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Stunning frozen lighthouse shot tops world’s largest photo competition

CEWE Photo Award 2021 listing image
(Image credit: © Manfred Voss/Cewe Photo Award)

Leading lights from the photography industry gathered in Berlin to celebrate the winners of the CEWE Photo Award 2021 – the world’s largest photo competition. 

Twelve talented photographers were rewarded for their achievements in 10 categories, which were themed around ‘Our World is Beautiful’, a call to search for the good in times of increasing global conflict. 

The CEWE Photo Award 2021 received over 606,289 entries from 170 countries; submissions were made online, and each entrant could enter up to 100 images. The competition is open to all photographers – professionals, hobbyists, amateurs and everyone in between. 

The winning image, of a frozen lighthouse, was shot by Manfred Voss from Germany, and topped the Landscapes category. 

Manfred will now enjoy a holiday of his choice worth €15,000, plus €7,500 of photography equipment and €2,500 of CEWE products. 

And the second to 10th place winners each receive €5,000 of photography equipment and €2,500 of CEWE products. 

Although the prizes were very generous, organisers CEWE was keen to stress that these awards are not a commercial event – 10 cents of every photographic submission went to charity, so €44,815.20 was donated to SOS Children’s Villages in 2019. 

In 2020 the company donated to institutions in Germany and selected international projects to promote creativity and talent among children and young people. 

Established for over 50 years, CEWE is the largest photo printing service in Europe, delivering millions of photo products each year including wedding photobooks, greetings cards and holiday snaps. 

View the winning entries of the CEWE Photo Award 2021  

Aerial photos category winner: ‘Soy Sauce Making’ by Azim Khan Ronnie (Bangladesh) The dedication with which the cooks make the sauce, according to a recipe that is over 400 years old, fascinated Azim. (Image credit: © Azim Khan Ronnie/Cewe Photo Award 2021)

Animals category winner: ‘Der Clan Kuschelt (The Cuddling Clan)’ by Josef Schwarz (Germany) Josef has been to South Africa’s Addo Elephant Park many times. There are always a few groups at the watering hole in the centre. When a group leaves the watering hole, they stop some distance away, move together and stay in ‘cuddle mode’ for a few minutes. (Image credit: © Josef Schwarz/Cewe Photo Award 2021)

Architecture & Technology category winner: ‘ICE Zug (ICE Train)’ by Cor Boers (Netherlands) Cor liked the combination of stillness and movement. (Image credit: © Cor Boers/Cewe Photo Award 2021)

Cewe Photo Award 2021 image 11

Food & Cooking category winner: ‘Ei Phone’ by David Weimann (Germany) (Image credit: © David Weimann/Cewe Photo Award 2021)

Hobby & Leisure category winner: ‘Rotes Bild (Red Image)’ by Hans Lahodny (Austria)  While visiting exhibitions and museums, Hans likes to put the visitors in context with the exhibits. (Image credit: © Hans Lahodny/Cewe Photo Award 2021)

Landscapes category winner: ‘Frozen Lighthouse’ by Manfred Voss (Germany) “For two weeks,” says Manfred, “we had a cold winter in the north of Germany, with -10 to -20 degree temperatures and stormy north winds. It formed this beautiful ice sculpture of the lighthouse.” (Image credit: © Manfred Voss/Cewe Photo Award 2021)

Nature category winner: ‘Pusteblumen-Schirmchen (Dandelion Umbrella)’ by Petra Jung (Switzerland) Petra sprayed the umbrella of a dandelion with water. A PC screen is the background. (Image credit: © Petra Jung/Cewe Photo Award 2021)

People category winner: ‘Rainy Season’ by Hartmut Schwarzbach (Germany) Tacloban in the Philippines was destroyed by a typhoon in 2013. The children belong to families who are still waiting for new houses in a safe, child-friendly environment. (Image credit: © Hartmut Schwarzbach/Cewe Photo Award 2021)

Sport category winner: ‘Straßenfußball (Street Football)’ by Andreas Bauer (Germany) Andreas spent his parental leave in Cuba and lived in Havana for several months. He often wandered the streets with his little daughter in a baby carrier on his chest and camera in hand, photographing what fascinated him. (Image credit: © Andreas Bauer/Cewe Photo Award 2021)

Travel & Culture category winner: ‘Turtle Watch’ by Siegfried Claeys (Belgium) Siegfried likes minimalist photography, and is always on the lookout for such motifs. He had been walking along this beach on Boa Vista, one of the Cape Verde islands, for several days in a row; suddenly he saw this view, which he liked because of the way the people were grouped and distributed.  (Image credit: © Siegfried Claeys/Cewe Photo Award 2021)

Food category winner: 'Bread Boat' by Cihan Karaca (Turkey) Cihan is a teacher who travels a lot and loves to explore, although his trip to Vienna to collect this award was his first time out of Turkey. This image of a grandmother baking bread and proud that she can still feed the family aged 65 shows happiness and joy, said the judges, who noted the “special light” in the image.  (Image credit: Cihan Karaca)

The president of the CEWE Photo Award jury was world-renowned photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand.

Other judges included music photographer Christie Goodwin; expedition photographer and filmmaker Ulla Lohmann; Dr Christian Friege from Cewe; photojournalist Kai Pfaffenbach; landscape photographer Martin Rak; and Petra Horn, a board member of SOS Children's Villages Worldwide. 

Announcing the winner on the official awards website, CEWE said: 

“The jury came to a clear conclusion, as this unique shot shows in an unrivalled way that even when the world is in flux, beauty emerges. 

“The choice to shoot early in the morning in unique soft lighting, the wonderful variation in tone, the perfect crop using the classic golden ratio and the warm-yellow light from the lighthouse proudly contrasting with the otherwise icy-blue cool tones all combine to create the perfect shot. 

“The photographer has elicited something very special from the scene and created this magical mood and quality we see in the photo. 

“CEWE Photo Award juror Ulla Lohmann summed up the magic of this photograph: ‘It looks like something from a fairytale.’ 

“With this extraordinary photograph, Manfred Voss from Germany was able to win not only the ‘Landscapes’ category but ultimately also the overall victory.”

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Niall Hampton

Niall is the editor of Digital Camera Magazine, and has been shooting on interchangeable lens cameras for over 20 years, and on various point-and-shoot models for years before that. 


Working alongside professional photographers for many years as a jobbing journalist gave Niall the curiosity to also start working on the other side of the lens. These days his favored shooting subjects include wildlife, travel and street photography, and he also enjoys dabbling with studio still life. 


On the site you will see him writing photographer profiles, asking questions for Q&As and interviews, reporting on the latest and most noteworthy photography competitions, and sharing his knowledge on website building.