Awards 2020

The Unsplash Awards celebrates the very best of the open photography movement, and the generous photographers who push creativity forward every day. And now, the wait is over — and it’s time for us to recognize the finalists from this year.

View finalists  →

Daniel Olah

Hungary — Nikon D800
Selected in
Unsplash Awards 2020

It was a delightful honor for me to go through the ‘Unsplash Awards Architecture Shortlist of 2020’, let’s just say it wasn’t an easy decision to choose the one. I was going back and forth with a few but in the end, I went for the one that stood out in times. Paying tribute to my predecessor’s judges, I chose the one where the architecture connects with its composition and where we are only present to seize its beauty and its structural design. I’d like to think that architecture has the power to take us to places we have never seen before. That’s why I chose this one. It made me feel like I was actually standing right there and took that photograph. The sun is gently going to sleep, giving us a faded mirrored symmetry coming together with the picturesque architecture. It’s a connection, a connection that I dearly miss with what is happening to the whole world. Hopefully soon, in the near future; we will get to feel again.

Francois Hoang
Chief Editor & Partner — Abduzeedo

Nengi Nelson

Lagos, Nigeria — Canon EOS M50
Selected in
Current Events
Unsplash Awards 2020

My pick is Nengi Nelson’s photo from Lagos, Nigeria. From the eye contact you get from the man holding the #EndSARS sign, to the graffiti above the other two people’s heads, there’s a lot to engage with in this photo. The hashtags on the sign place us in Nigeria, but the image also captures the sentiment of what so many people have protested against this year. It’s a layered image and gives you more information the longer and more closely you look at it.

Erika Allen
Executive Managing Editor — Vice

Dynamic Wang

Beijing, China
Selected in
Unsplash Awards 2020

'Snow White' is most interesting to me because I wasn’t immediately sure if it was a real person or not: to be honest I still can’t say for sure. The composition of the piece is strong, the coloring is eye-catching and I love how the face melds with what I presume is snow, and how a snowflake (?) is on her face. A great piece that catches your attention and doesn’t let go.

Slava Kim
Head of Design — Zora

Raphael Lovaski

Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil — Canon EOS REBEL T7i
Selected in
Unsplash Awards 2020

Pared back and considered in the best possible way, I love the way Raphael Lovaski uses shape and form in this photo. To me,this photo is equal parts beautiful and emotional — and great photography should evoke an emotional response, so it’s a winner for me.

Francesca Wallace
E-commerce editor, Vogue, Vogue Living and GQ

Jean Carlo Emer

Amsterdam, Netherlands
Selected in
Unsplash Awards 2020

I live in Amsterdam and I’ve walked through the Red Light District (locally called “de Wallen”) dozens of times without appreciating the way the neon lights dance on the canal at night. Long exposures are great for revealing these visual treats. When I first saw this image, the first thing I noticed was BAM! The circle of lights! What a striking focus point. Then the eye appreciates the contrast between the orderly 17th century canal house and the striking vibrancy of the Sex Palace lights. Well done to the photographer Jean Carlo Emer! And thank you to the Unsplash Community for this opportunity to be a part of the Awards selection.

Laura Brown
Social Media Manager — Polaroid

Leo Manjarrez

Mexico City, Mexico — Canon EOS 70D
Selected in
Health & Wellness
Unsplash Awards 2020

This photo evokes this sense of mystery that I love. Given the body position of the man, you don’t know if he’s coming or going and or what is running through his mind or the state of his emotional being. The photo is dimensionalized and feels organic and peaceful. To me this photo embodies health and wellness which can manifest differently for everyone — it could be a morning ritual which involves going for a swim or taking a mindful moment to appreciate the natural world around you as you stare into the ocean. It democratizes wellness and breaks the stigma of what wellness should ‘look like’ or ‘feel like’.

Emma Nemtin
Director of Media Partnerships — Headspace


Selected in
Unsplash Awards 2020

The viewer’s eye is immediately drawn to the luscious throw on the sofa, reminiscent of a Dali-esque scene, lending this picture a painting-like quality. Staging interiors is no easy feat, capturing them in the right light even less so — the soft light, creamy tones, and variety of rounded, soft shapes in this photo give it a timeless and calming feel. It’s hard to look away!

Livia Antolik
Online Merchandising Specialist — Ikea

Tommy Boudreau

Boston, MA — Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Selected in
Unsplash Awards 2020

I love this piece, because it shows the power of the photographer to recalibrate our understanding of nature by bringing us to places we would never visit or never find a deeper level of access to. It’s an invitation to change our mind towards the natural world and allow it to fascinate us, to cast its magic spell over us, to recruit us for its protection.

Cyrill Gutsch
Founder and CEO — Parley for the Oceans

Megan Bagshaw

Derby, UK — Canon EOS 800D
Selected in
Unsplash Awards 2020

It’s a portrait where the essence of the subject is captured and illuminated so beautifully. It’s almost like you know her, but her complex expression and unfiltered visage still makes you wonder. Stunning image.

Jane Wong
Senior UX Designer — SSENSE

Benjamin Suter

Chicago, IL — Sony ILCE-7RM2
Selected in
Street Photogrpahy
Unsplash Awards 2020

This was not the photo I expected to see in the street photography category, but it should have been. I expected to see people’s moments in time captured at street level. Of course, like all other things, the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we move about our cities. This photo perfectly captures the absolute unnerving beauty of a deserted and silent city. The elevated angle of the image feels unconventional yet resonates with the experience of observing the street through a window as many of us have grown accustomed to doing.

Tyler Kealey
Design Director

Patrick Perkins

San Francisco, CA — Nikon D3400
Selected in
Community Photo of the Year
Unsplash Awards 2020

This year, for the first time ever — we asked the community to vote for the image they thought was the most impactful photograph of the year. The votes are in, and the image that resonated most was Patrick Perkins’ photograph capturing the US wildfires.

Thank you 🎉

A huge thank you to everyone in our community who took the time to submit a photo this year, as well as the amazing judges who had the nearly impossible task of selecting this year’s finalists. We couldn’t have done it without you.

And of course, a huge congratulations to the finalists from this year.
You amaze us.

Until next year 👋

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