Sony World Photography Awards 2020 Winners
The winners of the Sony Wold Photography Awards have just been announced and Australian photographers have taken out a few of the first place spots!
The Sony World Photography Awards, now in its thirteenth year, is an international competition that is put on every year by the World Photography Organisation. The free-to-enter competition is open to entries from established and emerging artists alike.
The annual Awards consist of two main competitions, namely, the Open and the Professional competitions, and within these two branches, each competition is then divided into multiple categories.
The Open competition seeks to celebrate the power of single images, as the winning photographs are chosen for the narrative they embody, as well as for their technical prowess and creative flair.
By contrast, the Professional competition looks to the storytelling ability of a series of photographs. The winners of the Professional competition are selected for having submitted a remarkable body of work made up of five to ten images.
Three Australians have come first place in categories in the Open competition and five have made it onto the shortlist across the Professional and Open competitions.
In the Open competition, Adrian Guerin, Antoine Veling and Craig McGowan have won first place in the Travel, Culture and Landscape categories respectively.
With respect to shortlisted Australian photographers, Nicholas Moir, Jenny Evans and Adam Ferguson have made the cut in this year’s Professional competition in the Documentary, Environment and Portraiture categories respectively.
In the Open competition, both Alex Kydd and Adam Stevenson have made it onto the shortlist for the Natural World & Wildlife category.
Overall Winners: Photographer of the Year
The 2020 Photographer of the Year title, which carries with it a prize of USD $25,000, has been awarded to Uruguayan photographer Pablo Albarenga for his series Seeds of Resistance.
His body of work combines photographs of landscapes that are endangered by mining and agribusiness activities with photographs of the activists who are trying to protect these landscapes. The series seeks to explore the connection between these activists and their lands. The birds-eye angle at which the portrait shots are taken is a nod to the way these activists lay down their lives for these sacred spaces.
Commenting on his award, Albarenga has said, “With this important award, I see two victories: first, the opportunity to tell the stories of the traditional communities of the Amazon by highlighting the people who are still fighting not only for their future, but for everyone’s. We need to look beyond the trees, the oxygen and the "undiscovered" species of the rainforest. Secondly, that the photographer of the year award has landed in Latin America, a continent historically told through the eyes of foreigners. I hope that many more photographers from our region will continue to contribute with our voices, thus strengthening the amazing community of Latin American storytellers.”
Overall Winners: Open Photographer of the Year
Chosen from the Open competition winners, Tom Oldham from the UK has been awarded the title of Open Photographer of the Year 2020 for his image Black Francis, an award which carries with it a prize of USD$5000.
Oldham’s winning photograph Black Francis is a black and white portrait of Pixies lead Charles Thompson, also known as Black Francis, which was originally shot for MOJO Magazine.
Speaking on being awarded his new title, Oldham has said, “It’s an incredible compliment to be chosen for this, as I’m still buzzing to have made the shortlist alongside so much world class talent. I never dreamt I could get anywhere in the Open competition as the standard is so high, and this award will really take some time to realise. I thank MOJO Magazine for the commission, my brilliant team, and of course Charles for offering up such a moment. I’m astonished and delighted.”
Overall Winners: Student Photographer of the Year
Student Ioanna Sakellaraki has been selected as this year’s Student Photographer of the Year for her series titled Aeiforia. In taking out this title she has won 30,000 Euros worth of Sony photography equipment for the institution that she studies at, being the Royal College of Art in the UK.
Aeiforia was inspired by the brief Sustainability Now, which tasked students with the production of a body of work that related to environmental sustainability. Sakellaraki’s series, Aeiforia, depicts night-time stills of solar panels, battery farms and wind turbines on the small Greek island of Tilos, the first island in the Mediterranean to use renewable energy as its main energy source.
Overall Winners: Youth Photographer of the Year
Youth Photographer of the Year 2020 has been awarded to 19-year-old Hsien-Pang Hsieh from Taiwan for his image Hurry, which portrays a street performer who appears to be rushing but who is actually standing still.
Professional Competition Winners
Architecture: Sandra Herber for her series Ice Fishing Huts, Winnipeg
Creative: Pablo Albarenga for his series Seeds of Resistance
Discovery: Maria Kokunova for her series The Cave
Documentary: Chung Ming Ko for his series Wounds of Hong Kong
Environment: Robin Hinsch for his series Wahala
Landscape: Ronny Behnert for his series Torii
Natural World & Wildlife: Brent Stirton for his series Pangolin in Crisis
Still Life: Alessandro Gandolfi for his series Immortality, Inc.
Sport: Ángel López Soto for his series Senegalese Wrestlers
Portraiture: Cesar Dezfuli for his series Passengers
To find out more about this year’s winning and finalist photo series from the Professional competition, have a look at the online winners galleries here.
Open Competition Winners
Architecture: Rosario Sabrina Pantano, Italy
Creative: Suxing Zhang, China Mainland
Culture: Antoine Veling, Australia
Landscape: Craig McGowan, Australia
Travel: Adrian Guerin, Australia
Motion: Alec Connah, UK
Portraiture: Tom Oldham, UK
Still Life: Jorge Reynal, Argentina
Natural World & Wildlife: Guofei Li, China Mainland
Street Photography: Santiago Mesa, Colombia