(Pocket-lint) – Unsplash started life as a humble Tumblr blog and has since grown into a massive photography community with hundreds of thousands of images and astounding photos in its library. 

With over four billion photos viewed per month and 38 images downloaded per second, Unsplash is surely a photography community that knows its stuff. 

The Unsplash Awards are the result of a celebration of the community and its contributors. Each year the judges have the incredible task of whittling down the list of astounding images to choose some final winners. 

We’ve been through the categories and picked out some of our favourites from the last few years. As you can imagine, they’re pretty fantastic. 

An astronaut relaxing by Cash Macanaya

One of the finalists from 2021’s Unsplash Awards appears to show a very relaxed astronaut chilling out in some vegetation. We assume they’ve had a hard time exploring and are just winding down. 

Doughnuts falling by Slashio Photography

We like this image, not just because the doughnuts look delicious but because we appreciate how difficult it must have been to present them like this. 

Joel Filipe/UnsplashAnimal Photos from the Unsplash Awards image 5

Untitled, Valencia, Spain, by Joel Filipe

This is just one of a multitude of different Jellyfish photographs snapped and submitted to the Unsplash Awards.

These majestic creatures are often as beautiful as they are deadly. This image of a bloom of Jellyfish comes from Valencia, Spain and made it into the shortlist for the animals and wildlife category in 2017. 

Jeremy Vessey/UnsplashAnimal Photos from the Unsplash Awards image 2

Fox Portrait, Cavendish Beach, New Glasgow, Canada, by Jeremy Vessey

A solitary Canadian fox is captured sitting peacefully surveying his surroundings. Majesty and beauty of nature captured in a single photograph.

No doubt it took hours of patience to capture this image, so it’s no surprise it made it its way into the awards. 

Jakob Owens/UnsplashAnimal Photos from the Unsplash Awards image 3

Wildlife category winner – By Jakob Owens

We love this photo of a happy pig taking a swim. The judges loved it too and this image was chosen as the winner for the animals and wildlife category in 2017. 

Judge Miguel Cardona from imgix said:

“I like the composition. The colours give it an outer-worldly feel: the contrast of the oranges against the cool blue. It tells the story of two worlds—of air and water—and has a familiar animal in an unfamiliar environment that straddles both worlds while appearing worn, yet soothed. A good photo doesn’t give you all the details of a story, but presents a world with some insight and provokes you to ask more questions. I like the close crop, the minimal background, the detail in textures, the capture of the underwater light, and the use of the horizon.”

Matt Nelson/UnsplashAstronomy Photos from The Unsplash Awards image 5

Untitled, Vonore, United States by Matt Nelson

Photos of solar eclipses are nothing new, but this one is both simple and marvellous. Matt Nelson’s image was selected from many others as a shortlist for this category.

Annie Niemaszyk/UnsplashAstronomy Photos from The Unsplash Awards image 3

Milkyway in Maine by Annie Niemaszyk

A shot of the Milky Way captured over Maine. This photo manages to capture the sky with a slight purple hue.

A magnificent view full of shooting stars and majesty of the Universe. 

Jeffrey Hovland/UnsplashAstronomy Photos from The Unsplash Awards image 2

Astrophotography category winner – A Cloudy Milky Way, June Lake, United States by Jeffrey Hovland

This cloudy image of the Milky Way was originally intended to be the test shot for a timelapse of the night sky over the surroundings of June Lake. The resulting image was so stunning it seemed worthwhile submitting to the Unsplash Awards.

Thomas Tucker/UnsplashAstronomy Photos from The Unsplash Awards image 6

Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, Iceland by Thomas Tucker

The ultimate contrast of the wonderful natural Northern lights over a horizon dominated by the ageing hulk of an abandoned plane wreckage.

This fantastic image was captured by Thomas Tucker in Iceland and has racked up over four million views since it was uploaded to Unsplash. 

Clarisse Meyer/UnsplashAstronomy Photos from The Unsplash Awards image 4

Camping Under the Stars, Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, United States by Clarisse Meyer

A peaceful campsite under the stars made for not just a great place to lay down a weary head for the night, but a brilliant photograph filled with billions of stars.

