Meet the judges… Caroline Metcalfe

Caroline, former Director of Photography at Condé Nast Traveller UK, and a long-time TPOTY judge, gives her insights into how she selects photographers for commissions and eye-catching TPOTY entries.

Please can you tell us a little bit about your career to date.

After university I got a job as an editorial assistant with a magazine called Now! It was back in 1981 and it was a British version of Time/Newsweek owned by Sir Jimmy Goldsmith. I worked with the political team but occasionally, on a big story, I was asked to join the photo department. It was a brilliant introduction to storytelling through pictures, to photojournalism. I was hooked. I then went to work on The Observer magazine where I stayed for eight years. Following that I went to join the launch team of The Independent Saturday magazine and stayed there for nine years until, in 1997, I decided to accept the offer of a job for the launch of Condé Nast Traveller magazine’s UK edition. There was a USA ‘mothership’ that had been running for ten years before we launched in the UK. It was an amazing challenge, introducing me to the world of travel photography where I remained as the Director of Photography for fifteen years. In 2014, I set up my own photographic consultancy and now work for a range of editorial and commercial clients in the luxury sector of travel and lifestyle.

You were Director of Photography at Condé Nast Traveller. Can you tell us what that involved day-to-day and how you work with photographers? 

The magazine had a launch staff, none of whom had ever worked in travel journalism or travel photography. The editor’s vision was to make a features magazine about the world and we ran a broad spectrum of features illustrated with reportage, travel, lifestyle, portraiture, still life, food and drink photography as well as stand-alone photo stories running across ten or twelve pages with just a standfirst, introduction and captions. 

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By Diana Jarvis

Diana is a writer and editor at Eye for the Light. She has a BA in History of Art and an MSc in Environment and Sustainability and has worked in travel publishing for 18 years as a photographer, book designer and writer for a wide range of publications. She’s also the Publishing and Photography Director at the British Guild of Travel Writers and undertakes travel and tourism photography commissions. You can see her work at