World in Focus Photo Contest: Grand Prize Winner

For months we watched as entries came in to our World in Focus Photo Contest. And now, we’re pleased to present the Grand Prize winner: “The Master at His Desk,” shot by Emyr R.E. Pugh, from Carmarthenshire, U.K. Pugh won a 10-day safari for one in Tanzania, courtesy of National Geographic Expeditions. Here’s the story behind the photo.

Photo Contest Winner

While traveling in southwest China, Emyr Pugh shot this picture of a master calligrapher in the village of Tunjiao. Master Weng–a retired literature teacher–was preparing to write a traditional blessing. “His desk was pushed up against a large window overlooking the main street of Tunjiao,” Pugh says. “A wall across the street reflected light into his studio.” Using a collapsed tripod as a monopod, Pugh moved about to shoot from different angles. He says his work as a translator and interpreter in Inner Mongolia has opened doors for him. “Communication is part of what I hope to achieve with photography. Being able to communicate one-on-one gives me the chance to photograph many people I couldn’t approach otherwise.” (Canon EOS 40D camera, 17-40mm lens, exposure at 1/13th second, f/6.3, ISO 400.)

For our 21st annual World in Focus photo contest, Traveler partnered once again with Photo District News, an award-winning magazine for professional photographers. More than 4,100 amateur shooters entered 12,472 images in our 2009 competition. You can see all of the winning photographs in the January/February issue of Traveler, and online here.


  1. johanstrydom
    June 15, 2012, 2:06 am

    I disagree with film izle, this photo has captured a moment very unique and extra ordanary, many photographers would give anything to saviour a moment like this. This photo has a great impact on the viewer and tells 10 000 words about the subject captured. Then again, not everybody looks at a photo the same, my opinion, its brilliant, lots of emotion and feeling,

  2. şarkı dinle
    January 7, 2011, 10:23 pm

    i agree with film izle. My brother is a photographer, and he has got better photos then it

  3. film izle
    January 7, 2011, 10:21 pm

    i think its a normal photo. Some artists have better then this photo :/

  4. Tom Warner
    December 15, 2009, 5:05 pm

    Very classical image. It has all the aspects of a Rembrandt painting. The natural light from the window and the great exposure coupled with the composition and subject clearly marks this a very worthy photograph.