The Sony World Photography Awards have been around for 11 years now, a partnership that is no doubt bringing more people into the photography world because of the tech giant. The contest is free to enter, and entries often top over 1 million images submitted, making it one of the biggest and most influential competitions in the photography world. The top prizes are $30,000 and a selection of Sony Equipment as well as having their work exhibited all over the world for a year.
Categories in 2018 Contest
The event is made up of four competitions, each with separate subcategories.
- Professional – 10 subcategories judged by a body of work with 5-10 images.
- Open – 10 subcategories with prizes to most outstanding images as well as a national award based on photographer’s nationality.
- Youth – Ages 12-19 with single image awards based on a criteria brief.
- Student – Awards for those currently studying photography.
The competition is judged by a panel based on each category with specialists from the publishing, photography, and arts industries.
This year the winning photographers were primarily exhibited at Somerset House, London with another international exhibition for the work while on tour and pictures in the Sony World Photography Awards Book. The campaign for this year’s competition (based on last years winners) is estimated to have reached almost 15 billion people.
- Photographer of the Year – This is the “top” prize in the competition and is the most varied since submissions are not just about a single image. The winner is featured on the website and given prime position in all exhibitions. The top prize this year was $25,000 and Sony Equipment with flights and accommodation to the award ceremony. Category winners won flights and accommodations to the awards ceremony, Sony equipment, and publication in the book with inclusion in the exhibition. Finalists were given awards tickets and inclusion in the exhibition while shortlist photos were exhibited digitally.
- Open Photographer of the Year – The open competition is open to anyone, but images are based on specific categories like landscape, architecture, and still life. The winner receives $5000, Sony Equipment, travel and accommodation to the awards ceremony, and inclusion in the exhibition. Shortlisted photographers received inclusion in the press campaign and inclusion in the exhibition. There is also a commended category which does not get exhibited.
- Youth – The youth brief for 2018 was “your environment” which encouraged young photographers to show the world “through their eyes.” The top prize included their work being used in the press campaign, inclusion in the exhibit, flights, and accommodation to the awards ceremony, as well as equipment from Sony. There is also a shortlist that is included in the digital exhibition and published in the winner’s book.
- Student Focus – This is open to any student in full-time photography classes with registered universities. The university may only submit a single image. Shortlisted winners received Sony Equipment, flights, and accommodation to attend the awards, a personal review of their work, €30,000 of equipment for their university and entry into a second competition for an ultimate winner. The ultimate winner, also, is given focus in the exhibition and a professional grant.
Sony Awards 2018 Winners
The winners of the professional, student focus, open, and photographer of the year will be announced on April 19, 2018, at the opening of the Exhibition.
Open Category Winners
- Architecture – Andreas Pohl, Germany
- 35-year-old photographer from Berlin who began photography in 2009 as part of his physics studies and became enamored of long exposures using ND filters.
- Culture – Panos Skordas, Greece
- Taken in the real Minos palace on Crete the costumes were made by the artist himself, and the model is his son.
- Enhanced – Klaus Lenzen, Germany
- A retired banker who works in minimalist images found in everyday life. He has been photographing since 2011 and has won several awards.
- Landscape & Nature – Veselin Atanasov, Bulgaria
- A fan of dramatic images he’s an IT specialist by day and a hobby photographer the rest of the time who has always had a passion for art in all forms.
- Motion – Fajar Kristianto, Indonesia
- Taken at the new aquatic stadium build for the 18th Asian Games
- Portraiture – Nick Dolding, United Kingdom
- A photographer from the young age at 15 he tried to pursue other careers but always came back to photography. He’s worked with several big names in the past including Christopher Joyce and Eve Arnold.
- Still Life – Richard Frishman, United States
- A documentary photographer, he’s been in the business since 1983 and has been nominated for a variety of big-name awards like Pulitzers as well.
- Street Photography – Manuel Armenis, Germany
- A photographer who studied the art all over the world, he works mainly on long-term projects and has been exhibiting since 2015.
- Travel – Mikkel Beiter, Denmark
- 30-year-old from Copenhagen, his passion is working with landscape and wildlife, and he is wholly self-taught. He’s an IT specialist by day and has been pursuing photography since 2015.
- Wildlife – Justyna Zdunczyk, Poland
- A freelancer who loves doing wedding photography but often ends up in commercial product work. She has her line of presets and considers herself just a “girl with a camera” who studied film in Warsaw.
Importance of Sony Currently
When it comes to photography innovation, Sony is very much ahead currently. There’s some argument that Canon has more accessories, but that lead is dwindling. After creating several full-frame mirrorless bodies, their focus on new lenses and accessories has put them firmly ahead when it comes to “new tech.” Other giants are following suit, with Canon anticipated to launch a mirrorless body soon, and critics looking at Nikon and wondering why they’re not even in the race.
2019 Contest Information
Entries into the 2019 competition must have been taken during 2018 (January 1 to December 31, 2018), except entries in the Professional competition if they have been first published in 2018. All images must be submitted online via the competition website. The opening date for submissions is June 01, 2018 and the deadline for submission will be the first week of January excluding the Student Focus submissions deadline which is in December. Images must not be smaller than 1MB in JPEG or TIFF format. The open and youth competitions both allow for three images with the option to purchase up to 20 entries while the professional categories allow a maximum of 10. It is free to enter the competition.