This year’s grand prize was awarded to Gabriella Cigliano, an amateur photographer from Italy. “I participated to my first and only photo contest when I was around 14 years old,” she said. “At the time, I was discovering my passion for photography. I took some photography classes but nothing more.”
Cigliano does not consider herself a photographer. “I just like to take pictures,” she said. “I don’t have a professional camera, but I have almost 50,000 photos jealously guarded in my iPhone library. I have my iPhone with me all the time, and I think of it as an extension of my eyes. And that’s what photography is for me: my way of creating memories and put them in my personal diary, except that I don’t have a diary, but a photo library and my Instagram account.”
Cigliano’s photo, taken while in Tanzania, was selected from among thousands of entries submitted from more than 140 countries. Diogo Lage from Portugal placed first in the Photographer of the Year category, followed by Yuliya Ibraeva of Russia and Peng Hao of China, while many other photographers were also rewarded across 18 categories. “These photos find the peace and humanity, compassion and beauty in the world that surrounds us,” Aktulun said.
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