It’s been a record-breaking year for the Sony World Photography Awards, with 326,000 submissions from photographers in 195 countries. While the 2019 Photographer of the Year won’t be announced until mid-April, the World Photography Organisation has released its shortlist for the Open and Youth competitions.
The dazzling photographs show the diversity of imagery across the ten categories of the Open competition. The ever-popular Landscape and Portraiture categories once again had high-quality entries, while newer categories like Creative yielded unexpected and refreshing results. While photographers from the UK, Italy, and the USA submitted the highest volume of entries, Mexico, Korea, and India had the greatest increase in entry numbers, proving the global power of the competition.
In the Youth competition, which is open to photographers aged 12 to 19, eight images were selected. These young creatives were asked to respond to a theme—Diversity—and the results are an exciting look at emerging worldwide talent. “I was astonished with the diversity of work that was entered into the Open and Youth competitions,” shares Youth and Open judging chair Rebecca McClelland, Photography Director & Head of Art Production for Saatchi Saatchi & Prodigious. “The award represents a very democratic appreciation of photography, from tradition to emergent trends across all genres from nature to fashion. The competition allows the broadest demographic to have a platform.”
All shortlisted and winning images will be part of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at Somerset House in London. The show will run from April 18 to May 6, 2019. In the meantime, the photographers will anxiously await the February 26 announcement of the Open category and National Awards winners, as well as the Overall Open and Youth winners’ reveal on April 17.
Check out a stunning selection of shortlisted images from the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Open and Youth competitions.
“Hubris Part I” by Katarzyna Young, South Africa, Shortlist, Open, Architecture (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “The new US embassy in London known as the New London Embassy, was designed by Kieran Timberlake and built in Nine Elms beside the River Thames. Essentially, it is a glass cube enveloped in shimmering sails of plastic. The ‘transparent crystalline cube’ is intended to symbolize ‘transparency, openness, and equality’, according to the architects. The unusual form of the building’s facade is designed to minimize solar glare while still allowing natural light into the office spaces. The reflective facade shifts in color according to the weather and the position of the sun.
I find this building utterly fascinating, simple yet alluring. My intention was to create an image that encapsulates its beauty and unique form.”
“Huddle” by Nadia Aly, United States of America, Shortlist, Open, Natural World & Wildlife, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “On this incredibly cold, snowy, and windy day at Snow Hill in Antarctica last October, these small chicks were patiently waiting for their parents to return from sea with a meal. They huddled up in a group against the ice in an effort to keep warm from the frigid winds.”
“Tarian Ikan Cupang” by Dhiky Aditya, Indonesia, Shortlist, Open, Creative, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Betta fish has beautiful colors, with beautiful colors and stunning movements that will calm the heart to be calm and peaceful.”
“Forest of Resonating Lamps” by Yukihito Ono, Japan, Shortlist, Open, Travel (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Interactive installation by teamLab. The light of lamps reacts according to the movement of a person. This exhibit is permanently installed in Odaiba, Tokyo.”
“National Police Day” by Piotr Cyganik, Poland, Shortlist, Open, Motion (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Photo was taken during show given by special horse unit from police forces from Chorzow, Poland. Show was the part of Polish National Police Day celebrations.”
“Synergy of Humanity” by Eng Chung Tong, Malaysia, Shortlist, Open, Culture (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “A humanity view of one of the minorities tribes in Yunnan going about their daily working life. Teamwork, coordination, and cooperation are essential for efficiency otherwise it will be chaos. An impression of once upon a time in Yunnan.”
“Bright Minuet” by Alessandro Zanoni, Italy, Shortlist, Open, Culture (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “This picture has been taken next to the Gyeongbokgung Palace main gate, in Seoul. The ancient buildings are surrounded by several shops that rent and sell traditional costume for the visitors. For the people who wear one of that dress, the entrance is free. This shot underlines the contrast of a city in a fast-changing, where traditions and modernity are often crossing each other.”
“Face to Face” by Manuel Enrique González Carmona, Spain, Shortlist, Open, Natural World & Wildlife, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Picture taken in Saltee Islands, Ireland. By means of a double exposure in camera, a single common murre (uria aalge) has been shown in two different positions. He intended to create a minimalist image showing mainly the white lines of the bird underexposing in camera.”
