National Geographic photography contest 2014: Hong Kong man wins grand prize for picture of woman using her phone on a crowded train

Brian Yen will receive $10,000 and a trip to the magazine's headquarters in Washington DC for a photography seminar

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The Independent Culture

The winners of the National Geographic’s annual photography contest have been announced after the magazine received more than 9,200 entries from over 150 countries.

The grand prize winner - a picture of a woman bathed in the light of her smartphone as she stands in a dimly lit and crowded train - was taken by Brian Yen in Hong Kong.

He called the image, A Node Glows in the Dark. In his caption for the photo, Mr Yen said: “Although this woman stood at the centre of a jam-packed train, the warm glow from her phone told the strangers around her that she wasn't really there.

“She managed to slip away from ‘here’ for a short moment; she's a node flickering on the social web, roaming the Earth, free as a butterfly.”


Mr Yen told The National Geographic: “I feel a certain contradiction when I look at the picture. On the one hand, I feel the liberating gift of technology.

“On the other hand, I feel people don’t even try to be neighbourly anymore, because they don’t have to.”

Other winners included a picture of a thermal spa in Budapest, Hungary, in the places category and wildebeest jumping down into the Mara River in North Serengeti, Tanzania, in the nature category.

Mr Yen will receive $10,000 (about £6,400) and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington for a photography seminar in January.