Incredible Professional Finalists from the 2024 Sony World Photography Awards

Rhino with injured horn

“If Eyes Could Speak, What Would They Say? (Munich)” © Haider Khan, India, Finalist, Professional competition, Wildlife & Nature
“Rhinos with injured horns suffer from pain, infections, and a reduced ability to defend themselves. Despite the pain a rhino may endure, their strength and resilience are a testament to the beauty of these creatures. As poaching and habitat loss continue to threaten their survival, rhino conservation efforts need to be supported and awareness raised to stop them being killed.”

After announcing the National winners, the 2024 Sony World Photography Awards has released the finalists and shortlisted entries for this year's Professional competition. Now in its 17th year, the Professional division is known for its technical mastery and ability to produce original, striking narratives. This year is no exception, with the finalists and shortlist culled from a record number of entries.

From Haider Khan‘s haunting photo of a rhino with an injured horn to Adali Schell‘s celebration of the joy and freedom that cars can bring, each masterful image shows off the talent of these photographers. Just three finalists were selected for each category, and the title of Photographer of the Year, as well as $25,000, will go to someone in this pool.

“The jury was captivated by the passionate storytelling, capturing both the joys and the challenges of human existence across our planet,” shared jury chair Monica Allende. “We were thrilled by the diverse, high-quality, and creative spectrum of photography styles on display.”

A selection of the shortlist and finalists will also go on view during the 2024 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition, which begins in London before traveling worldwide. We've browsed the list and selected some of our favorite finalists and shortlisted entries across all of the categories. Scroll down and get treated to a feast for the eyes.

The 2024 Sony World Photography Awards has released the finalists and shortlisted entries for this year's Professional competition.

Fennec fox pups playing

“Playing Fennec Pups” © Lukas Zeman, Czech Republic, Shortlist, Professional competition, Wildlife & Nature
“Fennec foxes are very active, playful, and incredibly mobile. An adult male fox can jump vertically up to 70 cm and more than 100 cm horizontally from a standing position, almost four times its length.”

Creative photo of a woman in a restaurant booth sitting next to a fishbowl

“L’Accalmie” © Horst Kistner, Germany, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portfolio
“A staged photography series – the set is made up like a theater stage. Analog thinking and feeling are combined with real lighting to create the final photographs.”

A portrait of an old Kazakh man in traditional dress. Due to globalisation, young Kazakh people no longer wear these clothes.

“Portrait, Kazakhstan” © Jorge Mónaco, Argentina, Finalist, Professional competition, Portfolio
“A portrait of an old Kazakh man in traditional dress. Due to globalization, young Kazakh people no longer wear these clothes.”

A dosimetrist measures radiation at the Southern ridge of Lake Shagan.

Untitled © Eddo Hartmann, Netherlands, Finalist, Professional competition, Landscape
“A dosimetrist measures radiation at the Southern ridge of Lake Shagan. This series explores a remote area of Kazakhstan known as ‘The Polygon,’ which was once home to the Soviet Union’s major nuclear testing facilities. Between 1949 and 1989, more than 450 nuclear tests took place here, with little regard for their effect on the local people and environment. The full impact of radiation exposure was hidden for many years by the Soviet authorities and only became clear after the test site was closed in the early 1990s. The location is still heavily contaminated and can only be accessed in protective clothing.”

Two girlfriends relaxing in a car in Los Angeles

Untitled © Adali Schell, United States, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture
“Lily Abbitt (19) and Zane Burrows (20) embrace on the side of the road in Topanga Canyon, California. Growing up in Los Angeles, some of my earliest memories were made in the car. Specifically, my dad’s vintage 1980s Mercedes – which he converted to run-on vegetable oil – acted as my respite. The hum of the engine, the tears in the leather interior, and the sound of his burned CDs accompanied my earliest understanding of L.A. I remember the sense of privacy that the car provided me and how it enabled my looking. In 2022, I was commissioned by The New York Times to photograph my friends in their first cars. Having spent my final teenage years in isolation due to the pandemic, the car provided me with a space to come back into touch with my community and with L.A.”

Aerial view of borax mining

“Borax Studies” © Kevin Krautgartner, Germany, Shortlist, Professional competition, Landscape
“Borax (sodium tetraborate decahydrate) and borate minerals have diverse industrial applications. They’re used in the production of glass, ceramics, and enamels due to their ability to lower melting points and improve strength. They’re also essential in manufacturing fiberglass and insulation and as a component in detergents and cleaning agents. This project shows a rarely used method of mining borax from the air. Wells are drilled into the lakebed to reach the brine layer below the surface, and pumps are used to draw the brine solution out. The extracted brine is then pumped into large evaporation ponds or pans, which have a large surface area and allow the sun and natural evaporation to concentrate the minerals within the brine. Over time, as the water evaporates, borax and other minerals become more concentrated, and highly saturated colors are visible on the surface.”