The contrast of light and dark in this photo is impressive, the warm glow of a fire and the cold chill of outer space. 

Adam Krowitz/UnsplashAerial Photos from the Unsplash Awards image 2

Aerial category winner – Untitled, Dorset, UK by Adam Krowitz

Adam Krowitz’s untitled aerial photograph of the Dorset coastline was selected by the Unsplash Awards judges as the category winner in 2017.

Samuel Edwards/UnsplashAerial Photos from the Unsplash Awards image 6

The Lost desert of Gwent, Wales, UK by Samuel Edwards

This winding road through the Welsh countryside looks like something out of a Mad Max film.

Samuel Edwards captured this photo with his DJI drone while on his way to a wedding and was trying to make the Welsh Moorland look like an arid desert of sorts. We’re pretty sure he achieved his goal.

Lachlan Dempsey/UnsplashAerial Photos from the Unsplash Awards image 4

Vertical Pools, Newport Australia by Lachlan Dempsey

Lachlan Dempsey captured this incredible photo of an ocean pool being struck by waves in Newport Australia. The man-made pool acts as a break wall for the cliffs beside it and provides a safe swimming spot for beach visitors with breathtaking views.

Ryan Searle/UnsplashAerial Photos from the Unsplash Awards image 5

Dividing Lines, Bristol, UK by Ryan Searle

One of the previous runner-up photographs shortlisted in the aerial category comes from Bristol, United Kingdom and shows modern capitalism at its finest.

A heaving car park looks like something Henry Ford would have been proud of – you can have any colour you like as long as it’s black, white or grey. 

Jason Wong/UnsplashMobile Photography from The Unsplash Awards image 4

Mobile photography-Street 01 A, Kowloon, Hong Kong by Jason Wong

From the bustling streets of Hong Kong comes this hazy photo by Jason Wong.

Selected as one of the previous finalists for the shortlist for the mobile photography category, it’s an impressive image captured on an Apple iPhone. 

Aaron Burden/UnsplashMobile Photography from The Unsplash Awards image 3

Bench by the lake on an autumn’s day by Aaron Burden

A tranquil scene with a peaceful view across a calm lake. The bright green grass is scattered with Autumn leaves providing a wonderful contrast.

This simply brilliant image was snapped on an Apple iPhone 6s by Aaron Burden and shortlisted for the mobile photography category after clocking up over 1.8 million views. 

Michael Martinelli/UnsplashMobile Photography from The Unsplash Awards image 2

Mobile category winner – il pontile, Riare, Italia by Michael Martinelli

This image by Michael Martinelli was previously chosen as the winner for the mobile photography category and captures a peaceful jetty jetting out into a calm bay in Riare, Italy. 

Piron Guillaume/UnsplashBlack and White photos from The Unsplash Awards image 5

Untitled, Jupiterlaan, Vorst, Belgium by Piron Guillaume

A simple portrait image with incredible use of shadow creating a kind of anonymity for the subject. We love how little there is going on in this photo, it’s clean, simple and beautiful. 

Jeremy Bishop/UnsplashBlack and White photos from The Unsplash Awards image 3

Sand Lines, Iceland by Jeremy Bishop

This image captured on the beaches of Iceland nearly could have been taken in colour as it was shot on the famous black sands beaches.

In black and white, the ocean looks moody and unforgiving. An undeniably incredible photo. 

PICSELI/UnsplashBlack and White photos from The Unsplash Awards image 4

Untitled, Fălticeni, Romania by PICSELI

A simply beautiful photograph of a solitary man walking on an empty road surrounded by the wonder of nature.

Ihor Malytskyi/UnsplashBlack and White photos from The Unsplash Awards image 6

Black and white category winner – Window By Ihor Malytskyi

This simply framed yet magnificently moody photo captures a lone woman staring out of a train window. 

Samuel Zeller/UnsplashBlack and White photos from The Unsplash Awards image 2

Abstract spiral pattern, Basel, Switzerland by Samuel Zeller

Abstract swirling patterns hold a certain majesty in black and white imagery that cannot exist in similar colour photographs. 

Taylor Kiser/UnsplashFood photos from the Unsplash Awards image 2

Vegan food might not be for everybody, but this snap of waffles in a bright purple sauce is heavenly. Presentation is everything. 

