A student has beaten professional photographers to win the first Zeiss Photography Award. The winning photos were captured on a six-week train journey across India documenting how passengers risked their lives.

[© Tamina-Florentine Zuch]

Tamina-Florentine Zuch, 25, a photojournalism and documentary photography student from Germany, beat over 3,000 photographers and 22,000 images to take the title.

The annual Zeiss prize is organised by the World Photography Organisation, which said of the ‘Indian Train Journey’ project: ‘Her pictures show children sleeping in hammocks in stuffy train carriages, men risking their lives as they “surf” railway cars, and exotic landscapes as they pass by … Some of the images, which are very intimate, demonstrate Zuch’s photographic mastery at such a young age, her patience, and her sensitivity and tact in dealing with subjects from a completely different culture.’

Renowned photographer Steve Bloom, one of the judges, said: ‘Tamina Zuch has an incredible eye for composition, light and a feel for the right moment. She combines these characteristics again and again in her pictures.’

Fellow judge Hans-Peter Junker added: ‘Indian Train Journey is a very personal and poetic journey that is told by a fresh, young voice.’

Tamima-Florentine Zuch won Zeiss lenses worth €15,000 and the chance to cooperate on future Zeiss projects.

Indien / Maharashtra / Mumbai (Zug: Western Railway, Mumbai, Vorortbahn) Die Nahverkehrszüge Mumbais werden täglich von über 7,5 Millionen Menschen genutzt. Damit ist es das geschäftigste Nahverkehrsnetz der Welt. Für Frauen gibt es abgetrennte Abteile um sexuelle Belästigung einzudämmen.[© Tamina-Florentine Zuch]