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2019 Professional competition shortlist

Press Release – Sony World Photography Awards

Photographic artists shortlisted in the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Professional competition for the worlds most powerful photo series

© All images courtesy of the artists, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards


Photographic artists shortlisted in the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards’ Professional competition for the world’s most powerful photo series
Judged anonymously by world-leading photo experts
• Professional and Student shortlisted images now available at worldphoto.org/press
• Record-breaking entries to these prestigious, global awards: Over 326,000 submissions across 4 competitions from 195 countries and territories
• Awards’ Student competition shortlist also revealed
Photographer of the Year, ten Professional category winners, and overall Open, Youth and Student winners announced at London Awards ceremony on April 17, 2019

March 26, 2019: Showcasing exceptional series by the best artists working worldwide in photography, the World Photography Organisation today reveals the shortlisted photographers for the Professional competition of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards.

The Awards offer photographers unparalleled opportunity to showcase their art to a global audience, with past winning and shortlisted artists enjoying career-boosting benefits such as gallery representation, exhibitions and publishing deals. The 2019 shortlist presents a vibrant and diverse insight into photography today.

Specially selected by a panel of the world’s leading judges from academia, museums, publishing, festivals and the media, the judges have chosen a powerful range of cutting-edge series across ten diverse categories. Often taken from larger bodies of work, the Professional shortlist contains series of five to ten exceptional images. Each series demonstrate artistic prowess and expertise in photographic techniques, editing and visual storytelling, providing audiences with captivating stories about humanity and the contemporary world.

Interpretations of the modern world
Today’s shortlisted artists offer their interpretations of the modern world in all its forms. Many tackle political issues: Daniel Ochoa de Olza’s (Spain) architectural images bring to light border wall prototypes currently in place in San Diego near the Mexico / US border, whereas Toby Binder’s (Germany) photo essay depicts the ubiquity of problems afflicting youth in Belfast, Ireland and the impact Brexit may have on the 1998 Peace Agreement.
The beauty of the natural world and man’s effect upon it can be seen in Kieran Dodds’ (UK) aerial imagery of Ethiopia, highlighting the 95% loss of its native forests, and in the work of Leah Schretenthaler (USA), who uses traditional film and silver gelatin to shoot and print images of controversial infrastructure projects in Hawaii, which she then lasered out leaving scar-like blank spaces on the photographs.

Unique insights into others’ lives
Insights into lives and places that might otherwise be unknown are also shared: Alice Mann (South Africa) shows the unique and aspirational subculture surrounding all-female teams of drum majorettes, while Kohei Ueno(Japan) takes the viewer to the underwater world of competitive freediving and stunning portraits of the female boxers of Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo are offered by Alessandro Grassani(Italy).

Success of the 2019 Professional competition

The success of those shortlisted is notable as the 2019 Professional competition received its highest number of entries to date, with submissions by artists from 161 countries as far afield as Gabon, Paraguay, and Cote D’Ivoire. This internationality is continued in the shortlist, with both emerging and established photographers recognised from 30 countries including Nevis, Finland, Japan, Colombia andIran.

All Professional shortlisted photographers will now go on to compete to become category winners, with the chance to be selected as Photographer of the Year winning $25,000 (USD). Second and third placings in each category will also be awarded on April 17 and their work will be shown at the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition in London, before touring globally.

Student shortlist
The Student shortlist features bodies of work by ten students at leading higher education institutions from across the world. Responding to the theme of “Evolution” for their first series, and “Belong” for their second series, shortlisted photographers come from a range of countries including Bangladesh, Malaysia, Spain, Argentina and Canada.

