National Geographic is the leader in capturing the world through brilliant photography, and so to choose the best among the finest photographers of the world for the 2014 Photo contest was no small task.
Of the more than 9,200 worthy entries submitted by talented photographers from across the world, a photo of a woman lit up by the glow from her phone while standing in a crowded train in Hong Kong, was chosen as the grand-prize winner of the 2014 National Geographic Photo Contest.
Talking about the relevance of his award-winning photo, Brian Yen told CNN, "In the last 10 years, mobile data, smartphones and social networks have forever changed our existence. Although this woman stood at the center of a jam-packed train, the warm glow from her phone told the strangers around her that she wasn't really there. She managed to slip away from 'here' for a short moment; she's a node flickering on the social web, roaming the Earth, free as a butterfly. Our existence is no longer stuck to the physical here; we're free to run away, and run we will."
The photographs submitted in three categories: people, places and nature, were judged based on creativity and photographic quality.
Italian photographer Mattia Passarini, whose photo got an honourable mention in the "people" category, says that it is his love for Indian people and culture that ultimately compelled him to submit this particular photograph for the National Geographic photo contest.
"I have been to India many times and this photo comes from my latest trip, where I focus only on the Ramnami people. I spent an entire day with 'Biltigiri' (name of the person in the photograph), who is the chief of his tribe, and other members; It was one of the best days of the entire trip," he told IB Times India Edition.
Passarini also reveals that it is just one photo in a series called "Inked Faces", which he has been working on since 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2015. The project focuses on "photographing all the Asian tribes or ethnic groups that used to tattoo their faces as identity of a group, religion or for what has been considered beauty."
The Ranmani people tattoo the name of the lord "Ram" on their body.
Captured in the Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh, India, the photograph of a playful fight amongst two young tigers, taken by Archna Singh, also received an honourable mention in the photo contest, in the "Nature" category.
"The cubs were sitting in the grass as dusk approached when suddenly one of them sneaked up behind the other and what happened next is captured in this image. This playful fight amongst the siblings is what prepares them for their survival in the wild," explains National Geographic.
Nicole Cambre of Brussels, Belgium, won in the nature category with his photo of migrating wild beasts in Tanzania, while Triston Yeo of Singapore won in the places category for a photo of the Budapest thermal spas.
The first-place winner in each category is honoured with $2,500 and their winning photograph is published in the National Geographic magazine. Meanwhile, the Grand Prize Winner, Brian Yen, will receive $10,000 along with a trip to the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C.and a chance to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2015.