Portraits of the past in the best historical photography of 2021
Encompassing thousands of years of human history the stunning 2021 Historic Photographer of the Year awards span everything from an ancient Greek temple to the only structure still standing from the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
In its fifth year, the Historic Photographer of the Year contest continues to stand out from the current crowd of photography competitions. Alongside awarding aesthetic elements and technical proficiency, the unique contest celebrates the stories behind historical sites all over the world.
Entries are spread across three categories. The main category, from which the Overall Winner is selected, covers historical sites from all over the world. The two other categories focus on sites around the globe that were home to momentous events in human history, and sites that showcase the heritage of England.
“The wonderful entries we’ve seen highlight both the immense heritage that surrounds us, along with the often precarious and fragile nature of some of our most precious locations of cultural value,” says judge Dan Snow. “The awards demonstrate the huge dedication that entrants often go to when trying to capture that perfect shot, whether rising in the dead of night to capture the perfect sunrise or climbing, hiking and trekking their way to discover far flung places from our past.”
Steve Liddiard took out the Overall Winner prize for a shot of the Whiteford Point Lighthouse in South Wales. The 150-year-old lighthouse is a rare example of a cast-iron lighthouse.
Taking the Historic England prize is photographer Sam Binding’s shot of the 19th century Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. A shot of two wrecked tanker ships that collided in 1960 won the Where History Happened category.
“It was once again a pleasure and a privilege to be able to sift through the outstanding images from this year’s entrants,” says Dan Korn, another judge in this year’s contest. “It was perhaps all the more poignant and redolent for the fact that there has been so much restriction, constraint and hardship for so many over the past couple of years. But to see some of the wonderful work on display here and the iconic and significant sites from around the world captured so vividly was a sign that history and humanity are very much alive in all their splendor in 2021.”
Other highlights include a glimpse at the 19th century German castle that inspired Walt Disney’s iconic structures, a look inside Uzbekistan’s Shah-i-Zinda mausoleum, and a moody snow-covered shot of the 2,000-year-old ruins at the top of Mount Nemrut in Turkey.