“To Work” by Audun Nygaard, Norway, Shortlist, Open, Street Photography (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Morning view from my hotel in Stockholm.”
Over 300,000 photographs were submitted to the contest, which is organized by the World Photography Organisation.
“Familial Ryokan in Beppu” by Nicolas Boyer, France, Shortlist, Open, Travel (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “A familial ryokan in Beppu with the mother drinking her tea while her daughter is reading manga. Ryokans [旅館] are traditional Japanese inns often run in a family home with bedding (futon) spread out on the tatami floor & common bathing areas (ofuro – 風炉).”018.
“The Harvest” by Dikpal Thapa, Nepal, Shortlist, Open, Culture (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “I got stung by one of the largest bees in the world and I had already killed almost 7 or 8 bees by the time when I notice hunters around me calmly picking those bees off their body and throwing them away. They didn’t kill them. they just removed them from their body as soon as they sat on them. I didn’t ask why but understood the purpose we were there. We were there for harvesting the wild honey from the hives of Himalayan bees. The intention was not to kill. That’s why they put fire. That fire was not just to avoid the bee sting but to fend off the larger population of bees so that the hunters could harvest the honey without causing much damage to them. They respected those bees. They respected the mother nature and the natural process. ‘Gurungs’ from the remote Himalayan range of Nepal go to the wild twice a year just to harvest the honey from the Himalayan honey bees. The Mad Hunters, The Bravehearts, you name them and it still is not going to justify the wonder these guys pulled right in front of my eyes. After smoking out the majority of bees from the hives comes the time for harvesting the mad honey. they climbed down the ladder from the upper part of the cliffs bare hand and barefoot as you cannot wear anything on that rope or you run the risk of slipping your hand and your feet. that is it. the net on your face. the dress on your body and the ladder.”
“Arabian Red Fox” by Msaaed Al Gharibah, Kuwait, Shortlist, Open, Natural World & Wildlife, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “The Arabian Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes arabica ) is a subspecies of the Red Fox and is native to Arabia and adapted to life in the desert. It inhabits virtually every environment in Arabia from cities along the coast to desert and mountains.”
“Sentinel” by Shaun Mills, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Open, Architecture (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Long Exposure shot of the Old Victorian Lighthouse off the coast of Dovercourt, Essex. 40-second exposure was taken at high tide on an overcast day on 17th February 2018. The long exposure combined with sea and cloud movement enabled me to produce the minimalist effect I was looking for.”
“Abuot” by Zelle Westfall, United States of America, Shortlist, Youth, Diversity (2019 Youth competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “I had this image in my mind before I took it. This was the very first shot, just to test the lighting. Right away, I knew this was exactly what I was going for. The rest of the shoot was spent collaborating with Jordan. Abuot is my friend from school and she is one of the funniest people I know. In today’s society, with skin bleaching products and colorism flooding the media, it’s important to highlight the beauty of dark-skinned women who are often told that they are ‘too dark’.”
“Converge” by Lu Quanhou, China, Shortlist, Open, Travel (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Photographed in Kuitun Grand Canyon, Xinjiang.”
“Illusion” by Gérard Bret, France, Shortlist, Open, Landscape, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Like a checkerboard representing the oyster tables of Thau pond, near Sète, France.”
“Stumps, Alder Lake, Nisqually River, Washington” by Hal Gage, United States of America, Shortlist, Open, Landscape (Open Competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Stumps exposed from in spring when water levels on the man-made Alder lake on the Nisqually River Dam, Washington are low.”
“A Dog and its Best Friend” by Arvids Baranovs, Latvia, Shortlist, Open, Creative, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “A dog and its best friend reveal the secrets that hide in the dark in Cīrulīši nature trail, Gauja National Park, Latvia. Darkness/Light series. Light-painted using lights attached to a drone.”
Untitled by Sergio Ferreira Ruiz, Spain, Shortlist, Open, Motion (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Open water swimming competition in Cabo de Palos, Region of Murcia, Spain.”
All of the shortlisted photographs will be part of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House in London.
