A beautiful Himba tribeswoman in Namibia and a religious village in Lalibela , Ethiopia, were the subjects that led British-born photographer Philip Lee Harvey to win the 2014 Travel Photographer of the Year. The contest shots will be exhibited at London’s Royal Geographical Society from 24 July to 5 September 2015.


What is the story behind the photos that led you to win the competition?


For Namibia, we traveled to a small Himba settlement in Serra Cafema. They were so incredibly friendly and let me take pictures freely without any want for money. As for my work in Ethiopia, this incredible location is one of the country’s holiest towns full of eleven rock cut monolithic churches. The site attracts pilgrims and tourists alike from all over the world.


How was your coexistence with the protagonists of your photos?


It’s very important for me that the people I photograph are not offended by the experience. I always try to make the people I meet feel important and respected.


What is your advice for travelers who like to take pictures?

When I work it’s never a holiday; I know why I am there and what I have to achieve. But my advice for people that want get great images on holiday would be make time for it. Try to take pictures early in the morning and late in the afternoon when the light is at its very best. As for the rest of the time, just look and enjoy! Cameras are great when you’re traveling, but don’t try to mix work and pleasure to the point of not feeling like you have had any time off.

How was your experience at the TPOTY photo contest?

I have been entering TPOTY since it began 12 years ago and although I have had success in other categories, I had never won the top award before. It’s an excellently run awards program that seems to attracts the best photographers in the world