What does 'Freedom' mean? Free-to-use photography app Agora asked its 3.5 million users to grab their cameras and illustrate this universal concept through their lenses. 50 photos made the cut to the final voting stage, but only one will be crowned 'World's Best photo of #Freedom2020' on January 23rd.
Discover the 50 finalists below:
'The World was meant to explore' by @__paulanthony_ (USA)
'Oceans Free 2.0' by @above_and_beyond_visuals (UK)
'Magic sunset' by @andrepuigdomenech (Spain)
Location: Merzouga desert, Morocco
We've been waiting long time to visit Morocco, so finally we decided to go to this amazing place. There our goal was to visit the Sahara desert, I was eager to capture the beauty of the sunset colors, to share with everyone how majestic Sahara is. Every year thousands of tourists visit this wonderful place. Once we arrived at the camp, a local man told us that the desert suffered from whims of the people, Other camps are modifying the ecosystem even creating swimming pools for their clients in the middle of the desert, which I found crazy. Humans are having a huge negative impact modifying natural spaces. Obviously, he told us, tourism is good for the area, but it has to be done in a sustainable way and granting the maximum respect for the locals and the ecosystem. They are full of joy while sharing their culture with us in a sustainable way. This is why I wanted to capture the feeling of freedom and greatness in front of one of the wonders that this planet offers us. The majesty of the desert, the peace, silence, this vibrant colors must be preserved for the joy of every human being. We have to take care of it, we must do it.
'Untitled' by @anhtrungqng (Vietnam)
Location: Tuyen Lam Lake, Da Lat, Vietnam
A peaceful moment between the boatman and his dog. He treated the dog like a friend. In the midst of the beautiful landscape of Tuyen Lam Lake, this is a symbol of freedom.
'Jump' by @anskar (Germany)
Here's my girlfriend standing in the middle of the Lovcen NP mountains. Between rain and sunshine we had all weather conditions this evening but eventually we were quite lucky! The photoshows the feeling of freedom once you climbed a summit and see this epic view.
'Freedom road' by @ataevruslan (Russia)
Location: Daguestan, Russia
'Happy High Jump' by @aungthuya (Myanmar)
Location: MyaTheinTan Pagoda, Saggaing, Myanmar
I snapped this young novice playing high jump on the white wall of the Pagoda. This Pagoda is known as Myatheindan Pagoda which is located in northwest of Mandalay, Myanmar.
'Free' by @benjaminbradley (UK)
'Freedom at Sea' by @benskaar (USA)
Location: Stow, MA, USA
This was taken back in October in the still waters of Salem Harbor. Salem, the city this was taken nearby, is well known for it's witch trials and Halloween festivities. I wanted the viewer to view this shot as it was in the middle of the ocean. I'm hoping the viewer will get a sense of solitude and serenity when seeing this. I was flying the drone around when I noticed a speck in the water moving outwards. I lowered the drone and pointed the camera down and went for a minimal approach when creating the shot. This man in the row boat is free of all responsibilities, isolated with nothing but his boat and the ocean. If I win, I will put the money towards college education.
'Untitled' by @Brodsla (Australia)
'Valley Glow' by @cannonmatt (UK)
Location: Yosemite National Park, USA
Yosemite was the final stop during a US road trip with a friend. My friend had a flight to catch so he took the car and I stayed in Yosemite and continued to camp in the valley on my own. The day after my friend left, a forest fire had started nearby cutting off the bus routes and stranding me in the valley. The smoke was getting thick in the valley and I wanted to get out of it and see it from above, so I hitchhiked my way to Taft Point. This image to me captures the end to one of the most exciting days of my trip, encountering a bear, meeting great people who helped me get to and from this viewpoint and watching the sunset behind the mountains and the warm orange glow of the light dispersing through the smoke in the valley. I hope the image transmits a sense of freedom and escape, as I felt the kindness of others letting me hitchhike enabled me to get to this location and escape the smoke and the feeling of being stranded in the valley.
'Fighting' by @carlesrgm (Spain)
'Untitled' by @damiane (Georgia)
Location: Tbilisi, Georgia
'Freedom in the sky' by @davidsarkisov (Georgia)
Location: Sorrento, Italy
'Silks' by @dmartphoto (Sweden)
Location: Moab, Utah, USA
Performing aerial acrobatics while hanging from a 500ft slackline from a 600ft cliff is something that I definitely don't see everyday. I can honestly say it is one of the most beautiful expressions of art that I have ever seen in my entire life. The cliffs of the Fruit Bowl are huge. I set up an anchor and had to rappel with the camera for 100ft (30 m aprox.) to get the right angle while acrobatic aerialist artist Liz Thomas was hanging from her silks. Under my feet there was nothing but 600ft (200 m aprox.) of air before touching the ground.