Daniel Hjalmarsson/UnsplashFood photos from the Unsplash Awards image 5

Pancakes for breakfast, Heysham, United Kingdom by Calum Lewis

An unusual sight on a British breakfast table, these pancakes covered in syrup are much more likely to be found on an American plate.

Nonetheless, the clarity of this photo is making us hungry. 

Christiann Koepke/UnsplashFood photos from the Unsplash Awards image 6

Leek-crusted cedar planked salmon, Portland, United States by Christiann Koepke

Food photographs rarely look this good. They say the first bite is with the eye, so we’re sad we won’t get a chance to tuck into this one.

Brooke Lark/UnsplashFood photos from the Unsplash Awards image 4

Fruit Tree Harvest, Salt Lake City, United States by Brooke Lark

A bountiful harvest indeed. This image from Brooke Lark captures a simple bowl of fruits captured from around her home in Salt Lake City. A brilliantly colourful and healthy bounty. 

Daniel Hjalmarsson/UnsplashFood photos from the Unsplash Awards image 7

Homemade popsicle! By Daniel Hjalmarsson

This snap of delicious lollies was captured for an Instagram user who’s keen on creating art around the home. Simply beautiful, especially for those with a sweet tooth. 

Kunj Parekh/UnsplashLandscape photography from the Unsplash Awards image 3

Untitled by Kunj Parekh

Kunj Parekh captured this image of sand being tossed through the air.

The grains of sand are perfectly highlighted by this black and white image that was shortlisted for the nature and landscape category. 

Neven Krcmarek/UnsplashLandscape photography from the Unsplash Awards image 4

Transmission towers in fog, Bled, Slovenia by Neven Krcmarek

Man and nature collide once more. This photo from Slovenia captures power lines jutting out of the fog swirling through trees below.

An astounding image showing the sheer beauty of nature.

Sam Ferrara/UnsplashLandscape photography from the Unsplash Awards image 6

Nature and landscape winner – Autumn woods across the lake by Sam Ferrara

This unassuming image of Autumnal woods across a calm lake was captured by Sam Ferrara and uploaded to Unsplash in 2017 and chosen as the winner for the nature and landscape category.

Guille Pozzi/UnsplashLandscape photography from the Unsplash Awards image 2

Patagonian lake buoy, Bariloche, Argentina by Guille Pozzi

On a cold snowy day, a lone bouy bobs gently on a calm body of water.

This photograph captures the wonder and beauty of nature on the shores of Argentina. 

Shifaaz Shamoon/UnsplashLandscape photography from the Unsplash Awards image 5

Maldives by Shifaaz Shamoon

When most of us dream of a summer holiday, we probably picture a beach just like this one. Lush blue waters lapping at warm white sands.

This aerial photo from the Maldives captures a beautiful empty beach, certainly a rare sight in the summer months. 

Graham Holtshausen/UnsplashLandscape photography from the Unsplash Awards image 7

A world lost in time, Twelve Apostles, Australia by Graham Holtshausen

“The 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria is truly a sight to behold. This stunning section of coastline, boasting monoliths protruding from the ocean, is often overcrowded with tourists.” These are the words of Graham Holsthausen, the photographer behind this marvellous image. 

Oladimeji Odunsi/UnsplashPeople and portraits from the Unsplash Rewards image 6

Lady in Yellow, Ottawa, Canada by Oladimeji Odunsi

A beautiful subject, superb lighting, wonderful colour, this photo has it all. Oladimeji Odunsi clearly put a lot of effort into this one.

Rafael Romero/UnsplashPeople and portraits from the Unsplash Rewards image 7

Untitled by Rafael Romero

This simple photograph captures a lone smoker cast in the neon light of a hairdressers. We can’t help but think this young man could do with a haircut too. 

Nathan Dumlao/UnsplashPeople and portraits from the Unsplash Rewards image 5

Untitled by Nathan Dumlao

One man and his freckles. This striking photo by Nathan Dumlao has had over 200,000 views since it was uploaded to Unsplash. 

