The above photograph won the grand prize in the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest; it was taken by pilot and violinist Jassen Todorov and simply captioned “Unreal.” The picture shows Volkswagen’s storage lot in the Mojave Desert, “just outside the Southern California Logistics Airport.” Thousands of VW and Audi automobiles involved in the German automakers’ diesel emissions-cheating scandal are parked at the facility, “just sitting out there and collecting dust,” Todorov is quoted by the publication as saying. “By capturing scenes like this one, I hope we will all become more conscious and more caring for our beautiful planet.”
For his effort, Todorov will receive a cash prize of $5,000 (P264,000). His photo has also been posted by National Geographic to its Instagram account, which currently has 95.1 million followers.
Here’s another look at the scene from a different angle:
And here’s a wider, more complete image of the Mojave Desert scrapyard. Truly unreal:
Incidentally, the two runners-up in the Places category where Todorov’s photograph was entered both also have a car in them. The second-placed entry was taken by Nicholas Moir and captioned “Thunderbird in the Dust,” showing a “rusting Ford Thunderbird blanketed by red dust from a supercell thunderstorm in Ralls, Texas.”
The third-placed entry was taken by Christian Werner and captioned “Road to Ruin,” depicting the situation in the Khalidiya district in Homs, Syria.
Maybe cars are lucky charms in photo contests? Now you know what to do when you join one.