'Like a Phoenix' by @eighthman (Ghana)
Location: Labadi beach, Ghana
Just like the Phoenix, first we burn and from the ashes we rise more powerful and stronger. Rise above it all, be born again in everlasting flames and shine as bright as the sun, the light in a world of darkness. He thought it was impossible to blow the fire and jump at the same time, because the motion could cause the fire to burn him. But in the end I made him believe he can do it and we made the vision happen.
'Road to Freedom' by @franciscopaez (Argentina)
Location: Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
I wanted to transmit a feeling of absolute freedom of the human being in the landscape. The depth shown in the composition of the picture expects to work as a metaphor of the profound sense of liberty that you can percieve when you get around the landscape.
'Freedom' by @georock888 (Indonesia)
'Liberté' by @guilhemschosseler (France)
'Full moon over goblin valley' by @hugohealy (UK)
Location: Goblin valley, Utah, USA
I wanted to transmit the emotion of freedom and happiness within this incredible landscape taken during an epic road trip through the US. After finishing a sunset shoot, walking back to the RV we were greeted by the full moon rising over Goblin Valley. Running down into the valley, my friend ran down and up the other side, climbing the abstract sandstone, and finally reaching a ledge no wider than his feet to create this awesome composition. I had to keep repositioning myself running deeper and deeper into the valley, as the moon rose so quickly you only had a matter of seconds to get the right frame, settings and a level tripod. You really do get a sense of adventure and the great outdoors, and how amazing it is to be free and able to do what you want.
'He’s Free!' by @hwilson8 (USA)
Location: Northwest IL, USA
I wanted the viewer to feel the joy of childhood, and the freedom that being a child means. The freedom from all the worries and concerns that adults often carry, and the joy the freedom can bring to any human heart. I related the photo to the hostage, freedom, because there is no freer feeling that is felt when a being a child. The cares of the world are often small, and if they aren't, children have a free resiliency that many of us would long to have as adults. The innocence of this freedom is often pure and not yet defiled by the difficulties that life will eventually bring. If I win, I would use my prize to possibly travel to new places around the world or my country. To get a different perspective and point of view in a new and unfamiliar culture, and to try to capture that as I see it through my lens.
'Standing in the Free World' by @joelfriend (UK)
'On the edge, Yosemite' by @joeshelly (UK)
'Freedom is a state of mind' by @jordisark (Spain)
'F*ck Yeah' by @jprphotos (UK)
Location: Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, USA
The joys of road tripping through the US! This wasn't planned at all. We were shooting there and had to move out the way to let the Mustang pass through, and as he went past he stuck his hand up making this sign 🤙and stayed like that until he was out of view.
'Why walk when you can fly' by @keeksawy (United Arab Emirates)
'Feel free' by @leowillgo (Spain)
'Have you ever seen so many turtles in the wilderness?' by @maky&matt (Czech Republic)
Location: Western Australia
When we got to the beach, we could see quite few turtles. But it was when we put the drone into the air when we realized how MANY turtles there actually were and we could not believe it. Without the drone, we would be there and actually never know! We were absolutely blown away by this miracle of nature. We love the ocean and seeing wild animals in their natural habitat makes us the happiest: beautiful untouched places do exist. This photo represents the freedom of all of these turtles, living in the wilderness without becoming a tourist attraction. As well as the freedom we felt, floating in the middle of hundreds wild turtles, listening to the sound of the ocean. Travelling and taking pictures is what we do every day for the last 3 years. The prize, therefore, we would use it to help us discover more places like this one and documenting them for others.
@maky&matt (Czech Republic)
'Katora water fall' by @maqsodd4348 (Pakistan)
Location: Katora Lake Trek, Pakistan
'Freehorse' by @marcelvanbalken (Netherlands)
Location: Lombok, Indonesia
In the splendor of the sunset, on a beautiful beach, a horse runs free while enjoying its freedom.
'Freedom ena' by @markellos (Greece)
Location: Near Athens, Greece
It was a nude photo shooting session, which took place in a wonderful beach near Athens. My model Maria who's a talented dancer was free to explore her feelings and express her own emotions in this wonderful and idyllic scenery: human and nature, just joined together. I am a nude photographer in Greece and unfortunately that is not accepted as art. Everyday, I'm fighting with my clicks to establish that nude photography is an expression of beauty, respect to the human body and personality. That's the way I see things. Human is beautiful. Sadly, in Greece 2020, we still need to fight for the right to have the freedom of expression. So for me any price is the proof that art is acknowledged and rewarded.
'Fly high' by @mbphotography (USA)
Location: Seattle, USA
I was fascinated by the parasail in the golden evening sky. I felt free on the boat and there's was even more freedom reflecting up in the sky with the parasail. Parasails always epitomized for me the feeling of freedom. Flying high, feeling the wind in your face and breath deeply. Dream your dreams and always reach high to be successful. Let nobody keep you to the ground, just fly.
'Back Home' by @mdabirhasan (Bangladesh)
Location: Jhenaidah, Bangladesh
I spotted this child on his way back home after having worked with his parents all day in the fields. This was a moment for him to be free from hard labor and become a kid a. This kid was playing with an old bike wheel while he was coming back home, after he'd been helping his parents all day in the fields. This was a moment for him to free himself from hard labour and to become a kid again.
