Neri Rivas placed first in the children category. (Neri Rivas/IPPAwards)
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When the iPhone Photography Awards were launched in 2007, photo-capable telephones were still in their infancy — with very low resolution and heavy pixelation. That was the time when stylized filters were commonplace, and the idea of a professional photographer using an iPhone was considered a faux pas.

A lot has changed since then, and as this year’s winners in the iPhone Photography Awards show, the quality of images has come a long way. Kenan Aktulun, who created the awards, agreed: “This year’s entries come from a very personal place, with less technical experimentation and more focus on moments, emotions and stories,” he told In Sight.

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.

Gabriella Cigliano, an amateur photographer from Italy, won the grand prize for Photographer of the Year. (Gabriella Cigliano/IPPAwards)

Diogo Lage from Portugal placed first in the Photographer of the Year category. (Diogo Lage/IPPAwards)

Yuliya Ibraeva of Russia took second place in Photographer of the Year. (Yuliya Ibraeva/IPPAwards)

Peng Hao of China placed third in Photographer of the Year. (Peng Hao/IPPAwards)

First place, animals: Diogo Lage. (Diogo Lage/IPPAwards)

First place, architecture: Kuanglong Zhang. (Kuanglong Zhang/IPPAwards)

First place, floral: Dan Liu. (Dan Liu/IPPAwards)

First place, landscape: Hsueh Isan. (Hsueh Isan/IPPAwards)

First place, lifestyle: Biao Peng. (Biao Peng/IPPAwards)

First place, nature: Huei Jiuan Wang. (Huei Jiuan Wang/IPPAwards)

First place, news and events: Lianyu Lu. (Lianyu Lu/IPPAwards)

First place, other: Sari Sutton. (Sari Sutton/IPPAwards)

First place, panorama: Vincent Chen. (Vincent Chen/IPPAwards)

First place, people: Wei Xiong. (Wei Xiong/IPPAwards)

First place, portrait: Mona Jumaan. (Mona Jumaan/IPPAwards)

First place, still life: Clarita Phiri Beierdoerffer. (Clarita Phiri Beierdoerffer/IPPAwards)

First place, sunsets: Sreekumar Krishan. (Sreekumar Krishan/IPPAwards)

First place, travel: Liu Bo. (Liu Bo/IPPAwards)

First place, trees: Christian Helwig. (Christian Helwig/IPPAwards)

In Sight is The Washington Post’s photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.

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