‘绽放’ © Lin Chen, China, Commended, Open, Travel (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. November 2017 Photograph shot on Putrajaya in Yunnan，China, to showcase its beautiful scenery.
A record number of images were submitted to the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards, which enters into its eleventh year. Photographers from over 200 countries entered 320,000 photographs into the contest, which covers a wide range of categories for professionals, amateurs, youth, and students.
Professionals are judged on a series of work, while the Open category has amateur photographers selecting a single image for consideration. Organized by the World Photography Organisation, after revealed initial highlights a few months ago, the competition has announced its shortlist (top ten images per category) and commended list (top 50 images per Open category). With a 40% increase in entries over the previous year, judges had a difficult time making selections from the strong images submitted.
Photographers on the professional shortlist will now compete for the title of Photographer of the Year and a $25,000 cash prize. “Judges found submissions to be exceptionally strong, particularly across the competition’s two new categories – Creative and Discovery,” writes the World Photography Organisation. “The shortlisted series of works include stylish images of humanity’s obsession with wealth to raw images of the Rohingya refugee crisis, through to quirky portraits of dogs and their owners.”
Amateurs also created a splash in the Open competition, with a variety of subjects explored across 10 categories. The shortlisted images in this section will also compete for the title of Open Photographer of the Year and a cash prize of $5,000. The winners will be announced on April 19, 2018 at an awards ceremony in London. Take a look at some highlights from the Professional and Open competition, and see more images via the shortlisted galleries on the World Photography Organisation website.
The Sony World Photography Awards has announced the shortlist for its 2018 photo competition.
‘Black and White’ © Valentina Morrone, Italy, Shortlist, Open, Portraiture (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.
‘Slum Ballet’ © Fredrik Lerneryd, Sweden, Shortlist, Professional, Contemporary Issues (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. Every Wednesday at Spurgeons Academy, a school in the middle of the indecipherable maze of Kibera’s narrow streets and alleys, students take the chairs and benches out of a classroom and sweep the floor. The school uniforms are switched to bright-colored clothes. When teacher Mike Wamaya enters the classroom, the students get into position and place one hand on the concrete wall as though it were a ballet bar. Classical music plays out of a small portable speaker, and the class begins. The Ballet class is part of Annos Africa and One Fine Days charity activities in slum areas around Kenya. In Nairobi, they work together with two schools in Kibera and one school in Mathare, another slum closer to the city center. The dance is a way for the children to express themselves and it strengthens their confidence in life, and a belief that they can become something great. Some of the children are now dancing several days a week in a studio called “Dance center Kenya” in an upper-class area of Nairobi and living in a boarding school, so thanks to their talent they have taken themselves away from the harsh conditions in the slum.
‘Waterpolo Warriors’ © Adam Pretty, Australia, Shortlist, Professional, Sport (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. The Italian team huddle up for a team talk before their preliminary round Waterpolo match against Kazakhstan during the Budapest 2017 FINA World Championships on July 23, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary.
‘Bee eaters mating’ © Petar Sabol, Croatia, Shortlist, Open, Wildlife (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. Mating bee eaters photo was made this summer in Podravska county in Croatia. I was using hide and tripod.
‘Horsestyle’ © Wiebke Haas, Germany, Shortlist, Professional, Natural World & Wildlife (2018 Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. Anton was tickled in the ear to shake his head. His thick mane looks like a hairpiece. Most of the time he held his his head close to the ground so it took a lot of time to manage this shot.
‘方阵 The Phalanx’ © Xiaoxiao Liu, China, Shortlist, Open, Culture (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. In China, new senior middle school students have their military training at the beginning of the first year’s school term. We all have memories of training time. I helped a school shoot the record of their training time in September 2017.
‘Storm Systems’ © Mitch Dobrowner, United States of America, Shortlist, Professional, Natural World & Wildlife (2018 Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. Bolton, Kansas.
‘Temporary Serenity of a Sea Lion Pup’ © Will Clark, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Open, Wildlife (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. California sea lion pups are some of the most charismatic and engaging animals on our planet. One moment they might be utterly mischievous: nibbling on your dive equipment while whirling all around you… then they can suddenly change to be completely serene. It is this tranquility that I managed to record while sharing a small underwater cave with this cute little pup. It is rare in nature for a completely wild animal to demonstrate such trust in an unknown human, and I felt truly honored during this short interaction. Los Islotes, off the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico.
‘Shapes of Lofoten’ © Mikkel Beiter, Denmark, Shortlist, Open, Travel (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. This composition is quite popular amongst photographers at the moment and it’s easy to understand why! The beautiful Mount Olstinden has almost the same shape as the roof of this cute yellow cabin and the yellow color creates some amazing contrast to the snow covered mountain.
