At Fathom, we appreciate great storytelling in all forms, whether brilliant writing or evocative photography. The latest installment of our 24 Best series spotlights professional travel photographers from around the world, encompassing a broad range of styles, subject matter, perspectives, and backgrounds.
This year, we decided to open the judging pool and asked past 24 Best Travel Photographers winners to nominate their favorites. The result is a wonderful — and, as ever, inspiring and illuminating — mix of old favorites and new discoveries.
This list not only highlights some of the best talent in travel photography, but also showcases the world through a different lens, both literally and figuratively.
What's to Love: "Farah is always exploring my favorite continent, Africa, with such passion for stories. She shares the secrets that people tell her, with a thirst for educating others. Her knowledge about culture and her eye for detail are among the many reasons I am in love with her work." – Selected by Natalia Horinkova (Fathom 24 Best Travel Photographers, 2016)
Last Seen: Keeping up with the elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya.
What's to Love: "I saw him speak at a National Geographic live event in Kansas City, and besides being wildly funny and one of the more engaging speakers I've ever heard, his work is just captivating. His intuition to dive in and understand the environment, the people in it, and the relationship between the two is highly apparent in his work. James' photography is the kind that stands out in your mind's eye long after you see it: hordes of tourists taking photos at the Grand Canyon, a young girl swimming in the Amazon with a little monkey clinging to her head, a perfectly symmetrical pair of cheetahs sitting on a rock overlooking their kingdom." – Anna Petrow (2015)
Last Seen: Fending off kea birds in Austria.
What's to Love: When we met Roberto at Le Sirenuse on the Amalfi Coast, we thought he was a local photographer with a special eye for the beauty of his homeland. When we got to know him, we realized his documentary work runs much deeper — most movingly to refugee camps, where he chronicles victims of the global immigration crisis with pathos and grace. Religion, politics, beaches: It's the rare talent who can capture them all so effectively. – Selected by Fathom Editors
Last Seen: In the Rust Belt, USA.
What's to Love: "Lagrange brings a fine art/film component to editorial and commercial travel photography, rooted on the basics — lines, shapes, and colors. I always love seeing how another photographer captures a particular place that I've been to. Lagrange has traveled to more than 80 countries, so we've definitely traveled to some of the same places, especially in South Asia and Africa. He has a way of capturing people in their element that makes me stop in my tracks and look at a particular image for a long time." – Tanveer Badal (2015)
Last Seen: Taking a lunch break in the Gobi desert.
What's to Love: "An Australian photojournalist based in Afghanistan. More often than not, he seems to focus on life in and around Kabul, but every photo he puts out stop in my tracks. The daily life he is getting at is incredible: It's raw, honest, and beautiful. Quilty's approach — daily life and work under the physical banner of war or being a social pariah to the West — is more important now than ever. He makes those places and people approachable and relatable. He doesn't know me but we've shared editors and have all raised a glass to him and his coverage overall, but especially on the MSF hospital bombing in 2015. Furthermore, it's clear that he is still out shooting when the rest of us are done and ready for a pint." – Micah Albert (2015)
Last Seen: Stuck in traffic after a Taliban ambush on a drive from Jalalabad and Kabul, Afghanistan.
What's to Love: "An Australian photographer with an extraordinary sense of capturing light and feeling in her photographs. In each of her images, I feel the heart that went into taking it, and it's the emotion of the image which penetrates through to be incredibly powerful. She travels all over the world and often around Australia. Like me, she has a deep love for Nepal and the pictures she took in the country really took my breath away." – Annapurna Mellor (2016)
Last Seen: Getting away from it all at Mt. Barney National Park, Australia.
What's to Love: "He was one of the first travel photographers I came across when I first started my career. He's been out there for a while now. Unlike the hordes of staged shots for the sake of Instagram likes, Angeles' pictures are very authentic and honest." – Sivan Askayo (2015)
Last Seen: Preparing 120 pounds of crawfish for an Easter party.
What's to Love: Action and excitement are the dominant forces appearing in the work of the Mumbai-based photo journalist. There's an explicit realism and storytelling quality to the images that she makes, from portraiture to urbanscapes. Fun facts: Narian has made two wildlife documentaries and is the photo editor of National Geographic Traveller India. – Ami Vitale (2015)
Last Seen: At the annual Hola Mohalla Sikh festival in India.
Check Out Her Work: Portfolio
What's to Love: "With his precious eye for story, great composition, and settled colors, Jono has been my favorite travel photographer for some time now. He seeks real stories and takes pictures of everyday life. He travels to places I dream of and captures the moments in a way that makes you feel like you are there, standing right next to him." – Natalia Horinkova (2016)
Last Seen: Tracking the impact of climate change on daily life in Djénné, Mali.
What's to Love: "I want to be wherever his images are. He has a way of perfectly capturing outdoor scenes in an ethereal way, without sacrificing the image's integrity. Often, some of the most popular adventure Instagram photographers over-exaggerate image elements in the editing process, until the scene barely looks real. His photos are the opposite: They make you feel nostalgic for a place you've never been. He also lets the scenery lead the message. I like that there's not always a person in the image. It's refreshing. When I see adventure scenes with a girl in a flowing dress, it frustrates me because it's not real. Strohl's images capture the scene at hand in a beautiful way." – Michaela Trimble (2016)
Last Seen: Canoeing in Swan Range, Montana.
What's to Love: "Franzen is a super established commercial shooter as well as an Instagram star which makes her a double favorite for us at Tiny Atlas Quarterly. We've also work with her on a trip, and her photos always make me want to travel to wherever she's posting from." – Emily Nathan (2016)
Last Seen: Catching stairwells and trees in Amagansett.