Portrait of a miner at Mutoshi artisanal mining (ASM), COMIAKOL cooperative. Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo

“Cobalt” © Davide Monteleone, Italy, Finalist, Professional competition, Documentary Projects
“Portrait of a miner at Mutoshi artisanal mining (ASM), COMIAKOL cooperative. In the Democratic Republic of Congo I documented the condition and impact of cobalt mining, which is essential for the green energy transition. The environmental and human conditions of cobalt mining have been widely reported, and the mainstream narrative faithfully describes the devastating working conditions and problematic health, environmental and economic conditions that men, women, and children are subjected to, directly or indirectly.”

Girl in Moldova peering behind a wooden door

“Portrait in Earthy Tones” © Natalia Garbu, Moldova, Republic Of, Shortlist, Professional competition, Documentary Projects
“Children in Moldovan villages often experience close-knit community life, engaging in outdoor activities and helping with household chores. Moldova is a nation facing a complex array of challenges and influences. Its patriarchal tendencies, economic struggles, Orthodox traditions, and historical ties to colonialism have shaped its society in unique ways. However, Moldova is also a place of resilience and cultural richness, with a diverse population that continues to seek its place on the global stage.”

Open corridors of Blue Boy Mansion in Kuala Lumpur

Untitled © Nick Ng, Malaysia, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design
“This seven-floor residential haven was built in the heart of Kuala Lumpur in 1962 by the famed architectural firm T.Y. Lee and Sons. Named Blue Boy Mansion, it was the epitome of wealth and success. In stark contrast to sterile modern structures, the building encourages interactions between its residents with an open design that enhances the coexistence of people and living spaces. The corridors on both sides of the building connect to a stairway that zig-zags from the ground to the uppermost units. The open stairway is not protected from rain or sun.”

A woman takes a holy dip in the polluted Yamuna river during the Chhath Mahaparv festival.

“The Holy Dip” © Sachin Ghai, India, Shortlist, Professional competition, Environment
“A woman takes a holy dip in the polluted Yamuna river during the Chhath Mahaparv festival. This series shares images from one of the biggest festivals celebrated in India: Chhath Mahaparv. It depicts the festival being celebrated in the sacred Yamuna River, which is now heavily polluted by acidic wastewater spilling out from big factories. The pollution has made the water harmful to both flora and fauna.”

This year saw a record number of entries in the Professional competition.

Two trans refugees from Uganda

“LGBTQIA Refugees: Fleeing Uganda” © Brent Stirton, South Africa, Finalist, Professional competition, Documentary Projects
“Lady Tina and Pretty Peter were previously jailed in Uganda for their trans lifestyle and experienced sexual assault. In May 2023, Uganda criminalized same-sex conduct for those convicted of ‘aggravated homosexuality,’ even though the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 violates some of the fundamental rights guaranteed under Uganda’s constitution. Uganda’s penal code already punishes same-sex conduct with life imprisonment, but the new law legislates on new crimes, such as the ‘promotion of homosexuality’; introduces the death penalty for several acts considered as ‘aggravated homosexuality’; and increases sentences for attempted same-sex conduct to 10 years. Anyone advocating for the rights of LGBT people now faces up to 20 years imprisonment. Many LGBTQIA people have been forced to flee the country and are now in fragile safe houses in Kenya.”

View of a spa in Slovakia

“Spa Island” © Karol Palka, Poland, Finalist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design
“A spa of international importance in Slovakia. Although it is small in size, the country of Slovakia is rich in springs of natural healing water. Spa culture has been a part of the Slovakian lifestyle for hundreds of years and has become part of a secular ritual for some. In 1947, a special balneological congress decided to divide the approximately 50 Slovak spa localities into three categories of importance: international importance, national importance, and local importance. This project examines the ways in which the architecture of spas allows those establishments to be spaces of ritual and community.”

2024 Sony World Photography Awards Creative Shortlist

“Air Pollution” © Diana Cheren Nygren, United States, Shortlist, Professional competition, Creative
“A vista from Siena, Italy, mounted behind the acrylic, then onto a larger dye sublimated aluminum print of Death Valley National Park, California.”