This place can be found in the Lofoten Archipelago at the small island named Sakrisøy.
I’ve removed a small cabin in the left side during post process. Beside that, color correction, contrast and sharpness has been done in Lightroom and Photoshop.
‘Els Enfarinat’ © Antonio Gibotta, Italy, Shortlist, Professional, Discovery (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. Each 28th December, in Ibi—province of Alicante, in Spain—the “The floured’s war” takes place. It’s a festival in which the citizens are divided into two groups: the first is called the Enfarinat (the floured), that simulate a coup d’etat; the other one tries to calm down the rebellion. The teams plays with flour, water, eggs and coloured smoke bombs: the photos taken during the match are beautiful. It has been celebrated since 200 years and it’s linked to the day of the massacre of innocents, when Herod, king of Judea, ordered to kill each baby in order to find Jesus.
‘Dead Lilies’ © Seizo Mori, Japan, Shortlist, Professional, Still Life (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. These are photos of dead lilies. I took dead lilies because of describing ‘lives’. I tried to take photos like natural history illustrations. I took perfectly dry dead lilies with two lights (one was over the lilies, another was under the lilies). I retouched the photos in black and white to eliminate the extra elements. The people that see my photos say these look like live flowers, I want.
‘Cenote II’ © James Monnington, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Open, Landscape & Nature (2018 Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. This is my friend and freediving instructor Julien Borde descending into a Cenote in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Cenotes form when limestone caves collapse, revealing beneath them groundwater pools that are considered to be sacred gateways to the Mayan underworld “Xibalba”. There are thousands strewn across the Yucatan, each with its own unique shape, size, depth and color. This was a challenging shot that required a long breath-hold so I could swim away from the light into the inky black cavern and wait for Julien to make his descent through the shards of light spilling in from above.
‘Salivating Giraffe’ © Pedro Jarque Krebs, Peru, Shortlist, Open, Wildlife (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. Drool escaping from the corner of a Giraffe’s mouth.
‘Dancing In The Air’ © Norbert Hartyanyi, Hungary, Shortlist, Professional, Sport (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. The most spectacular part of the historical Hungarian sports event, the 17th FINA World Championship is the high diving when competitors jump from an extreme heights: women jump from 20 meters, men from 27 meters. In the case of men, it means a 3 second free fall, and it carries huge risks of possible injuries therefore competitors have to reach the water feet first as during their speed can reach even 90 kms/hr. Each time jumpers are watched by light divers in the water so that they can provide assistance in case of trouble. This was the first time in the history of World Championships that competitors didn’t jump in natural water but in an artificially built pool. The pool at the foot of the 34-meter high, 10-ton tower was built in the Danube’s river bed on a 870 square meter concrete platform whose diameter is 15 meters with a 6 meter depth.
‘Check Point 300; (in)human borders’ © Eduardo Castaldo, Italy, Shortlist, Professional, Creative (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. Every day, before sunset, thousands of Palestinian workers spend between 2 and 4 hours clumped together to cross the so-called “CheckPoint 300”, that divides Bethlehem and Jerusalem, in order to work in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. The image presented is a composite of several pictures realized at CheckPoint 300 in different periods and its purpose is to represent the inhuman conditions in which these people are forced daily to get their right for a job.
‘Suspension’ © Stefano Morelli, Italy, Shortlist, Professional, Contemporary Issues (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. About 20 miles from Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan sits the antiquated Metsamor nuclear power plant. The plant (located in a town also called Metsamor) has long been a cause for concern for at least two reasons: It was built without containment vessels, and it sits in a seismic zone. In fact, it was closed in 1989 after a devastating earthquake hit nearby. In 2011, National Geographic even suggested that it might be the world’s most dangerous nuclear plant. Year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, when the Tsar was defeated and the URSS began to take shape. I visited the town in January to document its way of life. What I found was 10,000 people (1,000 who still work at the plant) living in a town of old Soviet buildings, caught in suspension between doubts and fears, between poverty and survival, between life and death.
‘From the Ends of the Earth (part 1)’ © Dan Welldon, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. This is a series of images which explore the atmosphere and landscape of the Antarctic. This is part of a body of work and forms the first part which was exhibited in 2017, the second part (work exploring the Arctic) will be exhibited in 2018. The aim of creating this body of work is ultimately to highlight the natural beauty & purity, the fragile ecosystems which are in extreme danger of disappearing without serious and urgent global action.
