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Great Scott! What A Shot!  

December 6, 2021 Accolades No Comments

shallow focus photography of black DSLR cameraAfter nearly two years of extraordinary travel restrictions, challenges and prohibitions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an international collection of photographers has captured through their lenses the resilient spirit and enduring strength of travellers who have ventured near and far.  

“The flexibility and toughness demonstrated by travellers and the travel and tourism industry can only be defined as resilient. That’s why we selected ‘resilience’ — a word meaning strength, spirit, courage, character, flexibility, hutzpah or determination – as the theme for the 2021 Global Rescue Photo Contest,” said Michael Holmes, VP Marketing at Global Rescue, the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services.

The contest featured four categories: togetherness, landscape, outdoor activity and animal travel companions.

The grand prize winner and first place winner of the Togetherness category was Mithail Afrige Chowdhury for his photograph “COVIID-Negative Celebration” – a Bangladeshi birthday celebration for a 12-year-old girl who had just beaten her battle with coronavirus.

The judges’ panel included: Mark Edward Harris, who has visited and photographed in more than 100 countries; Lydia Schrandt, who serves as the first chair of the Editors Council of the Society of American Travel Writers; Paul Shoul, photographer for GoNomad.com; and Chelsea Bakos-Kallgren, an award-winning graphic designer and Design Head for Global Rescue.

“Children are facing a difficult time in the pandemic,” said Chowdhury, a documentarian and street photographer based in Bangladesh’s capital city of Dhaka. “To make their days a little more colourful, a celebration is still necessary to lift spirits and give them hope for a brighter tomorrow.”

“It’s a beautiful moment of togetherness in these hard times. This image moves me,” Shoul said.

Skier and photographer Chuck Evans sacrificed a ski run to capture his winning image in the Landscape category. “Pure Bliss” captured Evans’ friend and professional skier, Ricky Ceccant, during an April 2021 heli-ski trip to Haines, Alaska.

“It was my first Alaska heli-skiing trip,” said the Los Angeles-based former pro snowboarder who picked up photography as a hobby during the pandemic lockdown. “I was excited to not just ride this huge Alaskan terrain but to also capture the majesty of the mountains. Riding in such grandiose terrain is a humbling reminder of how powerful and beautiful the mountains are.”

“This is a great example of using a person for scale in showing off the humbling majesty of nature,” Harris said.

In the Outdoor Action Category, first place was awarded to Har Rai Khalsa, an Oregon native who grew up snowboarding, windsurfing and surfing and later fell in love with photography in high school. His photograph – “Immersed in Brazil” – depicts a submerged Italian windsurfer, Greta Marchegger.

“When I looked at this photo, I could almost feel the bubbles against my skin and hear the water rush past my ears,” Bakos-Kallgren said.

“Best Friends” by Joshua Tobey – a wildlife sculptor whose work is on display in four states – won the Animal Travel Companion category. During a September 2021 family trip in Wyoming’s Green Mountain, Indy – a Parson Russell terrier – climbed up and perched on the shoulder of a family member who was tracking elk using binoculars.

“I was charmed by the sense of partnership between this photographer and his camo-vested companion,” Schrandt said.

Travellers were, and are, eager to fight back to regain their family vacations, adventure travels and business trips. “The resilience captured in these images highlights the flexibility and toughness of travellers during a period when the whole world shared the same challenge,” Bakos-Kallgren said.

“The photographers found strength, spirit, courage, character, flexibility, hutzpah and determination in their subjects during a time when we all needed it,” said Dan Richards, CEO of Global Rescue.

Edited by: Stephen Morton

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