Sony World Photography Awards
A British photographer shooting on an 8x10in film camera has scooped the $25,000 top prize in the Sony World Photography Awards. Craig Easton won the professional section of the contest with a series of pictures that sets out to challenge the simplistic way in which places that have a diverse population are represented in the media. The black and white series shows a wide range of people from, and views of, a district called Top Bank on the outskirts of Blackburn, Lancashire in the UK, and forms a part of Easton’s contribution to the Kick Down The Barriers project that aims to take back control of the way the whole town of Blackburn is represented.
Easton’s prize includes $25,000 in cash as well as ‘a range of Sony’s digital imaging equipment’. Each of the three top-placed winners in each of the ten professional categories were also announced, along with the winner of the Open category and the Youth and Student awards. Winners of each category win Sony camera equipment, and the 2nd and 3rd placed get published in the Sony World Photography Awards book. The Open winner gets $5000 and Sony kit, while the Student winner gets $30,000 worth of equipment for their institution, and the Youth winner also gets camera kit.
For more information and to see all the winners and runners-up, visit the World Photography Awards website.
Overall Winner Professional section and Portraiture
Image Name: Mohammed Afzal, the Birdman of Bank Top, Blackburn, 2020
Photographer Name: Craig Easton
Series Name: Bank Top
Series Description: Bank Top, a collaboration with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafiz, examines the representation and misrepresentation of communities in northern England, and focuses on a tight-knit neighbourhood in Blackburn. Craig Easton notes that Blackburn has become synonymous with the use of words such as segregation (BBC Panorama) and integration (The Casey Review) by the media and policy makers – terms which he believes are too simplistic to explain the challenges faced by such neighbourhoods and towns. His aim with Bank Top is to confront what he sees as dominant discourses in the media which fail to acknowledge the historical legacy and social costs of industrial expansion and colonialism. This long-form collaboration uses the stories and experiences in Bank Top to address wider issues around social deprivation, housing, unemployment, immigration and representation, as well as the impact of past and present foreign policy.
Copyright: © Craig Easton, United Kingdom, Photographer of the Year, Professional, Portraiture, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Image Name: 09
Photographer Name: Tomáš Vocelka
Series Name: Eternal Hunting Grounds (Pet Crematorium by architect Petr Hajek)
Series Description: The former Drnov military complex has been abandoned for 17 years when two friends, Martin Chlum and Michal Seba, bought the dilapidated facility in order to realise their dream of building a final resting place for pets. Explaining the reason for pursuing this project one of the owners reflects: ‘When my dog died, I found that there weren’t any places where I could take him for cremation or burial’. With the help of Czech minimalist architect Petr Hajek they established what is now known as the Eternal Hunting Grounds, a space comprising a mourning hall, a crematorium and approximately 40 hectares of surrounding land where wildlife can thrive.
Copyright: © Tomáš Vocelka, Czech Republic, Winner, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Image Name: 01
Photographer Name: Mark Hamilton Gruchy
Series Name: The Moon Revisited
Series Description: This body of work is made up of previously unprocessed images from NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I have made my own images to express not only contemporary issues but also some that were relevant at the time of the Apollo missions. These are sourced from copyright-free materials that I have repurposed, processed and composited to create a conversation about the unchanging aspect of the Moon contrasted with the Earth, which continues to be a dynamic place where change cannot be prevented. With thanks to NASA and the JPL.
Copyright: © Mark Hamilton Gruchy, United Kingdom, Winner, Professional, Creative, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Image Name: 3
Photographer Name: Vito Fusco
Series Name: The Killing Daisy
Series Description: The pyrethrum is known as the ‘flower of death’ – a nickname that neatly describes this delicate daisy imbued with murderous power. The pyrethrum is cultivated mainly in the hills of Nakuru in Kenya and is the arch foe of the insect world. When insects encounter the substance they are stunned into paralysis and then die. Used for centuries as a natural insecticide, it was only in the mid-20th century that pyrethrum made an impact on the global pesticides market, earning an eminent position among natural insecticides. During the 1980s, the pyrethrum crisis began, instigated by the chemical synthesis of pyrethroids that led to the manufacturing of cheaper but non-organic products. Today, however, this special daisy is being grown once again on the clay hills of Nakuru at an altitude of over 1,500m. The Kenyan government has decided to liberalise the production of pyrethrum, opening it to private companies in an ambitious attempt to revive the sector and help local farmers meet the growing global demand for organic products. Once sown, the plant provides a yield approximately every 15 days, all year round.
Copyright: © Vito Fusco, Italy, Winner, Professional, Documentary Projects, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Image Name: 3
Photographer Name: Simone Tramonte
Series Name: Net-zero Transition
Series Description: The coronavirus pandemic has led to the most severe economic downturn the world has seen in recent years. However, this crisis also presented countries with an unprecedented opportunity to shift towards sustainable living. Iceland is isolated and challenged by a harsh climate and following the financial crisis in 2008 has successfully transformed its economy through the use of renewable energy. In a few decades, the country moved away from fossil fuels to producing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources. This transition nurtured an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship that grew profitable businesses aiming to make minimal impact on the environment. Thus Iceland has become a global leader in technologies that foster clean energy and emission reduction. This small nation presents many ways in which the global climate crisis can be tackled and is leading the transition to a net-zero sustainable future.
