The Winners of Smithsonian Magazine’s 9th Photo Contest

From the beauty of bodies in motion to the symbiotic behaviors of insects, these photographers captured fascinating moments in time

Winner: Grand Prize

Sinsee Ho
Lockdown but Not Disconnected
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
February 2021

Winner: People

Matjaz Krivic
Najin Resting With Her Caretaker
Nanyuki, Kenya
April 2021

Environmental photographer Matjaz Krivic accompanied a pair of journalist friends to Kenya last year in part to cover a story about former special forces soldiers training wilderness rangers on how to foil poachers.

This illegal hunting is one of the factors that has driven northern white rhinos like Najin, pictured here, to near extinction.

Winner: Natural World

Prathamesh Ghadekar
The Ants and the Aphids
November 2021

Prathamesh Ghadekar photographs weddings and other events as a career, but it’s the relationships among creatures some people prefer not to think about that truly excite him.

Winner: Travel

Chen-Tung Tai
Tokyo, Japan
October 2021

A friend of the photographer recommended a visit to this stunningly colorful office building on Odaiba, an artificial island in Japan’s Tokyo Bay.

Odaibia was built in the 19th century as a defense against naval attacks on Tokyo proper, but is now a shopping and entertainment destination.

Winner: American Experience

Craig Lefebvre
Indigenous Swirling Colors
Sedona, Arizona
April 2018

Translating a dynamic form like dance into a static one like still photography requires more than just skill and good equipment.

It takes planning.

“Part of the trick was figuring out where they would be moving around,” says photographer Craig Lefebvre, who captured this photo the first time he saw the Indigenous Enterprise dance troupe perform at Tlaquepaque village in Sedona, Arizona—an arts and shopping destination dotted with trees and courtyards.

Winner: Mobile

Sunil Choudhary
Fill the Frame
Delhi, India
November 2019

Yamuna Ghat provides pedestrian access to the sacred Yamuna River just opposite an island of undeveloped marsh.

It’s a popular site for reflection, and for birdwatching.

Sunil Choudhary goes there to spot the Siberian seagulls who can be found resting there between November and February.

Winner: Altered Image

Garry Platt
“Floating Flowers” Performed by B. Dance
Edinburgh, Scotland
August 2019

“The dancer in the middle held that pose for a second while the other dancers were moving.

My shutter speed was very slow; half a second or something like that, so it got that effect where the central dancer is perfectly still and the rest are in this blurred movement.”

It’s a technique he has mastered through trial and error.

Winner: Readers' Choice

Shayna Stevens
Teach Me, Dad
Barre, Massachusetts
February 2019

This image was captured on a “family milking night” three years ago, Stevens writes, when Harvest, the youngest of her three children with her husband Will (pictured), was 2 years old.

The curious boy — “Dad’s little shadow,” in Stevens’ words — wanted to know what was in the bucket.

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