Photography

Portraits of the past in the best historical photography of 2021

Portraits of the past in the b...
Shortlisted. Frosty winter morning at Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, England. Winter (January) 2020.
Shortlisted. Frosty winter morning at Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, England. Winter (January) 2020.
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Winner - Historic England. Clifton Suspension Bridge.
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Winner - Historic England. Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Winner - Where History Happened. Purton Hulks. These are the wrecks of the Wastdale H and Arkendale H which collided in the River Severn in October 1960.
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Winner - Where History Happened. Purton Hulks. These are the wrecks of the Wastdale H and Arkendale H which collided in the River Severn in October 1960.
Overall Winner. Whiteford Lighthouse, Gower, Wales. Built in 1865 to a design by John Bowen of Llanelli, by the Llanelli Harbour and Burry Navigation Commissioners to mark the shoals of Whiteford Point, it is the only wave-swept cast iron tower of this size in Britain.
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Overall Winner. Whiteford Lighthouse, Gower, Wales. Built in 1865 to a design by John Bowen of Llanelli, by the Llanelli Harbour and Burry Navigation Commissioners to mark the shoals of Whiteford Point, it is the only wave-swept cast iron tower of this size in Britain.
Shortlisted. Frosty winter morning at Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, England. Winter (January) 2020.
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Shortlisted. Frosty winter morning at Glastonbury Tor, Somerset, England. Winter (January) 2020.
Shortlisted. Temple of Hera II, Paestum. The Temple of Hera II, is a Greek temple in Paestum, Campania, Italy. It was built around 460–450 BC, just north of the first Hera Temple.
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Shortlisted. Temple of Hera II, Paestum. The Temple of Hera II, is a Greek temple in Paestum, Campania, Italy. It was built around 460–450 BC, just north of the first Hera Temple.
Shortlisted. Wells Cathedral. Built in 1176–1450 to replace an earlier church on the site since 705. The ‘scissor arches’ support the central tower; a structure which was added in 1338 after the weight of a new spire on the top of the tower threatened collapse.
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Shortlisted. Wells Cathedral. Built in 1176–1450 to replace an earlier church on the site since 705. The ‘scissor arches’ support the central tower; a structure which was added in 1338 after the weight of a new spire on the top of the tower threatened collapse.
Shortlisted. The Shambles York. The Shambles is a 14th century street which would have been a butchers row.
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Shortlisted. The Shambles York. The Shambles is a 14th century street which would have been a butchers row.
Shortlisted. Esztergom Basilica, Hungary. The Esztergom Basilica is the seat of the Catholic Church in Hungary and is the largest church and the tallest building in Hungary.
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Shortlisted. Esztergom Basilica, Hungary. The Esztergom Basilica is the seat of the Catholic Church in Hungary and is the largest church and the tallest building in Hungary.
Shortlisted. Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.
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Shortlisted. Pripyat, Chernobyl, Ukraine.
Shortlisted. The Menin Gate memorial. Designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield and built by the Imperial War Graves Commission the Menin Gate Memorial was unveiled on 24 July 1927. The memorial walls are engraved with the names of nearly 55,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers lost on the field of battle but with no known graves.
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Shortlisted. The Menin Gate memorial. Designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield and built by the Imperial War Graves Commission the Menin Gate Memorial was unveiled on 24 July 1927. The memorial walls are engraved with the names of nearly 55,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers lost on the field of battle but with no known graves.
Shortlisted. HMS Belfast, London, in her permanent resting place on the River Thames.
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Shortlisted. HMS Belfast, London, in her permanent resting place on the River Thames.
Shortlisted. Clevedon Pier. The opening of the pier took place in 1869 and was a popular paddle steamer excursion for almost 100 years. At the time of stress testing in 1970 two of the spans collapsed and demolition was proposed, but local fundraising and heritage grants allowed the pier to be dismantled for restoration and reassembled.
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Shortlisted. Clevedon Pier. The opening of the pier took place in 1869 and was a popular paddle steamer excursion for almost 100 years. At the time of stress testing in 1970 two of the spans collapsed and demolition was proposed, but local fundraising and heritage grants allowed the pier to be dismantled for restoration and reassembled.
Shortlisted. Dunstanburgh Castle.
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Shortlisted. Dunstanburgh Castle.
Shortlisted. Foggintor Quarry, Dartmoor Devon.
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Shortlisted. Foggintor Quarry, Dartmoor Devon.
Shortlisted. Hereford cathedral.
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Shortlisted. Hereford cathedral.
Shortlisted. Forth Bridge. The Forth Bridge was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by United Nations body UNESCO in July 2015.
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Shortlisted. Forth Bridge. The Forth Bridge was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by United Nations body UNESCO in July 2015.
Shortlisted. The Shah-i-Zinda mausoleum in the city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
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Shortlisted. The Shah-i-Zinda mausoleum in the city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
Shortlisted. Sunkenkirk or Swinside Stone Circle view at sunrise in the Lake District.
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Shortlisted. Sunkenkirk or Swinside Stone Circle view at sunrise in the Lake District.
Shortlisted. Kingdom of Kommagene. The top of Mount Nemrut, near Adiyaman province in Turkey. In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues 8–9-meter-high (26–30 ft) of himself and statues of some Greek and Iranian gods.
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Shortlisted. Kingdom of Kommagene. The top of Mount Nemrut, near Adiyaman province in Turkey. In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues 8–9-meter-high (26–30 ft) of himself and statues of some Greek and Iranian gods.
Shortlisted. Reculver Towers. The twin tower remains of Reculver parish church sited on the Kent coast near Herne Bay.
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Shortlisted. Reculver Towers. The twin tower remains of Reculver parish church sited on the Kent coast near Herne Bay.
Shortlisted. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria. Built towards the end of the 19th century and famous as the inspiration for several Disney castles.
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Shortlisted. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria. Built towards the end of the 19th century and famous as the inspiration for several Disney castles.
Shortlisted. Twenty Bridges Viaduct. Hidden in a valley and crossing the river Douglas.
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Shortlisted. Twenty Bridges Viaduct. Hidden in a valley and crossing the river Douglas.
Shortlisted. Battersea Power Station. Battersea Power Station is an iconic and well-loved landmark in London.
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Shortlisted. Battersea Power Station. Battersea Power Station is an iconic and well-loved landmark in London.
Shortlisted. Burrow Mump.
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Shortlisted. Burrow Mump.
Shortlisted. Brewery Shaft, Nenthead Mines. Dating from 1839, Brewery Shaft was originally built to access the enormous Nenthead lead mines. The site is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
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Shortlisted. Brewery Shaft, Nenthead Mines. Dating from 1839, Brewery Shaft was originally built to access the enormous Nenthead lead mines. The site is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Shortlisted. Atomic-Dome-Hiroshima. On the edge of the Motoyasu River is the Atomic Dome, one of the only structures still left standing after the atomic bomb exploded 600 metres above on what was then known as the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall.
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Shortlisted. Atomic-Dome-Hiroshima. On the edge of the Motoyasu River is the Atomic Dome, one of the only structures still left standing after the atomic bomb exploded 600 metres above on what was then known as the Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Promotion Hall.
Shortlisted. 1973 US Navy C-117D, Iceland.
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Shortlisted. 1973 US Navy C-117D, Iceland.
Shortlisted. Mestia city with old towers.
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Shortlisted. Mestia city with old towers.
View gallery - 28 images