All ten shortlisted photographers have won Sony Digital Imaging equipment and will be flown to London to attend the Awards ceremony on April 17, where the overall Student winner will be announced and will receive €30,000 (Euros) worth of Sony photography equipment for their institution.
In London, the ten students will take part in an intimate talk withOutstanding Contribution to Photography recipient Nadav Kander and a portfolio review with 2019 Student competition judge Jason Baron (Creative Director of Photography, BBC Creative) and the World Photography Organisation. As well as providing various networking opportunities for the students and their tutors, each student will also be considered for the 2019 Student Sony Grant.
Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards are one of the most important fixtures on the global photographic calendar. The Awards are now in their 12th year of partnership with headline sponsor Sony and consist of four competitions in total:Professional (for a body of works), Open (for a single image), Student (for academic institutions) andYouth (for 12-19-year olds).

The Student shortlist features bodies of work by ten students at leading higher education institutions from across the world. Responding to the theme of “Evolution” for their first series, and “Belong” for their second series, shortlisted photographers come from a range of countries including Bangladesh, Malaysia, Spain, Argentina and Canada.

All ten shortlisted photographers have won Sony Digital Imaging equipment and will be flown to London to attend the Awards ceremony on April 17, where the overall Student winner will be announced and will receive €30,000 (Euros) worth of Sony photography equipment for their institution.

In London, the ten students will take part in an intimate talk with Outstanding Contribution to Photographyrecipient Nadav Kander and a portfolio review with 2019 Student competition judge Jason Baron(Creative Director of Photography, BBC Creative) and the World Photography Organisation. As well as providing various networking opportunities for the students and their tutors, each student will also be considered for the 2019 Student Sony Grant.

Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards are one of the most important fixtures on the global photographic calendar. The Awards are now in their 12th year of partnership with headline sponsor Sony and consist of four competitions in total:Professional (for a body of works), Open (for a single image), Student (for academic institutions) andYouth (for 12-19-year olds).

Judges’ comments

This year’s Professional judging was chaired by Mike Trow (Editor, Photographer, Consultant, UK),who comments: “The work in this year’s Professional shortlist provoked a lot of debate and interest amongst the jury, with interesting conceptual work and juxtapositioning of images to make new narratives, seen alongside more traditional storytelling. It is in some ways a more challenging and contentious year than ever before – which is a great thing, and important for pushing the boundaries of photography and to challenge the perceptions and expectations of the audience.”
This year’s Student competition was judged by global photography experts who have strong insight into emerging photography practise. The panel comprised of Jason Baron (Creative Director of Photography, BBC Creative), Bruno Bayley (Managing Editor, Magnum Photos) and Jeff Hamada (Founder & Editor, BOOOOOOOM).

Speaking on the quality of images, Jason Baron says: “What’s been so interesting to see in this year’s student competition is the range, variety and diversity of the images on show, not just in the subject matter, but in the genre of photography. Urban landscapes, lit portraiture, photo essays and still life to name but a few. It’s good to know that the future of all the different kinds of photography is safe in the hands of some great young talent.”

Commenting on this year’s Professional and Student competitions, Scott Gray (CEO, World Photography Organisation) notes: “The standard of entries to the Sony World Photography Awards continues to increase year on year. We are delighted to see such a wide range of groundbreaking bodies of work entered into this year’s Professional and Student competitions. The Awards’ provide these outstanding established and emerging photographers with a Truly global platform to showcase and exhibit their work.”

Prizes and Exhibition

All shortlisted and winning images will be exhibited as part of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London. This exhibition will include a dedicated section featuring specially selected works by the 2019 recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize, the renowned artist Nadav Kander. The exhibition will run from April 18 until May 6, 2019 at Somerset House, London, before travelling globally to countries including Japan, Germany and Italy. London Exhibition tickets are available from www.worldphoto.org/2019exhibiition

The Awards’ overall winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on April 17. The Photographer of the Year, Open Photographer of the Year, Youth Photographer of the Year, the Professional competitions’ category winners and the ten shortlisted Student entrants will all be flown to London to attend. Winners will also receive the latest Sony digital imaging equipment and will be included in the 2019 Awards’ book.

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