The Best Pictures Of 2020 Siena International Photo Awards Have Been Announced, And They’re Truly Powerful


A few years ago, we started this adventure in order to bind a uniquely beautiful and historic city like Siena with a photo festival and contest: the Siena International Photo Awards. In these six years, our project has become, year by year, a highly anticipated event appreciated worldwide. This success is confirmed by the numbers and by the continued participation of the internationally renowned professionals who have chosen to contribute to our project, thus placing us among the major photographic contests in the world. We are happy that our dream has been enthusiastically supported since the beginning, both by the local authorities in Siena and private partners, without whom we couldn't have started this adventure.

French photographer Greg Lecoeur’s stunning shot, “Frozen Mobile Home,” of a giant iceberg surrounded by crabeater seals, is the overall winner of the 2020 Siena International Photo Awards (SIPA) contest, one of the world’s top international photography competitions. Jurors selected the winning image among tens of thousands of photos submitted by photographers from 156 countries. Winning photographers were announced on October 23rd.

Lecouer, an award-winning professional ocean and wildlife photographer, shot the image in Antarctica, where he is often involved in scientific projects that highlight the fragility of our oceans and the importance of preserving our planet.

South African photojournalist Brent Stirton won this year’s “Best Author” Award thanks to his powerful storytelling through images and his commitment to covering issues related to wildlife and conservation, as well as global health, diminishing cultures, sustainability, and the environment.

Egyptian photographer Nader Saadallah won the category "Short Documentary Film" with the extraordinary video, "The Forgotten."

Here are the best photos of 2018, 2017, and 2016. 

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#1 Mother (Remarkable Artwork In Documentary & Photojournalism Category)

Homs, Syria's third-largest city, had been involved in the war for four years. A mother, who returned home after the end of the conflict, found her child's toy car in their destroyed house.

Image credits: Hassan Ghaedi

#2 Night Hunter (1st Place In Animals In Their Environment Category)

The great grey owl is well known for its extreme hunting skill. After working on a story about this owl for many weeks in a row, I finally got a picture that told all I wanted to show in just one frame. I captured the owl seconds before it attacked a vole under the full moon. It's truly a hunter of the night.

Image credits: Jonas Classon

#3 Friends (Honorable Mention In Fascinating Faces And Characters Category)

Riya and Sima are two little friends who live in the tea garden region of Sylhet, Bangladesh. Their smiling faces while playing in front of their house are a reflection of their purity.

Image credits: Suvro Paul

#4 Home Alone (1st Place In Architecture & Urban Spaces Category)

Only a single apartment's windows are lit in Tsing Yi district, a densely populated area of Hong Kong, right before sunset.

Image credits: Attila Balogh

#5 Woman At Work (Remarkable Artwork In Fascinating Faces And Characters Category)

Vietnamese workers sit surrounded by thousands of incense sticks in Quang Phu Can, a village in Hanoi, Vietnam, where the sticks have been traditionally made for hundreds of years. Incense plays an important role in the spiritual lives of Vietnamese people. People use incense in all worship activities. The bamboo bundles are arranged on the ground on sunny days so as to dry them.

Image credits: Azim Khan Ronnie

#6 Stolen Childhood (2nd Place In Documentary & Photojournalism Category)

At the Panzi hospital in Bukavu, a young rape victim named Bilati, age 3, waits for an operation to repair her vaginal area. The situation in the DRC has gotten worse with the alarming escalation of human rights violations and abuse against women and children who suffer fearing reprisals and social exclusion.

Image credits: Paula Bronstein

#7 Waiting For Winter (Honorable Mention In The Beauty Of Nature Category)

Leaves against the silhouettes of grey beech trunks in a cold winter forest. This scene immediately caught my eye and I captured it with my telephoto lens.

Image credits: Martin Rak

#8 When Rays Fly (Honorable Mention In Animals In Their Environment Category)

A large group of Mobula Rays in the Sea of ​​Cortez. These creatures are as graceful in mid-air as they are in the water, throwing their wings like flying birds.

Image credits: Amit Eshel

#9 Spanish Moss (2nd Place In The Beauty Of Nature Category)

Early in the morning on a November day, inside the swamp, looking for the magnificent beauty of the Spanish moss. The late autumn colors made it appear almost monochromatic and the Bald Cypress stood in the still water creating an incredible reflection in the misty atmosphere.

Image credits: Mauro Battistelli

#10 Diogo Cancela (1st Place In Sports In Action Category)

Diogo Cancela of Portugal is seen during practice prior to day three of the British Para-Swimming International meeting at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, Scotland.

Image credits: Ian Macnicol

#11 Security Man (3rd Place In Architecture & Urban Spaces Category)

It was still very early and the Maat Museum was still closed. But the guard was already walking slowly along the building. There was only a narrow path between the building and the river Tejo and my feet got wet taking this shot.

Image credits: Martin Seraphin

#12 Mother Cares (Honorable Mention In Animals In Their Environment Category)

In the Israeli Negev desert, a Nubian Ibox looking for food is very carefully escorting her one-and-a-half-month-old puppy in a difficult and dangerous passage.

Image credits: Nachum Weiss

#13 The World Is Going Upside Down (2nd Place In Animals In Their Environment Category)

The name orangutan means "man of the forest" in the Malay language. There are 3 varieties of Orangutan, the one in this picture is Bornean Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). Adult male orangutans can weigh up to 200 pounds. Flanged males have prominent cheek pads called flanges and a throat sac used to make loud verbalizations called long calls. They mainly feast on wild fruits like lychees, mangosteens, and figs, and slurp water from holes in trees.

