After launching in July and offering a three-week window for submissions, the first Photobox Instagram Photography competition rapidly went viral. Quickly amassing over 180,000 entries this new competition became the world's largest social media photography competition and, in entirely unsurprising news, a cute picture of a poodle took the top award.
Collecting such a massive volume of entries is no mean feat, but the Photobox Instagram Photography Awards (PIPA) swiftly established itself as one of the easiest competitions of its kind to enter. During a three-week span earlier this year, all an Instagram user needed to do to enter an image was to post an picture with the hashtag #thepipas2018.
The organizers of the competition, in a presumably herculean effort, then divided all the entries among 10 different categories spanning the usual photography competition subjects such as Travel, Animals, Sport and Landscapes. A few more interestingly unconventional categories were also included such as #Love, #NoFilter, and Family.
"We were blown away by the number of entries, to receive 180,000 in less than three weeks in the inaugural year was quite something," explains Rory Scott from Photobox. "Equally, the overall quality of submissions was incredibly high across the board, presenting our judging panel with the unenviable task of selecting the winners."
The enormous amount of entries was whittled down to a reasonably large shortlist and then a panel of judges – including Editor in Chief at Cosmopolitan, Farrah Storr and ex-picture editor at The Guardian Eamonn McCabe – homed in on the winners.
As befits a social media platform such as Instagram, the winner turned out to be a dog picture. The image of Ted the poodle, in mid-air with a ball in his mouth, is an appropriately classic Insta-worthy snap. However, the collection of winners and shortlisted entries do span quite a broad and fascinating array of styles.
Alongside the more traditional, yet still spectacular, photographs one would expect in a strong photography competition, the PIPAs also celebrated the more informal and off-the-cuff imagery generally seen on Instagram. Spontaneous smartphone snaps on the street and intimate selfies with loved ones turn this into a thoroughly unique competition, unlike most other major photography awards.
Take a look through the winners and the shortlist in our gallery of the 2018 PIPAs.
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