By Katy Cowan
After a record-breaking number of entries, the shortlist has been announced for this year’s Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s biggest and most respected photography competition.
The shortlist for the Professional, Open and Youth categories is defined by its sheer internationality, with over 270 photographers from nearly 60 countries being represented, the most in the awards’ nine-year history.
Recognising the best contemporary photography from 2015, the Honorary Jury, chaired by Dominque Green and Sue Steward, have identified exceptional work by both emerging talent and seasoned photographers. Originality and a strong sense of empathy stood out for the judges across the shortlist. From the thousands of submissions, subtle themes also appeared – the delicate handling of intimate, private moments by photographers; the capturing of the major public stories dominating the news, from the conflict in the Ukraine to the endless lines of refuges in search of a better life in Europe; and the use of new technology to create work, including drone and underwater photography.
Included on the 2016 shortlist are those familiar to the awards: Christian Aslund (Sweden, winner 2013); Ed Kashi (United States, shortlist, 2013); David Chancellor (United Kingdom, shortlist 2011 and 2nd place 2012); Espen Rasmussen (Norway, shortlist 2010 and 2011); Jonathan Carvajal (Colombia, shortlist, 2015); Julia Fullerton-Batten (United Kingdom, shortlisted 2015); Ruben Salgado Escudero (Spain, winner 2015) and Fan Li (China, winner 2015).
All shortlisted photographers across the three competitions are available to view online. We’re also happy to share a few highlights on Creative Boom.
Scott Gray, CEO of the World Photography Organisation and organiser of the awards comments: “We are extremely pleased with our jurors’ choices this year. Despite the increase in the number of photographers, and the amount of imagery that required judging, this year above all others we have witnessed a wealth of powerful imagery in the traditionally strong social documentary categories as well as the art and conceptual work. It is wonderful for the medium that it can offer such rich diversity.”
Those in the awards’ Professional categories will now compete for a $25,000 prize and the L’Iris d’Or/ Photographer of the Year title. The recipient, along with the winners of the Professional categories, overall Youth and Student winners plus the Open Photographer of the Year, who receives a $5,000 prize, will all be announced at the Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony in London Thursday 21 April 2016.
The winning and shortlisted images will go on show at Somerset House, London from 22 April – 8 May and published in the 2016 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards book. To book your exhibition ticket, please visit: worldphoto.org/2016exhibition.
Main image: Too Much Practice – Khairel Anuar Che Ani: Bali during Melasti Festival. (Open Split-Second)
Larung Gar – Attila Balogh: Home of 40 thousand Buddhist monks in Sichuan province. (Open Architecture)
Farming the Sea – Tugo Cheng: A fisherman is farming the sea in between the bamboo rods constructed for aquaculture off the coast in southern China. (Open Travel)
Reindeer Farmer Kids – Peter Voss: Reindeer farmer kids in Mongolia. (Open Smile)
Kartik Vrata – MD Tanveer Rohan: The last five days of Kartika month are known as Bhisma-Panacaka. Grandfather Bhisma fasted for these five days, preparing to give up his life. (Open Arts and Culture)
Local Family – Anton Unitsyn: Oksana and her two kids. Over 50% of their small salary is spent for utilities. They own this little room in the old house. Girl with ginger hair – Sothia, was born with heart disease. (Professional Daily Life)
Running Away with the Circus – Stephanie Sinclair: There are more than 300 people that are with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus blue unit, representing 25 different countries and speaking everything from Russian to Arabic to Guarani. (Professional Daily Life)
The Curse of Coal – Espen Rasmussen: Chelse (21) together with her boyfriend Eric and Alvin in her mother’s trailer close to Beckley, West Virginia. They smoke OxyContin painkiller’s before going out for a party on Halloween. With 1,8 million people and more than 500 dying of overdose every year, West Virginia is pill state number one in the US. (Professional Daily Life)
California Drought – Lucy Nicholson: A worker walks through farm fields in Los Banos, California, United States, May 5, 2015. California water regulators on Tuesday adopted the state’s first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region’s catastrophic drought enters its fourth year. (Professional Environment)
Real World Aliens – Alexander Semenov: This series represent exploration of the most extreme and far cold-water seas, washing the coasts of Russia, because only few people in the world had chance to dive there. (Professional Environment)
Made in Korea – Filippo Venturi: Bodybuilders at Haeundae Beach in Busan. Koreans are mad about health and physical appearance. Here appearance matters most; both in terms of beauty and conformity to norms. (Professional People)
Flying into the Sunset – Eric Madeja: I came across this juvenile flying fish while diving in open water near Tubbataha Reefs, Philippines. Juvenile flying fish are often spotted hovering just below the surface, hiding inside natural or manmade debris, drifting the ocean currents. (Open Nature and Wildlife)