Portrait of cut Anthurium andraeanum

“Anthurium andraeanum” © Tine Poppe, Norway, Finalist, Professional competition, Creative
“Born and bred in industrial scale greenhouses, cut flowers have no contact with nature and generate high CO2 emissions. The Western world’s supply of cut flowers used to be derived from local greenhouses, but most of the flowers we buy in our stores today have been transported by planes or lorries from digitally run greenhouses around the world: Colombia, Ecuador, and equatorial East Africa are currently the largest producers of cut flowers on the planet. The greenhouses contribute to high water use and chemical runoff, while the flowers can generate significant carbon emissions through their refrigeration and long-haul transportation – stems may be transported up to 9,600 km (6,000 miles) in refrigerated airplane holds. These cut flowers were bought at a local flower shop and photographed in front of prints of landscapes in my studio.”

Still life of Angelica Archangelica

“Angelica Archangelica” © Federico Scarchilli, Italy, Finalist, Professional competition, Still Life
“Angelica has been used in traditional medicine to treat multiple health conditions. It is thought to contain various bioactive ingredients with antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have also studied Angelica’s potential anticancer effects in a lab, testing Angelica archangelica extract on breast cancer cells. They found that Angelica may help cause breast cancer cell death, leading researchers to conclude that the herb may have antitumor potential.”

Father and son in Cape Town, South Africa

“Ongeziwe” © Angelika Kollin, Estonia, Finalist, Professional competition, Portfolio
“This portrait was taken in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of my ongoing project about parenthood. The nucleus of one’s existence is rooted in family; each person inherently has parents. In our contemporary society, the concept of family has evolved and now integrates and embraces both traditional and new forms. No longer confined to a mere group of individuals sharing blood ties, I believe that family is increasingly becoming a feeling rather than a particular manifestation of form. My photographic exploration examines the myriad forms that a modern-day family can take, uniting them under common and universally sought human emotions: a sense of belonging, love, and emotional intimacy.”

Surfer riding a wave in Iceland

Untitled © Thomas Meurot, France, Finalist, Professional competition, Sport
“When you’re looking for surf in Iceland, you take anything you can, big or small. Here, Samuel Redon enjoys the small but beautiful surf in one of the most amazing landscapes I witnessed.”

The 2024 Photographer of the Year will be selected from the pool of category finalists.

Tehran Campus Town

Untitled © Yaser Mohamad Khani, Iran, Islamic Republic Of, Finalist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design
“In recent years, due to population growth and lack of sufficient housing, the towns near Tehran have been crowded and people have to migrate here.”

Senagalese surfer showing off his board

“Go!” © Tommaso Pardini, Italy, Finalist, Professional competition, Sport
“Isma shows off his potential to the surfers in the line-up. The Senegalese surf scene is growing fast and I’ve been there to document the life of Ismaila Samb, a young, promising surfer who is aspiring to become a professional. The surfers here don’t have the best equipment, but though they surf with old surfboards and wetsuits, their passion is above everything. My mission was to help Isma gain visibility and international recognition. After my visit, he travelled outside Africa for the first time and joined the Senegalese national team, taking part in the World Surfing Games in El Salvador.”

A recreation of the Civil War portrait of Lewis Douglass, with a descendant of Frederick Douglass, the anti-slavery campaigner.

“Austin Morris, Descendant of Frederick Douglass” © Drew Gardner, United Kingdom, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture
” A recreation of the Civil War portrait of Lewis Douglass, with a descendant of Frederick Douglass, the anti-slavery campaigner. This was a 15-second exposure with the model held in place with a neck brace.”

This image shows an artistic swimming team diving into the water and starting to form a shape that will eventually look like a pyramid structure designed to lift another athlete out of the water.

“Entrance” © James Rokop, United States, Shortlist, Professional competition, Sport
“This image shows an artistic swimming team diving into the water and starting to form a shape that will eventually look like a pyramid structure designed to lift another athlete out of the water. As an official photographer for USA Artistic Swimming, I have the honor and pleasure of photographing these amazing athletes. Most of the time, the spectators do not get to see the amazing underwater formations that help propel the athletes to the surface where they perform stands, jumps, and flips.”

Indigenous woman from Los Chenes with native seeds on her face

“Doña Leocadia” © Mahé Elipe, France, Finalist, Professional competition, Environment
“For 12 years, the indigenous association led by Leocadia Utiz has been organizing a native corn seed fair. Farmers from participating communities are invited to exchange native seeds and forgotten indigenous knowledge. According to Mayan belief, Leocadia claims to be descended from corn. Together with her family, she ensures the protection of the forest by cultivating milpa.”

World Photography Organisation: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by the Sony World Photography Awards.

Related Articles:

Must-See Winners of the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

Spectacular National Winners of the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards

Awe-Inspiring National Award Winners of the 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

22 Winners and Finalists of the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards Open Competition

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.

Sponsored Content