ROAM, the global adventure community founded by some of the best photographers and filmmakers in the world, has announced the winners of the first annual ROAM Awards: a wanderlust-inducing set of photos, videos, and essays that will have you reaching for your camera with one hand and booking a plane ticket with the other.
The ROAM Awards was founded this year as “a way to discover, celebrate, and amplify emerging and established visual storytellers.” To that end, the awards recognized 15 winners in all across three main categories: Photo, Video, and Essay. Each of the 15 winners received $45,000, thousands in non-cash prizes like gear and workshops, networking opportunities with industry giants like Nat Geo photographer and ROAM founding member Jimmy Chin, and more.
“The intent of the ROAM Awards [is] to identify, celebrate, and amplify the next generation of voices in our adventure with purpose community,” reads the description on ROAM’s website. “Voices that will help us explore new ways of thinking, to help us re-connect with deeply shared human emotions, and to enable us to see that which we might never have known to even exist.”
Scroll down to see all five winners of the photography category, whose work is truly awe-inspiring.
Lessons Category Winner
Photographer: Roie Galitz
Title: Polar Bear Learning Wildlife Photography
Description: My life project is Polar Bears in their environment, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that Polar Bears are very bright and curious. That’s exactly what happened here. As I was photographing this big male for days, he was very curious about what I was doing there and mostly about the camera gear I’m using… suddenly he turned around and started to walk directly at us, we had no time and immediately drove our snowmobile out of his path, he approached the cameras and after examination from the photographer’s side and looking through the viewfinder – he carried on his path and climbed the glacier. I think he wanted to learn what it’s like to be a photographer.
Purpose Category Winner
Photographer: Steve Shannon
Title: Alpine Texture
Description: How we humans interact with the natural world has driven my photography since the beginning of my career. This image reminds me of many things – my aging friend, Kevin Marr, leading a group safely through avalanche terrain; the combination of snow, wind and light to create the incredible textures. Skiing and the mountains have been a part of my life since birth, and this combination of adventurous pursuits in beautiful landscapes continues to drive my passion for photography and adventure.
Thrill Category Winner
Photographer: George Bruce Wilson
Title: Everything is Karate
Description: This image was created during our filming of Ethan Pringle on Everything Is Karate. We were making a film for Mad Rock and an important part of telling that story was creating some images to go along with the video.
Discovery Category Winner
Photographer: Teo Chin Leong
Title: Fishing Nets in the Wind
Description: In a county in southern China, people harvest seaweed or make a living as fishermen. This is a photo showing fishing nets flying in the wind, and a fisherman rowing upstream in a river. I was waiting for the wind to blow up the fishing nets. It was a long wait because I wanted the nets to be balanced in form and composition. I finally caught a shot where the nets look good, and the fisherman is perfectly positioned for a nice composition.
Awe Category Winner
Photographer: Jesse Levine
Title: Splitboarding in Kyrgyzstan
Description: This image was captured during a 15 day self-supported expedition in the Pamir Mountains of Kyrgyzstan.
To see all of the winners in each of the major categories, or learn more about the ROAM Awards and the judges who chose these images, head over to the ROAM website. If this year’s winners are any indication of the kind of quality we can expect moving forward, you can definitely expect to hear more about the ROAM Awards in the years to come.
Image credits: All images credited individually, use courtesy of ROAM.