Seeking Connections Through an Urban Lens


Around the world, about 3.5 billion people live in cities, and that number is expected to surpass 6 billion by 2050, according to the United Nations.

People migrating to cities in search of a new life or better opportunities is certainly not a new phenomenon. “Cities have always been the fireplaces of civilization, whence light and heat radiated out into the dark,” wrote Theodore Parker in Lessons from the World of Matter and the World of Men in 1872.

But the rapid rise of urbanization underway is unprecedented. As the world becomes increasingly more urban, the connections between cities and the people and places that live in them hold an even greater significance.

As the world becomes increasingly more urban, the connections between cities and the people and places that live in them hold an even greater significance.

CBRE’s Urban Photographer of the Year (UPOTY) competition challenges photographers to capture moments of connectivity across the daily cycle of city life.

Whether it’s a scene of commuters on an overcrowded subway car in Tokyo, an exuberant dog walker driving through Malibu or passengers sleeping on a late night train ride through Kolkata, the photographs of past winners capture the essence of city life and the human interaction it elicits around the world.

The theme of this year’s competition is Cities of Connections: People, Places, Perspectives—a glimpse into urban environments and a unique perspective on how we interact with them.

 “CBRE has the unique opportunity to play a critical role in both shaping and celebrating stories of the urban environment. We are proud to honor the richness and diversity of city life around the world and encourage photographers to capture the essence of the urban environment,” said Paul Suchman, CBRE’s global chief marketing officer.

The competition, which closes on November 30 at 11:59 p.m. GMT, is free to enter and open to both professional and amateur photographers. A unique element of the contest allows each entrant to submit up to 24 images—one to represent each hour of the day. The overall winner will be awarded a photography trip to a destination of their choice. Other prizes include drones and GoPro camera packages.

For every entry in the Urban Photographer of the Year competition, CBRE will make a donation to Plan International, supporting the global NGO’s work in advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. 

Time to get your camera out! Enter your submissions here

Need some inspiration? Take a look at some of the captivating images shot by winners from the 2015 competition.

Pedro Guimarães Lins Machado, 'Managing Influence'
Nathan Vymyslicky Goldenzweig, 'Non-durable Commodity'
Sujan Sarkar, 'General Compartment'
Grzegorz Piaskowski, 'Waiting for Tourists'
Joshua Charow, 'Crossroads'
Borna Mirahmadian, 'Construction Workers'
Jan Košťál, 'Morning Shift'
Ross Magrath, 'The Ups and Downs'
Lukasz Kazimierz Palka, 'Sumo'
Nick Jackson, 'The Japanese Bullet Trains'
Geoff Williams, 'Construction on Call'
Goran Jovic, 'Old School'
Louis Capeloto, 'Cleaning the Western Wall'
SHM Mushfiqul Alam, 'Workers'
Simon Hadleigh-Sparks, 'Skywalk'
Johanna Siegmann, 'Dog Walker'
Ankit Narang, 'In Between Work'
Mario Pereda Berga, 'Underground'
Luís Sarmento, 'The Sound of Solitude'
David Martin Huamani Bedoya, 'Wine'
Katia Morichetti, 'Mannequins'
Chris Kirby, 'Barman Serves a Beer'
Martin Faltejsek, 'Digital Age Vol. 2'
Marcos Sobral, 'Oriental Fast Food'

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