The winner of the 2012 Google Photography Prize has been announced as 24-year-old photography student Viktor Johansson from Sweden.

His series of shots of diver Christoffer Eskilsson beat competition from around 20,000 entries from 146 countries around the world to take the main award in the contest, which saw photography students showcasing their best work on the Google+ social network.

Recently, it was noted by Forbes that Google+ has become a popular destination for photographers to share their pictures due to its ease of use and the ability to connect with peers.

Google noted it received many "arresting, beautiful, compelling, diverse and often unexpected" entries and all the shortlisted shots demonstrated a high level of skill and vision.

The judging panel for the awards consisted of seven experts from around the world, including chief executive of London's Saatchi Gallery Nigel Hurst and professional photographers Joel Sternfield and Terje Sorgjeld.

Entries were evaluated on their creativity, innovative use of the medium and how well they represented one of the ten categories in the contest, which consisted of Food, Travel, Sport, Action, Fashion, Night, Street, Sound/Silence, Point of View and Me.

The judges said of the winning entry: "Viktor has chosen to show us an alternative view, one that we are not used to seeing from sport photography in the media."

Instead of "glamorous action shots" of the athlete in competition, the images Mr Johansson produced focused on the "long, lonely hours of repetitive training and practice that it takes to excel in your field", the panel noted.

Individuals keen to see the winning snaps for themselves will be able to do so at a special exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London, taking place for two months from April 25th alongside the Out of Focus: Photography display which features works by photographers such as Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, JH Engstrom and Katy Grannan.

Mr Johansson will also receive a one-in-a-lifetime trip to a destination of his choice, where he will receive tuition from a professional photography coach.

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