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.

Shortlisted. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria. Built towards the end of the 19th century and famous as the inspiration for several Disney castles.
Shortlisted. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria. Built towards the end of the 19th century and famous as the inspiration for several Disney castles.

“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.”

Overall Winner. Whiteford Lighthouse, Gower, Wales. Built in 1865 to a design by John Bowen of Llanelli, by the Llanelli Harbour and Burry Navigation Commissioners to mark the shoals of Whiteford Point, it is the only wave-swept cast iron tower of this size in Britain.
Overall Winner. Whiteford Lighthouse, Gower, Wales. Built in 1865 to a design by John Bowen of Llanelli, by the Llanelli Harbour and Burry Navigation Commissioners to mark the shoals of Whiteford Point, it is the only wave-swept cast iron tower of this size in Britain.

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.

Winner - Historic England. Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Winner - Historic England. Clifton Suspension Bridge.

“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.”

Shortlisted. Kingdom of Kommagene. The top of Mount Nemrut, near Adiyaman province in Turkey. In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues 8–9-meter-high (26–30 ft) of himself and statues of some Greek and Iranian gods.
Shortlisted. Kingdom of Kommagene. The top of Mount Nemrut, near Adiyaman province in Turkey. In 62 BC, King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene built on the mountain top a tomb-sanctuary flanked by huge statues 8–9-meter-high (26–30 ft) of himself and statues of some Greek and Iranian gods.

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.

Take a look through our gallery at more highlights from this fantastic photo contest, and check out the 2018, the 2019 and the 2020 galleries in our previous coverage.

Source: Historic Photographer of the Year

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1 comment
1 comment
ljaques
A lovely romp into the past. Respect to the engineers of all those old structures, who made more with nothing than today's architects can with everything.