Sam Burriss/UnsplashPeople and portraits from the Unsplash Rewards image 2

Daniel, bw by Sam Burriss

This black and white portrait photograph was selected by the Unsplash judges as the winner for the people and portrait category in 2017. The original image taken by Sam Burriss was slightly tweaked to adjust the contrast and highlight the subject’s skin more. 

Melissa Mjoen/UnsplashPeople and portraits from the Unsplash Rewards image 4

Feel by Melissa Mjoen

This colourful image of a painted man with a cigarette hanging from his lips looks like the aftermath of the Holi Festival of Colour.

We love the bright colours of this one and the mood of the man being photographed too. The judges liked it as well and selected it for the shortlist for the people and portraits category.

Julian Paul/UnsplashSports photography from the Unsplash Awards image 2

Sports category winner – Diver hand, Maldives by Julian Paul

An underwater shot of a diver in the Maldives. Swimming with the fishes in the warm oceans makes for a cracking photo.

Andhika Soreng/UnsplashSports photography from the Unsplash Awards image 3

360 flip out of nowhere, Bandung, Indonesia by Andhika Soreng

A skateboarder captured in the dark doing a 360 flip. This image proved popular enough to make it into the shortlist for one of the previous year’s awards. 

Jeremy Bishop/UnsplashSports photography from the Unsplash Awards image 4

Untitled, Bali, Indonesia by Jeremy Bishop

A surfer catches waves in Bali, Indonesia. A perfect wave break like this is no doubt incredibly difficult to capture. This single image is probably one of thousands that Jeremy Bishop had to take before getting the final result. 

Julian Paul/UnsplashSports photography from the Unsplash Awards image 5

King Jumper, Königssee, Schönau am Königssee, Germany by Julian Paul

Julian Paul captured this image in Königssee, Germany of a diver moments before he hit the water. 

Tim Gouw/UnsplashSports photography from the Unsplash Awards image 7

Toronto Blue Jays stadium, Toronto, Canada by Tim Gouw

This aerial photo of the Blue Jays stadium shows hundreds upon hundreds of sports fans enjoying a good game. 

Louis Amal/UnsplashStreet Photography from the Unsplash Awards image 6

Night Squad Competition, Crown Towers Melbourne, Southbank, Australia by Louis Amal

A photograph from the nighttime streets of Melbourne Australia, shows people mingling and smoking outside a cocktail bar. This sort of sight is familiar across the world, but colourful images like this capture its full glory. 

Denys Nevozhai/UnsplashStreet Photography from the Unsplash Awards image 4

Flatiron Building, New York, United States by Denys Nevozhai

A long-exposure shot of the busy New York streets captures the yellow haze of the famous American taxis and the hustle and bustle of people passing by. 

Guillaume Bolduc/UnsplashStreet Photography from the Unsplash Awards image 5

Untitled, Montreal, Canada by Guillaume Bolduc

A stairway to heaven? This man-made structure makes excellent use of natural and artificial lighting to create a welcoming sight to those passing through. 

Mike Wilson/UnsplashStreet Photography from the Unsplash Awards image 7

Person Rain Melbourne by Mike Wilson

A miserable day of rain makes for a wonderfully wet photograph from the streets of Melbourne, Australia. 

Brunel Johnson/UnsplashStreet Photography from the Unsplash Awards image 3

When Hunger Strikes, London by Brunel Johnson

A hungry man browses for some snacks on a busy London street. This simple image of urban life makes for a brilliant photo and found its way into the final selection for the street photography category in 2017. 

Adam Birkett/UnsplashTechnology Photos from the Unsplash Awards image 4

Shooting film by Adam Birkett

Gone but not forgotten, the humble roll of film lives on in a simple yet wonderful photo from Adam Birkett.

Christopher Burns/UnsplashTechnology Photos from the Unsplash Awards image 5

Fix it, Hay, Australia by Christopher Burns

From white collar to blue collar, the tech and business photography category includes it all. There are some great opportunities for photographs in all these environments and this one really made some sparks. 

Kevin Ku on UnsplashTechnology Photos from the Unsplash Awards image 6

Project Deadline by Kevin Ku

Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines, we all hate them, but this is a pretty cool way to represent the misery of the ticking clock as the deadline draws closer. 

This image is one of those selected for the tech and business category.  

Writing by Adrian Willings.





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