Copyright: © Simone Tramonte, Italy, Winner, Professional, Environment, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Image Name: 10
Photographer Name: Majid Hojjati
Series Name: Silent Neighborhoods
Series Description: Everything in life is made up of impressions from the past and whatever befalls us today. The fabric which took one form yesterday takes on a new form now. All creatures still fight for their survival. Nature is the battlefield. The forces of the world are as they have ever been; the waves of the sea, storms, the earth itself. But ultimately it is humanity, marching everywhere, claiming everything, proving to the world that it will endure. We strove to live, to take and to control, before even knowing what to call ourselves. We think we will last forever so we hunt, build, wear clothes and consume, changing our ideas and our tools over the years but never changing our ways. We chased after more and more and something was always left behind. Homes were abandoned, chairs left empty and clothes unworn, even the buttons of a shirt were lost. We have raced to eternity, knowing life is fleeting, leaving the lights on behind us as if to say that once upon a time we were alive. Here are the silent neighbourhoods: those places free of the presence of humanity. The noise of their silence can be heard everywhere – but here in these places we are condemned to hear nothing.
Copyright: © Majid Hojjati, Iran, Winner, Professional, Landscape, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Image Name: Jack at Sheepwash
Photographer Name: Laura Pannack
Series Name: Portfolio Overview
Series Description: These images are from a variety of personal projects. All of my work is driven by research and building a connection with those I photograph, while vulnerability and honesty are at the forefront of my process. Such collaborations enable my imagery to be playful and push the boundaries of portraiture, while ensuring a foundation of trust is consistent. I believe images need to captivate and evoke emotion, and so, with every frame I shoot, I consider the elements within the frame and outside it. Symbolism is an important reference for my choices of composition and content.
Copyright: © Laura Pannack, United Kingdom, Winner, Professional, Portfolio, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Image Name: Inclusive Karate School in Syria_4
Photographer Name: Anas Alkharboutli
Series Name: Syria: Sport and Fun Instead of War and Fear
Series Description: In the Syrian village of Aljiina, near the city of Aleppo, Wasim Satot has opened a karate school for children. What makes it special is that girls and boys with and without disabilities are taught together. They’re aged between six and 15 years old. With his school, Satot wants to create a sense of community and overcome any traumas of war in the minds of the children.
Copyright: © Anas Alkharboutli, Syrian Arab Republic, Winner, Professional, Sport, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Winner, Still Life
Image Name: Still Live with Ginger Jar
Photographer Name: Peter Eleveld
Series Name: Still Life Composition, Shot on Wet Plate
Series Description: For this project I used ordinary objects, like glassware, fruits and flowers and applied the wet plate collodion technique to turn them into something extraordinary. Once I found my subject I started imagining how it will look printed. This particular process requires a lot of patience and careful planning of composition, lighting and exposure times. The hard work pays off when finally it all comes together in one unique, magical moment as you watch the photograph slowly develop in front of your eyes. This moment doesn’t happen all the time but when it does you’re left with one of a kind image (plate).
Copyright: © Peter Eleveld, Netherlands, Winner, Professional, Still Life, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Winner, Wildlife and Nature
Image Name: 4
Photographer Name: Luis Tato
Series Name: Locust Invasion in East Africa
Series Description: Desert locusts are the most destructive migratory pests in the world. Thriving in moist conditions in semi-arid to arid environments, billions of locusts have been feeding throughout East Africa, devouring everything in their path, and posing a huge threat to the food supply and livelihoods of millions of people. Farmers stand by as armies of ravenous insects eat their crops; meanwhile, herders watch the rangelands stripped bare before their livestock can get to them. Extreme rainfall events and severe weather anomalies have created ideal conditions for locust breeding and feeding. Swarms of desert locusts from the Arabian Peninsula began rampaging across East Africa in early 2020, devouring crop and vegetation where they landed. The crisis reached historic proportions, with 10 countries in the Greater Horn of Africa and Yemen experiencing infestations. Some areas of East Africa, such as Kenya, had not seen such severe desert locust outbreaks in more than 70 years. Covid-19 restrictions have significantly slowed efforts to fight the infestation, as crossing borders has become more difficult, creating delays and disrupting the supply chains of pesticides and products needed to prevent these pests from wiping out vegetation across the region and exposing millions of people to high levels of food insecurity.
Copyright: © Luis Tato, Spain, Winner, Professional, Wildlife & Nature, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Winner, Open section and Creative catergory
Image Name: African Victorian
Photographer Name: Tamary Kudita
Image Description: With this image, I wanted to portray a hybrid African-Victorian: my way of probing the stereotypical contextualisation of the black female body. I provide an alternative version of reality, where dualities fuse to create a new visual language. Taking a Victorian dress and merging it with traditional shona cooking utensils was my way of showing a multifaceted identity.
Copyright: © Tamary Kudita, Zimbabwe, Open Photographer of the Year, Open, Creative, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Winner, Youth and ‘Composition and Design’ category
Image Name: No Escape From Reality
Photographer Name: Pubarun Basu
Series Description: I created this picture with the idea of representing the feeling of being trapped in a moment, or in one’s own reality. I saw the curtains as the fabrics of the space-time continuum, which those two hands fail to break out of. The shadow cast by the parallel railings on to the fabric also gives the impression of a cage, in which the entity is trapped for eternity.
Copyright: © Pubarun Basu, India, Youth Photographer of the Year, Youth, Composition and Design, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Winner, Student section
Image Name: HW and Olwethu after a long day herding cattle on horses
Photographer Name: Coenraad Heinz Torlage
Series Name: Young Farmers
Series Description: I was born on a farm in South Africa, and grew up with cattle, horses, donkeys and chickens, many of which I still own and love to this day. Farming is an intense occupation that requires passion and unwavering dedication. I set out to photograph young people who choose this life because, like me, they believe they have a responsibility. This sits heavily on all of our shoulders. South Africa is an unpredictable land with severe droughts, safety concerns and debates around land ownership. Despite these challenges, young farmers are working toward a fairer and more equitable future of sustainable food security. They are my peers, my friends and my family, and this is our time to feed the nation.
Copyright: © Coenraad Heinz Torlage, South Africa, Student Photographer of the Year, Student Competition, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards