50 of the most beautiful photos taken in 2019

Florian Ledoux/AGORA Images‘Sea of Ice,’ photographed by Florian Ledoux.

The “biggest photo contest in the world” has announced a winner.

On November 6, photography app Agora celebrated the year’s best photos at the annual AGORA Awards in Barcelona, Spain. The nominated images were taken by photographers from 21 countries around the world, after more than 130,000 submissions were received. Finally, Agora awarded photographer Michael Aboya with the top prize.

From a photo showing seals in Antarctica to a portrait of a saint in Pakistan, here are the 50 finalists of this year’s contest.

“Alone in the desert” by Carles Alonso

Carles Alonso/AGORA Images‘Alone in the desert,’ photographed by Carles Alonso.

Alonso captured this image of Nomads riding camels across the Sahara desert while standing on the highest dune in Morocco.

The photographer noted that while many assume his photo was taken by a drone, the devices are actually forbidden in Morocco. Instead, he used a telephoto lens.

“Among the white umbrellas” by Aung ThuYa

Aung ThuYa/AGORA Images‘Among the white umbrellas,’ photographed by Aung ThuYa.

This nominated photograph shows a woman painting a traditional umbrella while seated inside a factory. ThuYa’s entry was taken using his cell phone in Mandalay, Myanmar.

“Ant balancing the earth” by Analiza De Guzman

Analiza De Guzman/AGORA Images‘Ant balancing the earth,’ photographed by Analiza De Guzman.

To get the shot, De Guzman placed a globe in the background, sprinkled water across string, and then placed an ant on top hoping it would walk across and pick up the droplets.

She spent four hours using her smartphone to capture the image.

“Blue eye” by Pedro Luis Ajuriaguerra Saiz

Pedro Luis Ajuriaguerra Saiz/AGORA Images‘Blue eye,’ photographed by Pedro Luis Ajuriaguerra Saiz

While this image might resemble a giant eye, it actually reveals the City of Arts and Science in Valencia, Spain, being reflected on water.

The photographer’s son is also seen running past the building while wearing a yellow coat.

“Boys” by Diego Campomar

Diego Campomar/AGORA Images‘Boys,’ photographed by Diego Campomar.

Campomar captured this shot in Argentina, employing models to showcase equality between two different people.

“Colours of life” by Pranab Basak

Pranab Basak/AGORA Images‘Colours of life,’ photographed by Pranab Basak.

In India, Basak captured seven female fishermen standing in bright blue water as they tried to collect fish to later sell at a market.

“Dancer” by Markellos Plakitsis

Markellos Plakitsis/AGORA Images‘Dancer,’ photographed by Markellos Plakitsis.

Plakitsis photographed his friend, a ballerina named Sofia, while she danced at the Peace and Friendship stadium in Athens, Greece.

“Dark Disneyland” by Tommi Matz

Tommi Matz/AGORA Images‘Dark Disneyland,’ photographed by Tommi Matz.

Despite its name, this photograph doesn’t actually show a Disney theme park. Instead, Matz photographed the Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany.

He used a drone to capture two aerial images, and later patched them together.

“Diamond Ring Total Solar Eclipse” by Edward Panjaitan

Edward Panjaitan/AGORA Images‘Diamond Ring Total Solar Eclipse,’ photographed by Edward Panjaitan.

Panjaitan photographed the 2017 solar eclipse while in Nebraska. He named the image “Diamond Ring Total Solar Eclipse” because its light resembles the classic jewellery design.

“East Java” by Jonathan Rogers

Jonathan Rogers/AGORA Images‘East Java,’ photographed by Jonathan Rogers.

Rogers photographed this giant waterfall while in East Java, Indonesia. He had to hike down a waterfall to get to the location and soaked most of his equipment on the way.

“Echoes of the Unknown” by Clement Eastwood

Clement Eastwood/AGORA Images‘Echoes of the Unknown,’ photographed by Clement Eastwood.

Eastwood took this image while in Accra, the capital of Ghana. He aimed to capture a “cordial relationship between man and beast.”

“Eid prayer” by Azim Ronnie

Azim Ronnie/AGORA Images‘Eid prayer,’ photographed by Azim Ronnie.

Ronnie’s image was taken in Bangladesh and shows hundreds of people praying around 8:30 a.m.

“Expressions” by Asim Ijaz

Asim Ijaz/AGORA Images‘Expressions,’ photographed by Asim Ijaz.

In Pakistan, Ijaz approached a saint – who dedicates their life to a shrine – and photographed a candid portrait.

“Farming” by Diep Van

Diep Van/AGORA Images‘Farming,’ photographed by Diep Van.

Van’s image showcases men and women working in rice fields in northern Vietnam.

“Fire Fighter” by Tanveer Rohan

Tanveer Rohan/AGORA Images‘Fire Fighter,’ photographed by Tanveer Rohan.

As a fire broke out in Bangladesh, Rohan visited the site and photographed a firefighter working to put out flames. The incident was caused by a power failure.

“Hearts on the sea” by Nguyen Phan Xuan

Nguyen Phan Xuan/AGORA Images‘Hearts on the sea,’ photographed by Nguyen Phan Xuan.

Phan Xuan was in the right place at the right time. He was able to capture two fishing nets in Vietnam, both of which happened to be placed in the shape of hearts.

“In retrospect” by Patricia Soon

Patricia Soon/AGORA Images‘In retrospect,’ photographed by Patricia Soon.

Soon captured her nominated image while in Kobe, Japan. She now hopes it will bring “peace and calm” to viewers.

“Incense work” by Khánh Phan

Khánh Phan/AGORA Images‘Incense work,’ photographed by Khánh Phan.

In Phan’s vibrant photo, a woman is seen drying red incense sticks. According to the photographer, the products are believed in Vietnamese culture to connect people to their ancestors.

“L’espurna que fa que tot comenci” by Albert Castañe

xopet1969/AGORA Images‘L’espurna que fa que tot comenci,’ photographed by Albert Castañe.

Castañe’s image depicts people dressed as devils during the traditional Catalan festival in Spain.

“La mujer que espera” by Paula Aranoa

Paula Aranoa/AGORA Images‘La mujer que espera,’ photographed by Paula Aranoa.

Aranoa took her award-nominated image outside a salami shop in Rome. It shows a working man dressed in an apron, as well as a seated woman who was then waiting for her food.

“Mother’s goodness” by Phyo Moe

Phyo Moe/AGORA Images‘Mother’s goodness,’ photographed by Phyo Moe.

Moe took this photo at the perfect time: while a baby bird sat inside a tree, its parent flew straight towards its open mouth with a bug to eat.

“Motherly love” by Santiago López

Santiago López/AGORA Images‘Motherly love,’ photographed by Santiago López.

López spent two hours at the Loro Parque zoo in Tenerife, Spain, to capture his image. It shows a mother chimpanzee holding her child, which appears to be falling asleep.

“Nature always wins” by Charlie Berthaume

Charlie Berthaume/AGORA Images‘Nature always wins,’ photographed by Charlie Berthaume.

In Berthaume’s photo, seven shipwrecks are seen sprawled along a shore in France. After waiting hours for low tide, she was able to capture the image of boats that have been there for more than a century.

“Oeil de zèbre” by Sara Pinto Marin

Sara Pinto Marin/AGORA Images‘Oeil de zèbre,’ photographed by Sara Pinto Marin.

The photographer captured this close-up shot of a zebra in Madrid to showcase the “beautiful contrast between black and white.”

“Out at sea – MSC Orchestra” by Cameron Aird

Cameron Aird/AGORA Images‘Out at sea – MSC Orchestra,’ photographed by Cameron Aird.

Aird, who is 18 years old, is the youngest finalist featured in the AGORA Awards. His image was taken on the Jersey Channel islands between England and France and shows a cruise visiting a local harbour.

“Preparing for 1000 Takjil Iftar Ramadan Kareem” by Dharma Kurniawan

Dharma Kurniawan/AGORA Images‘Preparing for 1000 Takjil Iftar Ramadan Kareem,’ photographed by Dharma Kurniawan.

Kurniawan’s image shows three volunteers serving 1,000 plates of chicken and rice at the end of a Ramadan fast.

“Rain” by Perry Wunderlich

Perry Wunderlich/AGORA Images‘Rain,’ photographed by Perry Wunderlich.

Wunderlich photographed his father during a storm to create this nominated portrait.

“Rainbow Reine” by Paal Lund

Paal Lund/AGORA Images‘Rainbow Reine,’ photographed by Paal Lund.

While driving over a bridge on Norway’s Lofoten islands, Lund noticed a double rainbow in the sky. He parked his car, took a few images, and then had to leave quickly, as others were driving behind him.

“Rainy day” by Hendy MP

Hendy MP/AGORA Images‘Rainy day,’ photographed by Hendy MP.

This red-eyed tree frog was spotted by the photographer during a rainstorm in West Java, Indonesia.

“Reaching for Heaven” by Konrad Paruch

Konrad Paruch/AGORA Images‘Reaching for Heaven,’ photographed by Konrad Paruch.

Paruch photographed the Mont Saint Michel island in France when it was practically covered with clouds. He used a drone to capture the image.

“Reitdiephaven” by Anskar Lenzen

Anskar Lenzen/AGORA Images‘Reitdiephaven,’ photographed by Anskar Lenzen.

Lenzen used a long-exposure technique to photograph the sunset and its reflection in Groningen, Netherlands.

“Run and fun” by Ling Ling

lingling25/AGORA Images‘Run and fun,’ photographed by Ling Ling.

While in Myanmar, Ling captured three young monks having fun along the Hsinbyume Pagoda.

Aside from showcasing the contrast between the white structure and red clothes, the photographer said they also wanted to show that the photo’s subjects are still children despite their lifestyle.

“Sand wasp with prey” by Imam Primahardy

Imam Primahardy/AGORA Images‘Sand wasp with prey,’ photographed by Imam Primahardy.

Whereas some bugs eat their prey immediately, the sand wasp seen in Primahardy’s photo appears to have been saving its food to eat at another location.

