(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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Untitled, Fălticeni, Romania by PICSELI
A simply beautiful photograph of a solitary man walking on an empty road surrounded by the wonder of nature.
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.
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.
Vegan food might not be for everybody, but this snap of waffles in a bright purple sauce is heavenly. Presentation is everything.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Person Rain Melbourne by Mike Wilson
A miserable day of rain makes for a wonderfully wet photograph from the streets of Melbourne, Australia.
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.
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.
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.
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.