The Winners of Shutterstock’s “Celebrating Life” Viewfinder Challenge!

Earlier this summer, Shutterstock introduced the Viewfinder Challenge, a competition that asks contributors to submit their best photos, illustrations, and footage around a theme. For the first installment, that theme was “Celebrating Life.”

Our judges got together and picked their favorite photos, illustrations, and videos from among the hundreds of submissions. Below is a look at our winners, honorable mentions, and what the contributors and judges had to say about these spectacular images and videos. Congratulations to everyone who participated!


Shutterstock: Girl sleeping by Ermolaev Alexander

The Princess on a Pea by Ermolaev Alexander

What the Winner said: “I have always been inspired by fairy tales. But I always thought that they didn’t contain enough goodness, warmth, and lightness — someone always had to die or suffer. Of course, they often have a happy ending, but the heroes have to go through a lot to get to that point. And you want them to be happy. To live happily ever after. This is why my wife and I decided to take photos of a series of different fairy tales involving children, removing any references to suffering.” – Ermolaev Alexander

What the Judge said: This image perfectly captures the essence of the first Viewfinder Challenge. Retelling fairytales and passing down stories from generation to generation celebrates life. Not only did this photographer retell a story in a fresh and modern way, but he did so with stunning natural light and incredible styling. It’s obvious that the photographer and his team considered every detail to create an inspring image that is clearly a winner! – Keren Sachs, Senior Manager, Image Acquisition


Shutterstock: A single smile by Alexandra Petruk

A Single Smile in a Crowd by Alexandra Petruk

What the Winner said: “The very idea of the drawing came to me in a very simple way — I was walking in a crowd in the downtown of my city and suddenly noticed that nobody around was smiling, not a single happy face in the ocean of busy, frowning, careless human beings. And when I decided to make an experiment and keep smiling, people started to look at me as if I was a complete fool. So when I came home, I started to draw this picture. Sometimes you don’t have to create concepts, because life shares her concepts with you.” – Alexandra Petruk

What the Judge said: “Initially this image stood out to us because of the skill and detail of the drawing, as well as the clever way the concept tied in with the challenge theme. Each face in the crowd is very expressive, which helps to add to the emotional experience of the illustration.” – Tim Goldman, Image Acquisition, Illustrations


Jump in Water (vintage 8mm amateur film) by nemke

What the Winner said: “The recording was made ith a Super-8 camera on a family holiday in Montenegro (former Yugoslavia). This is my father in the video. I was a kid and I was about eight years old, I’ve always asked my mother and father for the camera, that was my favorite ‘toy.’ It was during the 80s, before the Civil War, and all recordings are from that period. That video reminded me that life was beautiful in the former Yugoslavia, and that war was nonsense.” – nemke

What the Judge said: “Nemke’s clip was chosen as a winner because it captures the enthusiasm and happiness of a man jumping into a cool lake on a hot Summer’s day. This is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and one we felt best captured the feeling of “Celebrating Life.” – Tom Spota, Director, Video Acquisition



Shutterstock: Monkey baby by KYTan

Silvered Leaf Baby Monkey by KYTan

Shutterstock: Father and baby by Falcona

Father and Baby by Falcona


Shutterstock: Vacation by Azaze11o

Vacation by Azaze11o

Shutterstock: Rockstar character by Ozerina Anna

Rockstar character by Ozerina Anna


Swallow Feeding Baby Birds by EmiliaUngur

BONUS: There were tons of additional great entries in this Challenge, so we created a lightbox to celebrate some more of our favorites.

Congratulations to all of our winners and honorable mentions, and a big thanks to all of our amazing contributors who entered — you inspire us every day.

Be sure to keep an eye out for our October Viewfinder Challenge!