‘Stuffy Shell’ © Paul D’Haese, Belgium, Shortlist, Professional, Discovery (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. Hasn’t man always, throughout history, been seeking protection against a threatening outside world? Even in the contemporary, we still build walls, fences, hedges around us. We create formulas of ‘safe havens’, designed to take away deeply rooted fears and insecurities, while providing a perfect illusion (of self-protection). ‘Stuffy shell’ reflects on this human inclination. There is so much visual narrative to be found in the way we build, the way we domesticate the landscape. This results in uncanny images: bizarre, surreal and frightening … an unintended contradiction? In this series we see a carving conifer ‘protecting’ a villa, a hand pulling a concealing curtain into a row of houses with piercing triangular facades, a crazy sealed caravan, a house without windows and decorated with barbed wire… Trees as threatening hands behind concrete screens. A ‘hairy’ watchtower?
‘Yemen: Victims of War’ © Giles Clarke, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Professional, Current Affairs & News (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. A building in the Yemeni capital damaged by ground fighting and gunfire during the conflict in 2011. Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world, has been crippled by a war between forces loyal to the internationally-recognized government of President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and those allied to the Houthi rebel movement. More than 10,000 people have been killed and over 50,000 injured since March 2015, many of them in air strikes by a Saudi-led multinational coalition that backs the former president. Commissioned by UN OCHA for Getty Images Reportage.
‘Patterns of Glacial River’ © Manish Mamtani, India, Shortlist, Open, Travel (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. Aerial view of Glacial river in Iceland. While crossing the bridge, I noticed some pattern in the water and wondered how it would look from the sky. I stopped the car at a turnout after crossing the bridge and flew my drone to capture this image. I included the bridge and the car to give an idea of the scale. This river flows to the ocean and becomes part of the sea.
‘Tjentiste’ © Anastasia Riakovskaia, Russian Federation, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. Spomenik Tjentiste in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the monument of the Second World War. The photo was taken during the journey in May 2017 to the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
‘Very Impressive Starling Murmurations’ © Daniel Biber, Germany, Shortlist, Professional, Natural World & Wildlife (2018 Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. Starling murmuration shaped like a giant bird.
‘Redivine’ © Sphiwo Hlatshwayo, South Africa, Shortlist, Open, Portraiture (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. A portrait of a woman with freckles taken earlier in 2017. This image was taken in studio using two soft lights (softness altered in post production). This image was taken because I simply found the model to be beautiful. She caught my eye at an event and I had to bring her into the studio so I could capture every single freckle on her face.
‘Like owner, like dog’ © Krister Sørbø, Norway, Shortlist, Professional, Portraiture (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. How often have you not passed a dog and its owner on the street thinking “wow! No wonder those two found each other!” Well, I have, and wanted to document this phenomenon, and searching dog shows with a makeshift studio, I found the myth to be (partially) true.
‘The Great wall of Namib’ © Paranyu Pithayarungsarit, Thailand, Shortlist, Open, Landscape & Nature (2018 Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. The great landscape of large sand dune in Namib desert, Namibia. This shot was taken in the morning as the sun shone to one side of the dune while another side was still in shadow. The Namib desert is the oldest desert in the world where the sand sediment were deposited in the same area since 55-80 million years ago.
Also announced was the commended list, which highlights the top 50 photographs from each category of the Open competition.
‘Intake tower, Blowering Reservoir NSW, Australia’ © Chris Round, Australia, Commended, Open, Architecture (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. This image is part of an ongoing project concerning the Snowy Hydro Scheme and the Snowy Mountains region in NSW. It’s an exploration of the balance between nature and man’s intervention upon it – vast structures amongst epic landscapes, re-shaped waterways and newly created ones. This is the Blowering Reservoir intake tower taken in the early morning light, using a Pentax 67 medium format camera and Portra160NC film. The brutalist structure creates an interesting juxtaposition with the surrounding environment and the soft-looking water – a result of the need for a long exposure.
‘Walking’ © Suphakaln Wongcompune, Thailand, Commended, Open, Travel (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Award. U-Bein Bridge, Myanmar.
‘A Wave of Fish’ © Eric Madeja, Switzerland, Commended, Open, Wildlife (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. This school of scad was riding the surf during sunset close to the beach of Mataking Island, Sabah, Malaysia. I found the behavior interesting, grabbed my camera and snorkel equipment and tried to get as close as possible to capture this unique moment.
‘Sunset Double Exposure’ © Poppy Cornell, United Kingdom, Commended, Open, Enhanced (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. I created this double exposure because I love Portraits and Landscapes, and wanted to use my techniques and my passion to mix them together, create this double exposure. I have done this by using Adobe Photoshop using different tools to create this look.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by the World Photography Organisation.