Like all good things, beauty is fleeting and often elusive. Being able to capture and preserve it, to bottle up those little moments of aesthetic bliss and share them with the world, has been photography's great gift to the world. Celebrating the art and labor that goes into taking stunning photos, the Smithsonian Magazine has published the shortlist of 60 finalists for its 11th Annual Photo Contest. Broken down into six categories with 10 finalists in each, these images have been selected from a pool of over 50,000 photographs from 132 different countries. The new addition of a Mobile category acknowledges the growing influence and quality of smartphone photography, with Apple's iPhones dominating the selection.
The contest organizers are actively soliciting votes from the public to help determine the winner of the Readers' Choice award. Voting is open until May 6th and you're allowed to support your favorite photo multiple times — you can vote once every 24 hours. The Grand Prize, the Readers' Choice, and the six category winners will be announced on May 15th, which is also the date on which the 12th Annual Photo Contest will open its doors for submissions.
Here are five of the mobile nominees and our favorites from each of the other categories. All images published with the permission of the Smithsonian Magazine.
- Mobile: Cannon Beach in Oregon Photograph by Chaz Wilke (Los Angeles, California). Shot with an iPhone 4S.
- Mobile: calm before the storm Photograph by Darlene Jensen (Richmond Hill, Georgia). Shot with an iPhone 4.
- Mobile: Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana Photograph by Cammie Cooley (Ragley, Louisiana). Shot with an iPhone 5.
- Mobile: going down a slide in Wisconsin Photograph by James Gardner (Verona, Wisconsin). Shot with an iPhone 5S.
- Mobile: Macaque monkey in Japan Photograph by John Gamble (San Francisco, California). Shot with an iPhone 5.
- Travel: A fisherman on Inle Lake in Myanmar Photograph by Aung Pyae Soe (Yangon, Myanmar). Shot with a Canon EOS 1DX.
- Americana: Black Rock Bijou Theatre at Burning Man 2013 Photograph by Mark Kaplan (Carrollton, Texas). Shot with a Nikon D7100.
- Natural: Wasp on a dewy morning Photograph by Eko Adiyanto (Bekasi, Indonesia). Shot with a Nikon D90.
- People: Fjallsárlón glacier in Iceland Photograph by Candy Feng (Starkville, Mississippi). Shot with a Canon 40D.
- Altered: Mentawai native Photograph by Mohd Irman Ismail (Shah Alam, Malaysia). Shot with a Nikon D7000.