Image credits: Thomas Vijayan

#14 Frozen Mobile Home (Photo Of The Year)

Massive and mysterious habitats, icebergs are dynamic kingdoms that support marine life. As they swing and rotate slowly through polar currents, icebergs fertilize the oceans. Carrying nutrients from the earth, they are responsible for life blooms by developing phytoplankton and influence the carbon cycle by sequestering carbon dioxide from the air. They also thus shelter big animals such as crabeater seals that spend the entire year on the pack ice.

Image credits: Greg Lecoeur

#15 Baby Orangutan Surgery (Honorable Mention In Documentary & Photojournalism Category)

Brenda, a 3-month-old female orangutan is ready for surgery to repair her damaged humerus. Orangutans are under threat from the ongoing depletion of the rainforest due to palm oil plantations, logging, mining, and hunting.

Image credits: Alain Schroeder

#16 Taboo (2nd Place In Fascinating Faces And Characters Category)

I took this photo inside my home studio in Iran while I was working on a movie project about Afghan immigrants living in Iran. It was the first time that I'd witnessed someone wearing a burka in person. What struck me immediately upon seeing this woman was that I couldn’t see any part of her body except the soles of her feet as she walked. Since I captioned this photo as “Taboo,” the message I am expressing is one of rebellion.

Image credits: Fattah Zinouri

#17 Koichi Omae (1st Place In Fascinating Faces And Characters Category)

I met the amputee dancer Koichi Omae, originally from Osaka, on my way. At 23, when he was entering his career, a car accident took away all his dreams. He had his left leg amputated below the knee. With great willpower, he decided to continue his career as a dancer, aware that without the limb, he would have to spend much more energy not only in performing the artistic gesture, but also just walking normally.

Image credits: Silvia Alessi

#18 Hope (3rd Place In Documentary & Photojournalism Category)

Southwest of Tenerife, where one of the most important colonies of pilot whales lives, this 6-month-old young specimen had been hit and mutilated by a boat. The only thing left to do was to euthanize him. The traffic of ships poses a serious threat to whales worldwide.

Image credits: Francis Pérez

#19 Fear (Honorable Mention In Documentary & Photojournalism Category)

Detainees are terrified after one of them died due to meningococcemia at a detention center in Biñan, Laguna, the southern part of Metro Manila. Authorities also banned visitors for safety precautions.

Image credits: Dante Diosina Jr.

#20 Desert Ice (2nd Place In Sports In Action Category)

Professional ice climber Will Gadd climbing on the remaining glacial ice on the crater of Mount Kilimanjaro. This ice wall is freestanding and looks like an iceberg emerging from the sand.

Image credits: Christian Pondella

#21 Dentist (Remarkable Artwork In Animals In Their Environment Category)

Symbiosis between a moray eel and a cleaner shrimp. This moray eel was having its routine dental checkup. The cleaner shrimps clean parasites, insects, algaes, etc. off of the eels, making them more healthy – in return, the shrimps get a free meal.

Image credits: Lilian Koh

#22 In The Storm (Remarkable Artwork In Journeys & Adventures Category)

Nenets people during a snow storm in the harsh siberian winter. In this part of the world, during winter time, temperatures can go as low as -50° and wind blows over 100km/h making these reindeer herders' life very difficult.

Image credits: Stefano Cestari

#23 Utopia (1st Place In Under 20 Category)

I called the photo Utopia, because nowadays, in our anthropomorphized world, it's almost impossible to see a scenario like that, an unspoiled nature in a perfect wilderness state, like it has been frozen forever in time.

Image credits: Riccardo Marchegiani

#24 Sisters (3rd Place In Fascinating Faces And Characters Category)

Natalya, Irina, and Tatyana are three twin sisters from the northern Russian city of Krasnoyarsk. I found out about their existence from social networks a couple of years ago and really wanted to take pictures of them. This year, I managed to do it. Three sisters, three friends, three soulmates. Their love for each other is respected.

Image credits:

#25 La Dama Blanca (2rd Place In The Beauty Of Nature Category)

There are still places in the world where fortunately nature reigns. Among them are the wild cliffs of Portugal where it is still possible to observe the nesting of storks.

Image credits: Stanislao Basileo

#26 Think Different (Remarkable Artwork In Animals In Their Environment Category)

A big-scale sand smelt moving towards a moon jellyfish. To defend themselves from predators, these fish move together grouping in ever-changing forms. In this case, a single specimen appears to be making a "counter-current" decision.

Image credits: Pietro Formis

#27 Death Of A Fire Victim (1st Place In Documentary & Photojournalism Category)

A man desperately tries to save himself during a fire that destroyed a 22-story building in Dhaka. The blaze resulted in 25 deaths and 70 injuries. The man was lowering himself by holding onto a cable, but the heat forced him to suddenly let go and he crashed to the ground.

Image credits: Mohammad Sazid Hossain

#28 Church Ceiling Concrete (2nd Place In Architecture & Urban Spaces Category)

Nevigeser Wallfahrtsdom church has truly unique architecture, with this concrete ceiling that seems to be an abstraction in reality.

Image credits: Barbara Schmidt

#29 Benediction (1st Place In Journeys & Adventures Category)

Muslim women praying in Hamedan, Iran for Eid al-Fitr. The last day of Ramadan is celebrated by Muslims all over the word with special prayers and gatherings.

Image credits: Amirmahdi Najafloo Shahpar

#30 The Rescuers (Honorable Mention In Documentary & Photojournalism Category)

This image was taken during the Vijay Diwas celebration in Kolkata. This day is known as the victory of the Indian Army over Pakistan.

Image credits: Shibasish Saha

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