Showcasing the best in contemporary photography, the Sony World Photography Awards throws up a diverse mix of images. AP attended the Awards ceremony in London to see the pros get their prizes
AP attended the Sony World Photography Awards ceremony to see the pros get their prizes
Now in its 12th year, the Sony World Photography Awards highlight the best contemporary photography worldwide. The awards comprise four categories: Open, Youth, Student Focus, and Professional. The Open awards recognise outstanding individual images, while the Professional categories celebrate bodies of work. There is also an award for Outstanding Contribution to Photography – this year awarded to Candida Höfer, known for her large-scale, richly detailed pictures of empty interiors.
This year 319,561 images were submitted from more than 200 countries and territories (a 40% increase on 2017).
A total prize fund of $30,000, plus Sony digital imaging equipment, was shared between the winning photographers.
Aside from the prize money, the organisers aim to provide extensive exposure to the winners, shortlisted and commended entrants, and support new talent via the Student, Youth and Open competitions. Naturally, the Professional programme rewards established artists. Over the next few pages we bring you one, or in Gianmaria’s case two, pictures from eight bodies of work. Some of these artists will be featured in future issues of AP.
The Sony World Photography Awards exhibition, featuring winning, shortlisted and commended images, is on show at Somerset House in London until 6 May. For more details see www.worldphoto.org/ sony-world-photography-awards.
Fredrik Lerneryd, Sweden Slum Ballet Contemporary Issues, 1st Place
Every Wednesday at Spurgeon’s Academy in Kibera, students remove the classroom furniture and sweep the floor. School uniforms are exchanged for colourful clothes. When teacher Mike Wamaya enters the room, the students take up positions with one hand on the wall as though it were a ballet barre. Music plays from a speaker, and ballet class begins.
The class is organised by the charities Annos Africa and One Fine Day, and repeated in slums across Kenya. In Nairobi, they work with two schools in Kibera and one in Mathare. Dance helps the children to express themselves and strengthens their self- confidence. Several children have had their talent spotted and now attend Dance Centre Kenya in a smart area of Nairobi, moving from the harsh conditions of the slum to boarding school nearby.
Florian Ruiz, France The White Contamination Creative, 1st Place
In the snowy landscapes of the heights of Fukushima, Ruiz captured the invisible pain of radiation. Inspired by Japanese engravings, he hoped to capture the fleeting moments, the ever-shifting perceptions of nature, where radiation accumulates the most. Using a Geiger counter, he measured the radioactive contamination in becquerels (Bq), a unit that expresses atomic disintegration per second. By a process of staggered super impression, Ruiz intended to show the atom’s alteration in his pictures.
The transparency effects and broken perspectives give rise to a shape that is in motion, an impermanent world. He then created a vibration, a departure from the reality of the subject that reveals the presence of radiation in the image. The process reinvents and twists the very landscape, leading to a sort of vertigo – a threatening danger hidden behind the purity of the white of the landscapes.
Roselena Giovanna Ramistella, Italy Deep Land Natural World & Wildlife, 1st Place
Beginning in May 2016 Ramistella travelled the old Sicilian trails on a mule, starting at Nebrodi, passing through Madonie, Peloritani and all the way to the Sicani Mountains. The mule track is a rural road similar to a trail, but also suitable for the circulation of pack animals. Prior to the development of the modern road network, it was the link and trade route between the towns and farmland.
Until about 50 years ago, mules had a prominent role in Sicilian country life providing employment and assistance to local farmers. Owing to the economic crisis, many young people are moving back to the countryside, working the land, planting local crops and breeding livestock, thus creating a new rural economy.
The project has two parts: researching local communities still living in remote areas and creating a new map documenting the remains of the old mule tracks – the first since the 1950s.
Alys Tomlinson, UK Ex-Voto Discovery, 1st Place, Photographer of the Year
A handwritten note folded and hidden in the crevice of a rock, crosses etched onto stone, ribbon wrapped around twigs. These are all offerings of religious devotion, known as ‘Ex-Voto’ and found at Christian pilgrimage sites worldwide. Often placed anonymously and hidden from view, pilgrims leave ex-votos as expressions of hope and gratitude, creating a tangible narrative between faith, person and the landscape.
Taken at the pilgrimage sites of Lourdes in France, Ballyvourney in Ireland and Grabarka in Poland, the images encompass portraiture, landscape and still-life pictures of the objects and markers left behind. Shot on 5x4 film, the pictures evoke a stillness and reflect the mysterious, timeless quality present at these sites of spiritual contemplation. People and landscape merge as place, memory and history entwine.
Luca Locatelli, Italy White Gold Landscape, 1st Place
Rarely has a material so inclined to stay put been wrenched so insistently out of place and carried so far from its source. In Italy’s most marble-rich area, known as the Apuan Alps, the abundance is surreal. Hundreds of quarries have operated there since the days of ancient Rome, and Michelangelo sculpted most of his statues from this stone. Now the trade is booming owing to the demand from Saudi Arabia and other gulf states. The photographs of this area’s majestic quarries reveal an isolated world: beautiful, bizarre and severe. It is a self- contained universe of white – simultaneously industrial and natural.
Gianmaria Gava, Italy Buildings Architecture, 1st Place
The ‘Buildings’ project researches archetypal forms of architecture. When functional elements have been removed, constructions appear as pure geometrical solid shapes, seemingly uninhabitable. These buildings raise questions about the function and accessibility of architecture in both the public and private space.
Mohd Samsul Mohd Said, Malaysia Life Inside the Refugee Camp Current Affairs & News, 1st Place
For ethnic Rohingya in Rakhine state, Myanmar, life has taken a turn for the worse. On 25 August 2017, more than 400 houses were set alight, and within two weeks, nearly 125,000 Rohingya refugees had left Myanmar for Bangladesh. International organisations have reported claims of human rights violations and summary executions allegedly carried out by the Myanmar army. Over 400,000 Rohingya Muslims have now fled from Myanmar into Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine state. This series shows life inside the Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh.
Tom Oldham, UK The Last of The Crooners Portraiture, 1st Place
In days gone by, pubs all over London’s East End would feature sharply turned out singers crooning their way through a set of jazz standards at weekends, entertaining audiences and keeping them in the pub. Audiences have fallen over time, and now only the Palm Tree in Bow continues the tradition, having hosted three guest singers each weekend for more than 40 years.
Despite its rich culture, the Palm Tree is sadly now a lone stalwart. These singers really are ‘ The Last of The Crooners’. The family- owned Palm Tree is famous for maintaining its original warm East End atmosphere despite the impact of gentrification, council pressures and the changing habits of its clientele. After several years of asking, the pub finally allowed me to document the many great characters who still perform here, in a bid to capture this slice of history while it remains.