Culture > Art

This is the winner of the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest

An aerial shot of discarded VW and Audi cars in the Mojave Desert

This looks like a computer-generated image. PHOTO BY JASSEN TODOROV

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 what the place looks like if you zoom in. PHOTO BY JASSEN TODOROV

Here’s another look at the scene from a different angle:

Can you make out the car models down there? PHOTO BY JASSEN TODOROV

And here’s a wider, more complete image of the Mojave Desert scrapyard. Truly unreal:

This picture has the perfect caption: unreal. PHOTO BY JASSEN TODOROV

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.”

A Thunderbird covered by red dust in Texas. PHOTO BY NICHOLAS MOIR

The third-placed entry was taken by Christian Werner and captioned “Road to Ruin,” depicting the situation in the Khalidiya district in Homs, Syria.

A lone car is seen driving through the ruins of the Khalidiya district in Homs, Syria. PHOTO BY CHRISTIAN WERNER

Maybe cars are lucky charms in photo contests? Now you know what to do when you join one.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.