of Qing Dao City, China says of the award-winning photograph: "This photo was taken in the middle of Yangtze River where people dry the fish they catch and transform them into delicious cuisine. Taking pictures is a daily routine to me--like a diary."
Credit: Xu Lin
1st Place - Landscape
Chris Belcina - 1st Place, Landscape
A nurse by profession, Chris Belcina of Cooper City, Florida is a self-taught photographer. His winning photo was taken while visiting the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
Belcina: "iPhone photography has taught me to find my own style and helped me think creatively, turning ordinary moments into magical ones, capturing details that we often take for granted."
Credit: Chris Belcina
1st Place - Lifestyle
Fabio Alvarez - 1st Place, Lifestyle
Fabio Alvarez is an Ecuador-based designer and iPhone photographer.
Alvarez: "I wanted to capture the passion that Brazilians have for [soccer] with this image."
Credit: Fabio Alvarez
1st Place - Nature
Yvonne Naughton - 1st Place, Nature
In addition to being a self-proclaimed "accidental photographer," Yvonne Naughton of La Conner, Washington is a part-time pediatrician.
Naughton: "The photo was taken on one of my daily morning dog walks on Snee Oosh beach last October. It was a moody Pacific Northwest day with a thick fog lingering on the beach. Due to the low light, I converted everything to black and white and focused on making the 'diamond' webs the focus of the image."
Credit: Yvonne Naughton
1st Place - News/Events
Jesse Alkire - 1st Place, News/Events
Jesse Alkire of Chicago grew up in Colorado writing, drawing, and shooting videos for fun, all of which he now happily does for a living.
Alkire: "I get inspired creatively when I see something different, something daring, something with a unique point of view. This photo was shot at the Chicago Air and Water Show... The planes fly so close to the beach that there's ample opportunity to shoot photos with interesting framing and perspectives."
Credit: Jesse Alkire
1st Place - Others
Jose Luis Saez Martinez, - 1st Place, Others
José Luis of Valencia, Spain, an architect, has been a converted iPhone photographer since 2011. In his photography, he strives to capture his architectural surroundings with distinctive Mediterranean lights.
Credit: Jose Luis Saez Martinez
1st Place - Panorama
Andre Malerba - 1st Place, Panorama
Based in Yangon Myanmar, Andre Malerba is a photographer focused primarily on human rights issues. He specializes in long-term projects, and strives to create strong and straightforward documentary images.
Credit: Andre Malerba
1st Place - People
Song Han -1st Place, People
Song Han of Chengdu, China says of her photography: "What inspires me most is the whole context of a city rather than a single scene. Taking photos with the iPhone makes it more convenient and flexible to observe and create."
Credit: Song Han
1st Place - Portrait
Daniele Colombera - 1st Place, Portrait
Daniele Colombera of Los Angeles studied Literature and Fine Arts in Rome and works in the movie industry as a digital imaging technician and cinematographer.
Colombera: "I took this photo behind the scenes of a fashion shoot. I envisioned the image in black and white because I wanted the graphic component of the fern and its shadow to emboss the face of the girl and focus the eye on her ethereal expression without being distracted by the vivid colors of nature surrounding her."
Credit: Daniele Colombera
1st Place - Seasons
Heather Goss Grand - 1st Place, Seasons
Heather Goss of Haven, Michigan races bikes and takes many of her photographs while she trains.
Goss: "This particular shot was during one of the craziest winters we've seen here in Grand Haven in awhile. Over twelve feet of snow for the season and Lake Michigan iced over all the way across to Chicago."
Credit: Heather Goss
1st Place - Still Life
Cindy Buske - 1st Place, Still Life
Cindy Buske is a Seattle-based nurse passionate about photography. For her, photography is an important creative outlet and counterbalance to the structured world of medicine.
Buske: "My images often enter a dreamy, ethereal world, yet maintain an accessible simplicity."
Credit: Cindy Buske
1st Place - Sunset
Robert Radesic - 1st Place, Sunset
Robert Radesic of Pula, Croatia is an art director from Istria, a region in the northern Adriatic Coast that extends from Croatia to Slovenia and Italy.
Pula: "This shot was taken at sunset in the town of Triest, Italy, which is noted for its architecture from the Austrian Empire, and for the bora, a strong north-wind that blows clouds from the sky after a rain."
Credit: Robert Radesic Pula
1st Place - Travel
Ahmed Saeed - 1st Place, Travel
An Interior Designer/Fine Arts Graduate, Ahmed Saeed of Cairo, Egypt is also an amateur photographer.
Saeed: "In December 2014, a friend and I spent a few days in Aswan's Nubian village Gharb Sehel. It's a beautiful place with colorful houses, kind warm people and mesmerizing views of the Nile."
Credit: Ahmed Saeed
1st Place - Trees
Ruairidh McGlynn - 1st Place, Trees
Ruairidh McGlynn of Edinburgh, United Kingdom is a mobile photographer specializing in landscapes.
McGlynn: "While on a trip to Qatar earlier this year, I met up with a photographer that I'd connected with on Instagram. We ventured out into the desert bordering Saudi Arabia. As the light faded and the mist set in, we passed lone outposts and camels in search of the perfect tree."