'Free' by @mohammadmoheimany (Iran)
'Free to have fun' by @nicoprg (France)
Location: Chicago, USA
I love to be spontaneous while taking pictures, I have to say that for this ones I had to try 10 times to finally have the one I wanted. I just wanted to have those subjects and the sky, like if they were flying without taking about anything. I wanted to have the impression of the carousel being attached directly to the sky. I just wanted to transmit a feeling of freedom and innocence. I think that flying has always meant to be free, free to go anywhere when you want. Youth is also a synonym of freedom, the moment of your line when what only counts is having fun. Having these two elements on the picture made me apply for this freedom contest.
'Head above the clouds' by @notanothermica (Belgium)
Location: Loser, Austria
I believe that nothing is makes you feel more free than being at the top of a mountain, enjoying a sunrise above the clouds. If this is possible, then everything is possible! This was the second attempt we did to arrive to the top of Loser Panoramastrasse in Austria. During the first night we were caught on a snow storm while driving to the top, and we had to abort mission. We tried to reach to the top again two nights later, and were gifted this amazing sunrise. Sometimes you just have to try several times and be persistent, luck will find your way towards you!
'To meet the wind' by @olegmileevkamintsev (Russia)
Location: Kalmykia, Russia
'Above the clouds' by @olegp (Germany)
Location: Hafelekar Mountain, Austria
To me, this shot represents the happiness of self-determination, the feeling of having the beauty of nature only for yourself and the great feeling of inner peace and freedom. But also the possibility to decide for myself what to do next: nobody holds me down nor tells me where to go, what to do and how I should do it. This is freedom: the possibility to decide for yourself, letting go and enjoying. If I win, I will use my prize to travel and invest my photographic advancement."
'El baile de los herrerillos' by @pabloboguña (Spain)
'Somewhere In Iceland' by @perksy12 (UK)
'Wild' by @pixsas (Germany)
Location: Masterhausen, Germany
Actually I just wanted to photograph the fog in the forest, I set up my tripod and looked for a picture position with the camera when I suddenly heard noises and the animal came out of the forest and looked at me. I took my chance and tried to take as many pictures as possible.
'Fly free' by @pokokemoto (Indonesia)
Location: Surabaya, Indonesia
I waited for hours to study the butterfly's movements under the heat of the sun. The butterfly flies freely from flower to flower, sipping nectar to get him going.
'Drops of freedom' by @pranab_basak (India)
Location: Canning , West Bengal, India
These rural boys were enjoying a rain bath after a long, scorching summer. A story of green childhood fun and retrospective of happy memories of childhood days. If I win, I want to gift some gaming accessories to the boys living in this remote rural area.
'The children play on the sand hill' by @ptkhanhhvnh (Vietnam)
'Free like a boat' by @seplb (Austria)
Location: Lake Königsee, Bavaria, Germany
I snapped a good friend of mine leaning out of one of the famous boats on lake Königsee. I wanted to convey the feeling of an adventure, the anticipation of the unknown. Four friends taking a boat on a moody day: what an adventure! Although the lake is finite, it conveys the feeling of endless travel. We were pretty lucky to get the shot because just seconds after taking it it started to rain really heavily.
'Free jump' by @shibasishsaha (India)
Location: North Bengal, India
I was shooting a buddhist school in when I saw this little child returning home from school. The child was so happy that he threw his umbrella and jumped all of a sudden. With the hashtag #freedom2020 I wanted to relate that the childish mind has no boundary and can express one feeling freely.
'Undefined' by @solomonjnr (Ghana)
Location: Accra, Ghana
After the rain, there was a puddle in the house and I saw my nephew playing (jumping and splashing the water all over), I quickly went inside and grabbed my camera to capture the moment. The joy, happiness and the freedom at which he did that. It's hard for grownups to freely express and enjoy themselves as they used to when they were kids. For fear of what society would say or how the world would react to our acts of freedom, we would rather suppress it all and be limited to the ways of society.
'To give free' by @swetun (Myanmar)
'Breaking Free' by @tom.bridges (UK)
'Free as a bird' by @tomdewaart (Netherlands)
Location: Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Italy
A friend of mine walked towards the end of the trail forming perfect scale for this immense landscape. Actually we went back to this spot three times to get the weather conditions needed for the photo. As we are high up in the mountains weather conditions are very intermittent and finally we found ourselves in some beautiful clouds. I wanted to show even though how powerful humanity thinks they are, we are nothing compared to human nature. Also we got to preserve and protect beautiful viewpoints like these.
Agora is built between all: we want to empower people all over the world, because we believe that every point of view is important. We're creating a global democratic system where everyone can create, vote and enjoy the best creations of Humanity.
Octavi Royo, Agora's CEO and Co-Founder
PR & Content Manager at Agora