Now Presenting The 2021 Photo Contest Winners

$35,000 is a lot of bananas.

And if you won a photo contest that had cash prizes in that amount we would not be the people to ask about how to invest your funds. However, if you did ask the Whalebone team we might advise against spending it all on bananas. That is unless when the world jumped into a volcano you were in your house for an extended amount of time and perhaps became a world-class banana bread maker. Then we might say something like, “Hey, you should buy a bunch of bananas.” But that should not be taken as financial advice. And even then, spending hard-earned cash from your exceptional photography to support an emerging banana bread business sounds risky. But you’re obviously rather talented in and out of the kitchen already and likely have a plan in place on how to properly invest. You can very well do anything you’d like. But please don’t come looking up our phone number in the middle of the night if this whole thing blows up in your face. That’s actually a lie. We’d happily answer your call and let you in to have some tea and talk about how to get you back on your feet. What you see below is the result of efforts of thousands of talented individuals across dozens of countries who submitted their work. And while we couldn’t place every single photo submitted into the pages of The Photos Issue, we’re humbled by every image and story that was submitted.

Prints of the winning photographs you see below and many more of the finalists are available for purchase in The Print Shop.

Your purchase goes directly to the photographers and a portion also goes to support No Kid Hungry.

Hide ‘n’ Suck | Michael Francis Connelly | Grand Prize Water

“Spending so much time with Octopuses has definitely changed how I see them. Instead of Sushi they have become unreal, photo props for me now. This was after I spent some time free diving reef, learning about them and handling them with some amazing, out of this world water people, out on Oahu, Hawaii. I bonded with these amazing eight limbed beings, to the point where they have become my favorite animal to come across while in the water, and to always return safely to the reef.”

Curves | Ben Thouard | Water Finalist

“Simply water…”

Water for life | Sharwar Apo | Water Finalist

“Drinking water is essential to a healthy lifestyle. There are billions of people in the world who deserve the better quality of life and clean drinking water but in shortly there are huge politics. Humans can live longer without food than water, so communication about clean water is essential to help avoid the risk of cholera, dysentery, malnutrition, famine, and death. Clean water is our right as humans on this earth.”

Mulcoy’s World | Mark McInnis | Grand Prize Adventure

“All credit goes to my brother, my hero and my favorite surfer, Josh Mulcoy, for this photo. He has towed me into a lot of memorable images over the years, but this one simply takes the cake.”

Cliche in the Rain | Tanner Bowden | Adventure Finalist

“It turns out getting one of those cliche girl-in-bow-of-canoe photos that are all over Instagram isn’t always the easiest thing to do.”

Rodeo Days | Gabriel L’Heureux | Adventure Finalist

“When in Aspen, Colorado for another shoot I was asked if I wanted to go check out the Snowmass Rodeo one evening. Sure glad I brought my camera. Amazing experience.”

Harmony House Hugs | Tyler Schank | Grand Prize Human

“Gracelynn Noland, 6, and her grandmother Janet Noland hold hands and touch foreheads through a plastic cover as they say goodbye Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, after their visit in a garage at Harmony House assisted living facility in Superior, Wisconsin. Janet and her husband Frank were surprised to see their grandchildren and even more surprised to have the chance to hug them. “They can do that every day!” Janet said of the experience.”

Connected Ceremony | Donell Gumiran | Human Finalist

“Tribal Dance Ceremony, One of the most feared tribes in Omo Valley famed for their unique story-telling and singing prowess. Omo, Ethiopia.”

Coexistence | Ryan Borne | Human Finalist

“Every time I see this photo I can’t help but think that it could be Batman and his Batmobile. But Jokes asides I think this photo shows that we can all coexist, that ultimately we all came from Nature and we’re all part of the same world. Let’s take care of Nature. Aim High…”

Shot on assignment for Coral Gardeners.

Wall of Death | Siddharth Kaneria | Grand Prize Motion

“The photograph is of Daredevil Stuntmen at “Well Of Death” performing in their car. Hundreds of spectators crowded around a circular pit to witness daredevil drivers in cars & motorcycles performing stunts in a vertical pit known as the “Well of Death.” Once a sight at festivals across northern India, the practice is now waning but that doesn’t stop festival goers and stuntmen from capitalizing on the few remaining Wells of Death in the country. The Photograph is one of the biggest “Well of death” which exist in India. It is said that only 6 of this kind is in practice.”

Kicking it back… | Subhashis Halder | Motion Finalist

“Maidan, in Kolkata, turns into a wonderland in winters right in the heart of the city before it becomes all busy. This place, more like the common ground for all the people around it to exercise, chats, play, and many more.

This day, I was walking into the dense layers of fog and smog (mostly) when suddenly I found these two boys were playing soccer and it felt so surreal to me when they were passing the ball to each other continuously. I froze this action with the ball seemingly holding the moment together.”

Life in Color | Zay Yar Lin | Motion Finalist

“A seafarer swabbing the ship red deck with soapy water while sailing in the Atlantic Ocean. This is the spontaneous moment of a seafarer’s life and I have taken this shot from the bridge wing which is the highest deck of the ship.”

Enjoying the biggest festival Durga Puja | Sultan Ahmed Niloy | Grand Prize Joy

“Children are enjoying the biggest Bengali festival which is Durga Puja. It’s a very big ritual for Hindus community people in Kolkata, India And Bangladesh.”

Our Playground | Hardibudi | Joy Finalist

“Just simply snap shoot of a child who’s playing with his Grandfather in a paddy field.”

Laundry | Kristen Emack | Joy Finalist

“Leyah, Kayla and Apple”

Tidal Pool | Daniel Pullen | Grand Prize Weather

“Storm Surge from Hurricane Teddy spinning off of the coast of Cape Hatteras pours into the bottom floor of this cottage in Avon, NC.”

Car Wash | Bo Bridges | Weather Finalist

“It’s usually 72 and sunny in California, so when a rare storm began approaching Hermosa Beach, photographer Bo Bridges ran out to the coast to capture the looming clouds. Bo reached the shore just as a rainbow appeared, so he aligned it with a nearby lifeguard stand, thus creating this symbol of hope and light. Find more of Bo’s work at”

RUN | Ben Thouard | Weather Finalist

“Some of my favorite moments spent in the ocean are when you’re face to face with mother nature’s power and beauty. I shot this photo as a big storm was about to hit and everybody was running home to escape the chaos. I stayed, I shot, I enjoyed. Hope you feel the intensity and enjoy it, too.”

All of the above photos are available for purchase as prints, directly supporting the photographers.