What's to Love: "At Tiny Atlas Quarterly our photo director Deb has a mandate on final selects: Do we want to go there? Even though Dan is still considered an emerging photographer (Fathom included him first as a 24 Best Travel Instagrammer), I ALWAYS want to go where he is on his feed, so much so that we're bringing him to Tahiti as one of our photographers." – Emily Nathan (2016)
Last Seen: Catching waves in Tahiti.
What's to Love: Diana doesn't shy away from the tough stuff — she chases it. She's traveled to danger zones and hard-to-reach places around the world to shed light on human rights issues, like the Minova Rape Trial in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and cultural practices, like the Bear Dance in Romania. – Selected by Fathom Editors
Last Seen: Touching down in Angola International Airport.
What's to Love: The Australian photographer based in Iceland captures the country with stunning and moody landscape shots. The color is minimalist, but he works with texture in a way that's unexpected for a photographer, lending his shots an ethereal quality. If you didn't already want to go to Iceland, you do now. – Selected by Fathom Editors
Last Seen: All over Iceland.
What's to Love: "Besides Albert, I don't know anyone else who travels so far off the beaten path like I do. His work with color and texture lends richness and depth to shots of hard-to-get-to places in Africa and the Middle East." – Selected by David de Vleeschauwer (24 Best Travel Photographers, 2015)
Last Seen: Cooling off in a rare Saharan rain storm in Tindouf, Algeria.
What's to Love: Wohlleben is a documentary photography and cultural anthropologist based in Germany whose work is a balance between fun street scenes (the start of summer in Berlin) and somber, meditative pieces (women and children in Lebanon during the Syrian crisis). – Selected by Fathom Editors
Last Seen: Making new friends in Hell's Gate National Park, Kenya.
What's to Love: The Portuguese photographer defies categorization. He shoots cultures and landscapes all over the world, and his photos are so astonishing they look like stills from a CGI'd movie. – Selected by Fathom Editors
Last Seen: Contemplating mid-day on Lofoten Islands, Norway.
What's to Love: The Cape Town photographer captures life as it happens, primarily on the streets of Europe and South Africa. Her lovely, light, and airy aesthetic, coupled with her short travel diaries, make us want to travel just for the sake of being outdoors. – Selected by Fathom Editors
Last Seen: Shooting street scenes in southern Portugal.
What's to Love: The documentary photographer has quite the eye, having worked on assignment in more than 50 countries for publications including National Geographic and The New York Times T Magazine. To peek into his portfolio is to obtain insight into the unexpected: the psychedelic landscapes of Danakil, the marginalized communities of Costa Rica's rainforests, and the world's third-largest movie industry, Nollywood. – Selected by Fathom Editors
Last Seen: Back in Italy for Milan Design Week.
What's to Love: "Food is a major component of editorial travel photography, and no one is doing it better than the amazing Gentl and Hyers duo. Their work is all about harsh shadows, bold colors, and beautiful textures. The images seem to jump off the page in a very natural and messy-but-beautiful way. I was following along on Instagram during their recent trip to India. India might be the most colorful place in the world (and one of my favorites!) — it was wonderful to see it through Gentl's signature filter." – Tanveer Badal (2015)
Last Seen: Taking a dive in Varanasi, India.
What's to Love: Her fine-art photography is a case study in color. The way she portrays places — lush green plantations, hot white deserts, sky blue coastlines, monochrome frontiers — is both soothing and mesmerizing. – Selected by Fathom Editors
Last Seen: Springtime frolicking at home in New York City.
What's to Love: The Bay Area-based Leica shooter has a heavy Instagram following, and for good reason. His filmic landscape, street, and aerial images transport us to his vantage point, whether he's boarding a boat in the Arctic Circle, floating in the sky above Oakland, or roaming the streets of Varanasi. – Selected by Fathom Editors
Last Seen: On the ground in Kyoto.
What's to Love: "A travel and lifestyle photographer based in London whose work is vibrant and vivid and has a tremendous sense of place. One of the main aims of my photography is to get a strong sense of place: I want the viewer to be taken away to the country and to feel the moment of being and traveling there. Few photographers achieve that feeling as well as Pitts." – Annapurna Mellor (2016)
Last Seen: Meandering down London's Southbank.
What's to Love:There's a god-like quality to the photos made by the Ladzinski, clearly an adventurer and explorer who relishes natural landscapes and wildlife. His POV and saturated color choices make for a heightening of senses; there's no denying the awesomeness of planet Earth. – Ami Vitale (2015)
MORE ON FATHOM
Still Awesome: 24 Best Travel Photographers 2016
The Best in Travel: Fathom Favorites, from apps and Instagrammers to travel mags and travel guide books.
ABOUT FATHOM LISTS
Fathom has three missions: To help you indulge your love of travel, whether you're on the road or staying home. To narrow down endless options (hotels, sites, destinations) to those that are special. And to find the best travel stories.
The photographers on this list help us deliver on this promise through their daring spirit, far-flung adventures, and ability to hone in on intimate moments. We'll be showcasing images and dispatches from these amazing photographers regularly throughout the year. We're thrilled to get to know them better, and we hope you are, too.
And not 10 or 25 or 100? You'll see 24 a lot around Fathom. (See all our 24 Bests on one page.) For a few reasons: We want to deliver a balanced but concise mix of options, and twenty sometimes isn't enough. Also, 24 is our lucky number.
Who are your favorite travel photographers? And what do you travel for? Tell us in the comments below.