|Image: Poras Choudhary, Travel Photographer of the Year, from telegraph.co.uk|
|Image: Thomas Kokta, Travel Photographer of the Year, from telegraph.co.uk|
Just hours earlier, sitting in the crowds watching the games, we had commented that it seemed like all the world was in London right now. And that could never be more true than at the perfectly timed Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition.
Based at the Royal Geographical Society and nestled against a backdrop of the Albert Hall, all corners of the world are brought together for this exhibition, through the eyes of photographers ranging from children to professionals. The displays are spread across the indoor space, the terrace and the lawn - and helpfully there are umbrellas on hand should these be required.
|Image: Louis Montrose (overall winner), Travel Photographer of the Year, from metro.co.uk|
From the moment we were welcomed by friendly Kiwis on the door, offering us fairy cakes and tea for a suggested donation, we knew we had walked into a simple and unpretentious exhibition which requires no technical or artistic expertise to appreciate its beauty. Like any great travelling experience, it simply reminds you of the joy of the incredible world around us.
|Image: Jonathan Munshi, from misscittykitty.co.uk|
Each photo is a window into a parallel life. I was struck by how different our lives and landscapes are - and yet there are common themes that bond people wherever they live: daydreaming at work, the exhuberance of childhood, fleeting moments of loneliness in the busiest of places. In fact I think that's what has struck me most about the Olympics - all of humanity united in one place, and the tears, pride and emotions that are felt by all, regardless of where they are from.
|Image: GMB Akash, from guardian.co.uk|
But probably the most surprising was the Polish winner of the Exotic category, whose portfolio of images was taken in none other than our own night-time Soho; a faceless woman with an umbrella against a stark wall. A silhouetted man against the red glow of a sex shop.
|Image: Malgorzato Piolo, Travel Photographer of the Year, from education.ezinemark.com|
(Travel Photographer of the Year is currently showing at the Royal Geographical Society on Kensington Gore. Free entry. The exhibition has now been extended until 2 September due to popular demand.)