“Dusk of the jellyfish” by Angel Fitor, Spain, Shortlist, Open, Natural World & Wildlife, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “A jellyfish pulsates its umbrella right beneath the surface at the end of the blooming season in Mar Menor (Spain) coastal lagoon.”
“Wires and Pigeons” by Alessandro Zunino, Italy, Shortlist, Open, Creative, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Lights and shadows, wires and pigeons, draw a dense pattern in a river channel in Funchal, Madeira (Portugal).”
“Prunus Domestica ‘President’ European Plum” by Masumi Shiohara, Japan, Shortlist, Open, Still Life (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “This is the European plum ‘President’ that I grow. ‘President’ is a variety discovered in the state of Hertfordshire in England in the early 20th century. In Nagano Prefecture where my farm is located, it is a late-seed variety that ripens in late September. This work is aimed at showing the identity of the variety in detail. I photographed flowers with branches in spring and fruits with branches in autumn. Furthermore, I shot three aspects of flowers and fruits, their cross section, and a seed. Three sides of flower and fruit, a seed and fruits with branches have focus stacking.”
“Walking Among the Stars” by Rosaria Sabrina Pantano, Italy, Shortlist, Open, Street Photography (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Taken in Turin, Piazza Castello, during a performance.”
“A walk on the bike” by Alexandr Vlassyuk, Russian Federation, Shortlist, Open, Creative, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “This is one shot from my series of shots taken in the yard of a private house with the help of a drone.”
“Hey You” by Fabian Ruchti, Switzerland, Shortlist, Open, Street Photography (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “This Photograph is called ‘Hey You’ from my Series ‘The Least Miserable Country’ made in Thailand in February 2018. After a photo tour, I went to the beach restaurant to drink a coffee. When I saw that girl came out from the sea and walk to the salesman—’klick’.”
“Circle of Power” by Sandi Little, Canada, Shortlist, Open, Natural World & Wildlife, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “Every year, at Sheffield Mills, Nova Scotia photographers come from all over the world to attend the annual Eagle Watch event. The eagles fill the trees surrounding a field where they are fed dead chickens who die during the night at local hatcheries .. it is amazing to watch as the eagles have great patience… until the crows and the seagulls start to fly in and enjoy the free lunch .. one or two eagles start to fly out of the trees to scare the crows and other birds of prey from eating what they consider to be their lunch and other eagles follow.. a feeding frenzy ensues…eagles soar to the ground, grabbing dead chickens in their large talons, sometimes two at a time…anything can happen, and often does.. my photo capture was a lucky one.. one eagle had landed in a crevice to enjoy his catch when he sensed another eagle was approaching to steal it from him.. he turned around, in full wingspan, to protect his lunch and I captured his look of ‘don’t you dare ‘ to his approaching threat…It was worth standing for hours in minus 10 degrees (C) to capture this shot of wildlife’s amazing beauty.”
“Portrait of Father and Son” by Artem Mikryukov, Russian Federation, Shortlist, Open, Portraiture (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards.
“Risky Journey” by Md. Akhlas Uddin, Bangladesh, Shortlist, Open, Street Photography (Open competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “The overcrowded train and station at the early morning in Tongi railway station. Bangladeshi Muslim devotees attending the Akheri Munajat by train, On the third day of Biswa Ijtema, Bishwa ijtema is the second largest Muslim congregation after the Hajj, in Bangladesh, 14 January 2018, around one million Muslims from Bangladesh and abroad observed the three-day congregation with prayers on the banks of the Turag River, Tongi, Gazipur, Bangladesh.”
“Divided” by Emma Last, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Youth, Diversity (2019 Youth competition), 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. “This self-portrait symbolizes the segregation of individuals due to their differences and shows how their features can see them placed into groups characterized by stereotypes created by society. It aims to highlight how, although diversity is increasing, the lack of acceptance of it is responsible for the absence of equality in the world today. The black string indicates the groups created and shows the boundaries and restrictions placed upon certain groups in the world. The out-of-focus side profile in the foreground shows how those segregated by society are often dominated or almost hidden by individuals who don’t accept the differences of others and therefore see themselves as more powerful. For diversity to truly be accepted we need to embrace each other’s differences and view ourselves as equal.”