Sea Baby – Andrey Narchuk: Baby fur seal in Bering sea. (Open Nature and Wildlife)
Nouveau Riche – Talia Rudofsky: Taken in Cannes, France 2015. (Youth Portraiture)
Second Best – Nikolai Linares Larsen: Portraits of the silver medal winners just after loosing their final at the Zealand boxing Championships held in Copenhagen in March. (Professional Sport)
Women’s Team Free Synchronised Swimming Kazan 2015 – Matthias Hangst: Teams compete in the Women’s Team Free Synchronised Swimming Preliminary on day four of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on July 28, 2015 in Kazan, Russia. (Professional Sport)
Little Fighters – Jens Juul: The atmosphere is good and there is loud music playing in the gym in Copenhagen where the elite girls train gymnastics 20 hours a week. You have to if you want to participate at the elite level. And they do. As a rule of thumb you have to put in at least 10.000 hours of training to compete internationally. Doing gymnastics you primarily fight yourself. Your fears, doubts and pain. But the youngsters help and encourage each other. So it might be a lone battle. But the
Fight for your Dreams, The Boxers of Bukon – Patrick Sinkel: If one is thinking about countries being successful in boxing, just a few will have Ghana in mind. But Ghana produced a couple of world champions in boxing – the most famous one being Azumah Nelson. (Professional Sport)
RIC Hornets – Rob Gregory: These images were created for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Adaptive Sports Program and the RIC Hornets wheelchair basketball team. (Professional Campaign)
A look behind El Salvador’s new Iron Fist approach – Marielle Van Uitert: We’ve arrived in El Salvador to see for ourselves the human effects of the violence that is rapidly making the country the deadliest place in the world. After a one-year dip in the murder rate following a truce negotiated between criminal gangs and the government of Mauricio Funes in 2012, the killings have spiked again this year, with a projected murder rate for 91 per 100 thousand for 2015. (Professional Campaign)
Flesh Love Returns – Photographer Hal. (Professional Staged)
The Philosopher – Juliette Blanchard. (Professional Staged)
Iconic B – Alberto Alicata: In this project, Alberto Alicata, traces the history of photography, image iconic realised by the great masters, resorting to the use of a symbol of contemporary Western culture: Barbie. (Professional Staged)
Picasso’s Women – Cristina Vatielli: The project consists of seven photographic shots, each representing one of the women who influenced the sentimental life and artistic work of Pablo Picasso. (Professional Staged)
The Selfie Project – Kristoffer Eliassen. (Professional Staged)
Animals vs. Jewellery – Oliver Schwarzwald: Editorial for German Stern magazine, jewellery special. (Professional Still Life)
Lion – David Chancellor: here are now more captive Lions in South Africa than wild ones; approximately 8,000 compared to 2,000 living in the wild. (Professional Campaign)
Les Bronzeurs – Alexandre Pruvost: In Paris, when the sun is back, the ‘bronzeur’ goes along the Seine. Wearing clothes or almost naked, he is looking for the perfect spot to enjoy the sun. (Professional Candid)
365, Unpacked – Antoine RepessÈ: #365, Unpacked is the result of a four years work during which the photographer has stopped throwing away his recycled waste, and has collected it instead. (Professional Campaign)
Way-Out Miami – Giancarlo Ceraudo: Miami is an incredible city, multifaceted, a modern Babylon. From Ocean Drive to Downtown, the city enjoys great popularity due to the charm of its buildings, nightlife and trendy life. (Professional Candid)
Kinshasa, Paris of Africa 2025 – Yvonne Brandwijk: The Democratic Republic of the Congo is known for its war but when it comes to fashion it’s capital Kinshasa the place for many people on the African continent. (Professional Candid)
Beached – Alejandro Beltran: Beached humans on unknown shores. (Professional Concept)
Pools – Stephan Zirwes: A study of water, one of the most precious resources for life on our planet. (Professional Architecture)
Joy For All Ages – Andrea Rossato: In the summer holidays at sea are a time of joy and fun for all ages. (Professional Candid)
Open Air – Karolis Janulis: People on mass yoga exercise in the central park of Vilnius. (Open People)
The Tourists and the Pelicans – Elie Kauffmann: This photograph was taken in Walvis Bay, Namibia. This couple of pelicans were quite the attraction on the boat! Two tourist were obstinate about those birds. (Open People)
Cloud Flamingo – Steiner Wang. (Open Nature and Wildlife)
Wale Me Regard – Patrick Willocq: (Professional Portraiture)
Stateless Women – Fauzan Ijazah: In May 2015, hundreds of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have landed in several areas of Aceh, Indonesia. Some of them reached the shore on their own, but most of them were rescued off at sea by the Acehnese fishermen. (Professional Portraiture)
Ruins – Petr Antonov: The series reflects on the role and place of the ruined church in contemporary Russian landscape, and on how it relates to the perception of time and history in present-day Russia. (Professional Architecture)
Read more here:: Shortlist revealed for 2016 Sony World Photography Awards