« Back to articlePrint this article

When iPhone photos become works of art

Last updated on: July 31, 2019 17:07 IST

In the hands of skilled photographers, smartphones are capable of producing works of art - as these stunning images show.

Now in its twelfth year, the iPhone Photography Awards competition aims to find the best photographs taken using just an iPhone.

Every year since it was founded in 2007, the IPPAWARDS has selected the very best shots among thousands submitted by iPhone photographers from more than 140 countries around the world.

This year's grand prize went to Gabriella Cigliano for a mesmerising image shot on an iPhone X of two young girls in Tanzania.


Scroll down to take a look at the stunning photos that made the cut.

(Please click on the images for a full-screen resolution)


Grand Prize Winner, Photographer of the Year

Big Sister: Last year I spent a month in Wasa, Tanzania, teaching a class of young, curious and amazing guys. Before heading back to Italy we stopped in Zanzibar, where this photo was taken. I still wonder how could I capture that exact moment in all its beauty. I was just observing, a few metres from them, but they were probably more curious about me than I was about them, and that’s probably why the girl was looking at me. We couldn’t talk much, except for a few words in Swahili I had learned in the previous weeks, but those kids could definitely talk with their eyes. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life, and I’ll keep it in my memories forever. The best part was showing them and their mums the photos, for some it was the first time they were seeing their faces, and their excitement was unexplainable, unfortunately my iPhone was in their hands and I couldn’t capture that! Photograph: Gabriella Cigliano/IPPAWARDS

1st Place, Photographer of the Year

Sea Stripes: Sea Stripes was taken in Santa Rita Beach, Portugal where the striped beach tents are very typical and set the tone of the well organised and summery little villages. Playing along with this beachy mood, a bather in the distance embodies the spirit in a striped shirt. Photograph: Diogo Lage/IPPAWARDS

2nd Place, Photographer of the Year

Sorry, no movie today: It was a hot summer day in Rome, Italy, even the asphalt was melting. We decided to escape from the city center to see the ancient trees of the Borghese Gardens and watch an Italian movie, but when we arrived the pouring rain began. We didn’t see the film, but I took wonderful pictures. It was great travel moment I’ll never want to forget. Photograph: Yuliya Ibraeva/IPPAWARDS

3rd Place, Photographer of the Year

Come Across: I took this photo in the desert in Nevada, USA, at the Burning Man festival. I stood on a bridge and saw two people lost in a sand storm, but after a while, something very special came along, a huge silver ball. Photograph: Peng Hao/IPPAWARDS

1st Place - Animals

The Proud Peacock: What made me take this photo was the unexpected balance of the composition that reinforces the sense of pride, place and charisma of this peacock. In this public garden, seeing these wild peacocks is one of the most exquisite experiences people can have, they are truly the lords of the garden. Photograph: Diogo Lage/IPPAWARDS

1st Place - Architecture

Janta Manta Observatory: Janta Manta Observatory is very sci-fi looking. I captured the flying pigeon with the building to give the photo a dynamic feeling. Photograph: Kuanglong Zhang/IPPAWARDS

3rd Place - Architecture

Here I come: This image was taken in the Xiamen, international shipping center. I was trying to create a futuristic battle scene of Star Wars (I’m a huge starwars fan). When a friend told me about this location, I thought it would be very good to shoot something like this with a lightsaber and two characters fighting. The lighting that afternoon was great, and we waited for the best natural light of the sun to light up the place. Photograph: Shuo Chen/IPPAWARDS

1st Place - Children

Jasper the Raptor: This photo was taken outside a supermarket in Los Angeles. My son Jasper wore a raptor mask and a Dodgers hat and we made up a story about Jasper the Raptor, a dinosaur boy who was hungry and went to the grocery store. Photograph: Neri Rivas/IPPAWARDS

3rd Place - Children

Untitled: My two year old son, Gabriel, totally captivated by his first experience of travelling by a steam train. Photograph: David Booker/IPPAWARDS

1st Place - Floral

Cactus under the Scorching Sun: In Joshua Tree National Park in the United States, there is a valley called the Cholla Cactus Garden which is covered by a large number of Teddy-Bear Chollas. This species of Cholla grows freely under the scorching sun, unafraid of the heat and dryness. Photograph: Dan Liu/IPPAWARDS

1st Place - Lifestyle

Fishing: A man fishing by the lake, it feels like it came out of the movie called "The Grand Budapest Hotel". Photograph: Biao Peng/IPPAWARDS

1st Place - Nature

The Womb: It was dark, humid and quiet inside the ice cave. I was climbing up step by step toward the light. The moment brought me to the scene as a newborn inside the womb of nature, ready to embrace the outside world. Photograph: Huei Jiuan Wang/IPPAWARDS

1st Place - News/Events

Fire Dragon: This photo was taken at the Lantern Festival in Buzhai Town. It is the tradition of this small southern town to hold a dragon dance performance for Lantern Festival that dates back to the Qing Dynasty. It is a spectacular scene with the fire dragon being lifted by more than 30 adults while it dances and fireworks are set off from its body. Thousands of people came to watch the event and to pray for their family to be safe and healthy for the New Year. Photograph: Lianyu Lu/IPPAWARDS

2nd Place - People

Dominoes in Havana: Dominoes in Havana was captured at the Solar de Aguilar in Havana, Cuba. The building is a mere memory of what it once was, from the wrought iron curving around the grand stair case at the entrance of the building to the non-functioning fountain in the courtyard. Six families occupy the Solar de Aguilar and every afternoon the residents gather in front of the grand staircase to play dominoes. On this particular afternoon, I captured these four neighbours engaged in a friendly game. Photograph: Christine L Mace/IPPAWARDS

1st Place - Portrait

A Future Eagle Hunter: In Bayan Ulgi province in western Mongolia, eagle hunting is a tradition passed across generations. Boys start their training as early as 11 years old, and little Bakha is no exception as he makes his entrance into the world of eagle hunting with his prized falcon. Photograph: Mona Jumaan/IPPAWARDS

1st Place - Sunset

Piercing the Sky: The evening sky marred by some solitary clouds provided a perfect backdrop to this shot. This is the statue of Lord Ram, Hindu God, shot in the outskirts of Bangalore just before sunset. Photograph: Sreekumar Krishnan/IPPAWARDS

1st Place - Travel

Lonely Boat: It was a cloudy day. I noticed a man with a small boat floating up and down in the sea when I was walking on the beach. Something occurred to me in that moment, I thought, I want to get closer so I walked in until salty seawater flooded my chest. The man, the boat, and me. I felt a connection in that moment, people are so small between heaven and earth. Photograph: Liu Bo/IPPAWARDS

1st Place - Trees

Snowshadow: This was taken on the island of Rügen, which is a German island in the Baltic Sea. The spot where I took the picture is on the northernmost coast of the island, close to the little village Schwarbe. There was a strong wind from the sea behind me with some snow, and the wind and the flakes produced this kind of "shadow" on the "lee" of the trees. Everything was very black and white, except the smaller bushlike trees in the back that were a little brown. Photograph: Christian Helwig/IPPAWARDS