A contest is looking for the world's funniest pet photo. Here are 23 of the best so far.

A dog striking a cool-guy pose in a bike basket. A horse gliding carelessly a few feet above the grass. A cat taking a #nofilter Instagram selfie. A panel of experts is currently debating the funniest pet photos on Earth — and some of the early favorites are in.

Submissions for the Comedy Pet Photography Awards have been open since January, and the entries so far have not disappointed.

"We wanted to see the funniest photos of pets from across the globe, and to our delight, the entries we've received so far have gone over and above our expectations," said contest co-founder Paul Joynson-Hicks.


The contest was launched by wildlife photographers Paul Johnson-Hicks and Tom Sullam as a spin-off of their highly successful Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards, which they started to showcase the best, most offbeat animal photography and raise money and awareness for conservation group Born Free.

Because the focus of this contest is on pet photos, the duo has partnered with the Humane Society of the United States and the Animal Welfare Foundation in the U.K. The awards are currently soliciting donations for both groups through their website.

The inaugural frontrunners for the 2017 Comedy Pet Photography Awards include:

1. This dog paralyzed with dread, powerless to stop the demon bubble's approach.

Photo by Connie Fore/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

2. This cat checking in from downstairs to see what's up upstairs.

Photo by Gabriel Constantin Marian/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

3. This dog enjoying a rejuvenating snow facial.

Photo by Isabelle Marozzo/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

4. This cat lounging in a ceramic bowl.

Photo by Annette Edgar/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards 2017

5. This dog chilling in a bike basket.

Photo by Simon DeKnock/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

6. This horse casually hovering.

Photo by Nando Harmsen/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

7. This dog strutting into the speakeasy after applying too much rouge.

Photo by Charles Davies/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

8. This cat bouncing you from the club.

Photo by Gabriel Constantin Marian/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

9. This horse just saying, "hey."

Photo by Heather Ross/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

10. This dog achieving its lifelong dream of catching the big tennis ball.

Photo by Sue Carroll/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

11. This kitten enjoying a phantom ice cream cone.

Photo by Claire Stott/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

12. This dog halfheartedly pretending to be awake.

Photo by Jaroslaw Brzezinski/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

13. This horse doing a weird upside-down parrot impression.

Photo by Heather Ross/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

14. This dog smiling its prettiest smile.

Photo by Peter Fonkert/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

15. This cat raining death from above.

Photo by Heather Ross/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

16. This dog trying a little too hard to convey that he loves the birthday present you bought him.

Photo by Connie Fore/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

17. This dog plotting an alternate route around traffic.

Photo by Lance Bellers/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

18. This cat realizing that the Matrix is real.

Photo by Krzysztof Smeljlis/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

19. This dog shaking it off.

Photo by Raquel Marques/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

20. This dog venting its rage at a cold, unfeeling universe.

Photo by Karen Yeomans/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

21. This horse aerating its teeth while its owner laughs.

Photo by Stephen DeHavilland/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

22. This cat taking a grainy morning selfie.

Photo by Katie Tipton/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

23. These cowboy dogs riding off into the sunset.

Photo by Alice van Kempen/Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.

Since the dawn of social media, millions around the world have waited eagerly for the day when looking at funny pictures of pets on their phones would earn them doing-good-for-the-Earth points.

Thanks to the Comedy Pet Photography Awards, the Humane Society of the U.S., and the Animal Welfare Foundation, that day is finally here.

Soak it in.

The contest is accepting submissions through May 31. Winners will be announced this summer.

Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
True

In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."