“Sea of Ice” by Florian Ledoux

Florian Ledoux/AGORA Images‘Sea of Ice,’ photographed by Florian Ledoux.

Ledoux’s photo, taken in Antarctica, showcases crab-eater seals resting on ice after eating. He used an aerial technique to avoid disturbing the animals and now hopes his photo will connect viewers to nature.

“Six feet under” by David Carbonell

David Carbonell/AGORA Images‘Six feet under,’ photographed by David Carbonell.

Carbonell took this shot in Ukraine while witnessing a man digging a grave with his bare hands and a shovel. He used a drone to capture the image.

“Snow Horseman” by Zay Yar Lin

Zay Yar Lin/AGORA Images‘Snow Horseman,’ photographed by Zay Yar Lin.

This photo, which depicts a woman behind a herd of horses, was taken in Mongolia. At the time, temperatures reached -20 degrees, according to the photographer.

“Songs Of Freedom” by Michael Aboya

Michael Aboya/AGORA Images‘Songs Of Freedom,’ photographed by Michael Aboya.

This photograph, which shows four children listening to another play the violin, was named the best photo of the year by Agora. Its photographer, Michael Aboya, was also awarded $US25,000 as a result.

Aboya says he was inspired to take this photograph while listening to a Bob Marley song. He hoped to represent freedom and belonging with his image, while also inspiring “a change in the way people perceive Ghana and the African continent in general,” according to Agora.

“Strawberry greenhouses” by Leyla Emektar

Leyla Emektar/AGORA Images‘Strawberry greenhouses,’ photographed by Leyla Emektar.

This image shows a young girl working at a strawberry greenhouse located in the Aegean region of Turkey.

“Striving” by Bastian AS

Bastian AS/AGORA Images‘Striving,’ photographed by Bastian A.S.

The island of Nias, found off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, is known to attract surfers. It also attracted A.S., who visited and photographed a man swimming as a wave began to crash in front of him.

“The Best Friends” by Andi Halil

Andi Halil/AGORA Images‘The Best Friends,’ photographed by Andi Halil.

Halil, who is based in Indonesia, photographed this fleeting moment between a lizard and snail with a single shot.

“The lights of life” by Dikye Ariani

Dikye Ariani/AGORA Images‘The lights of life,’ photographed by Dikye Ariani.

Ariani woke up early to take her award-nominated shot. She photographed the Cirahong Bridge around 4:30 a.m. and was able to capture a person walking ahead of her.

“The most beautiful roundabout in the world” by Henry Do

Henry Do/AGORA Images‘The most beautiful roundabout in the world,’ photographed by Henry Do.

Do, a Nevada-based photographer, found inspiration in France’s Arc de Triomphe. He used an aerial camera and then stitched multiple photos together to create his final image.

“The road and the farm have been flooded” by Mohammad Moheimani

Mohammad Moheimani/AGORA Images‘The road and the farm have been flooded,’ photographed by Mohammad Moheimani.

Moheimani’s image shows flooded roads in the Gorgan city of northern Iran.

“Throwing Nets” by Glenn Valentino

Glenn Valentino/AGORA Images‘Throwing Nets,’ photographed by Glenn Valentino.

Valentino found this fisherman and his colourful net at the Situ Patenggang lake in Indonesia.

He had to wait until the fisherman threw his net into the water, and then took the photo at the exact moment it spread in the air.

“Undefined” by Jordi Sark

Jordi Sark/AGORA Images‘Undefined,’ photographed by Jordi Sark.

While roadtripping in California, Sark stopped at a beach and noticed two whales in the water. He sent his camera drone up into the air and captured his award-nominated image.

“Under the light making batik crafts” by Bimo Pradityo

Bimo Pradityo/AGORA Images‘Under the light making batik crafts,’ photographed by Bimo Pradityo.

According to the photographer, Batik art is made by applying wax-resistant dye to whole cloth. His photograph shows a 65-year-old craft maker creating a Batik piece in Indonesia.

“Veins of Earth” by Hugo Healy

Hugo Healy/AGORA Images‘Veins of Earth,’ photographed by Hugo Healy.

In England, Healy used a drone camera to capture this aerial image of the Cuckmere River.

“Water is life” by Froi Rivera

Froi Rivera/AGORA Images‘Water is life,’ photographed by Froi Rivera.

According to Rivera, his image showcases children in the Philippines worshiping water, despite the fact that the nation commonly faces dangerous typhoons.

“When the buffalo comes back” by Hoang Quocvinh

Hoang Quocvinh/AGORA Images‘When the buffalo comes back,’ photographed by Hoang Quocvinh.

Quocvinh took his nominated image using a drone in Pleiku, Vietnam.

It shows buffaloes trekking through water in the afternoon, and was taken to showcase the “pure environment” where the photographer lives.

“Wild look” by Sergio Saavedra

Sergio Saavedra/AGORA Images‘Wild look,’ photographed by Sergio Saavedra.

Saavedra spotted this lynx while visiting the Cábarceno Natural Park in Spain.

To learn more about the 2019 AGORA Awards, visit the company’s website.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.