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IPhone Photo Award Winners Capture Tender Moments, Stark Contrasts And A Magical Sky

"Magic of Aurora Borealis." Russia
"Magic of Aurora Borealis." Russia

It's a fantastical image: A person is standing on a bench, taking in the majestic view of a neon green aurora borealis in Russia. But from another perspective, it looks as if the person could be on another planet — maybe the snowsuit is a spacesuit and the ground below and the sky above are some alien landscape.

This is one of the winning photos in this year's 14th iPhone Photography Award. The winners of the annual international contest were announced this week.

The rules are simple. Anyone can submit a photo in one of 18 categories as long as the photos were taken with an iPhone or iPad and not altered by Photoshop beyond iPhone filters or lenses.

The contest's top photos are a study in contrasts. The grand prize went to Hungarian photojournalist Istvan Kerekes. His photo depicts two rugged shepherds standing in a desolate landscape in Romania. Despite the harshness all around them, they cradle soft lambs around their shoulders and in their arms. Photographer of the Year award was granted to Sharan Shetty of India, who captures a man sharing a tender moment with his horse in Azerbaijan in an empty and lonely desert.

The selection of prize-winning images below are truly global: from the less-well-off countries that we focus on in our Goats and Soda coverage to the wealthiest places on Earth. And all these images attest to the ability of a phone to make photographic magic.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

"Transylvanian Shepherds." Romania
Istvan Kerekes / IPPAWARDS
"Transylvanian Shepherds." Romania
"Bonding." Azerbaijan
Sharan Shetty / IPPAWARDS
"Bonding." Azerbaijan
"Reach the Soul." Senegal
Quim Fabregas / IPPAWARDS
"Reach the Soul." Senegal
"Untitled." Ohio
Krysten Crabtree / IPPAWARDS
"Untitled." Ohio
"Dusk." Morocco
Enhua Ni / IPPAWARDS
"Dusk." Morocco
"Winter Dawn in a Small Town." China
Lisi Li / IPPAWARDS
"Winter Dawn in a Small Town." China
"The Old Gym." Bangladesh
Mahabub Hossain Khan / IPPAWARDS
"The Old Gym." Bangladesh