17 of the most captivating professional photos shortlisted in the 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

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  • The Sony
    World Photography Awards
    , one of the world’s most prestigious
    photo competitions, has announced the shortlisted and finalist
    entries of its 2020 Professional competition.
  • Open to professional photographers over the age of 18, the
    competition ran from June 2019 to January 2020. More than 135,000
    images were submitted.
  • The competition recognizes photo series consisting of 5 to 10
    images that were taken or commissioned in 2019. Photographers
    could submit one photo series to each of the 10 categories,
    which included
    “Environment” (a new category for 2020) and
    “Creative” (for digitally altered images). 
  • From a highway that zigzags like a child’s doodle through
    mountains in China to a bushfire raging through southeast
    Australia, the shortlisted and finalist images capture some of
    2019’s most beautiful and dire moments.
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    Insider’s homepage for more stories

The Sony World Photography Awards is widely regarded as one of
the world’s most prestigious photography
competitions — and today, it announced the
finalist and shortlisted images
of its 13th annual Professional
competition, whittled down from a staggering 135,000 images.

Between its four 2020 competitions — Professional, for photo
series; Open, for standalone images; Youth, for standalone images
taken by photographers ages 12-19; and Student, for photography
students — Sony received a record 345,000 submissions from 203
countries and territories.

2020 Professional competition
was open to professional
photographers over the age of 18 from around the world, ran from
June 2019 through January 2020, and accepted bodies of work
consisting of 5 to 10 images across 10 categories: Creative,
Discovery, Documentary, Environment, Landscape, Natural World &
Wildlife, Portraiture, Sport, and Still Life. Only unpublished
images taken in 2019 or images commissioned in 2019 were

Submissions were evaluated on their technical excellence and for
providing a “fresh perspective on contemporary subjects.” In total,
60 shortlisted series and 30 finalist series were selected across

From a whimsical portrait of teenagers lounging in a messy
bedroom to a bushfire raging through southeast Australia,
the shortlisted and finalist images capture 2019 in its lightest
and darkest moments.

The Awards will announce ten category winners and a Photographer
of Year from among the Professional category finalists on April 16
at the Sony World Photography Awards in London. The
Photographer of the Year will receive $25,000, among other

Here are 17 standout images from the finalist and shortlisted
photo series:

*Photographer image descriptions have been lightly edited for

astronaut in space photographed the giant smoke plume from
Australia’s fires. 70% of the country is covered in

photographer who spent 5 years at Nevada’s brothels found legal
prostitution was nothing like what he thought

“Rumi and Scarlet, 2019” by Joseph Ford

Category: Creative shortlist

Series name: Invisible Jumpers

About the series: Ford worked with a knitter to
match his subjects with their surroundings and create an optical

Photographer image description: “I’ve
photographed a range of ages for this project, and the idea of
recreating a messy teenager’s bedroom appealed to me.”

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards

“Judges are looking at reborn dolls during the Valencia doll show”
by Didier Bizet

Category award: Documentary shortlist

Series name: Baby Boom

About the series: Bizet documents the creation
and adoption of “reborn” dolls. These hyper-realistic dolls that
resemble newborns first appeared in the US in the 90s, according to
Bizet, and feature “birthmarks, veins, hair, visible skin pores,
and even saliva.”

Photographer image description: “Hundreds of
visitors flock to the Doll Show in Valencia,
Spain. This reborn dolls show is the largest in Europe. The jury of
reborn artists from all over the world, adored by collectors, meets
at the end of the first day of the show. On the left, Bianca Franke
carefully notes the many details of the babies such as hair
implantation and painting work. April 2019.”

See the full
series here

Sony World Photography Awards

“Kosmaj” by Laurin Schmid

Category: Architecture

Series name: Relics of a Utopia

About the series: In 2019, Schmid visited 50
Spomeniks, or brutalist memorials made of concrete and steel that
were erected in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugosalvia
beginning in the 1960s. Following the Yugoslav Wars in the 90s,
many of the monuments were forgotten, according to Schmid. She
photographed the structures under full moonlight. 

Photographer image description: “Monument to
the Fallen Soldiers of the Kosmaj Detachment, Kosmaj Mountain,
Serbia. Coordinates: N44°28’04.3″, E20°34’18.3″. Year Completed:
1971. Designer: Vojin Stojić and Gradimir Medaković.”

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards

“0,531Bq” by Florian Ruiz

Category award: Landscape finalist

Series name: Project 596 (Chinese nuclear

About the series: Ruiz used digital techniques
to depict the “invisible” radioactivity of Lop Nor, a dried-up salt
lake in northwest China’s Xinjiang province that was used as a
nuclear weapons testing site from 1964-96. “The first Chinese
nuclear bomb test, codenamed Project 596, was conducted here in
October 1964. As a result of these activities, the region is still
heavily contaminated,” Ruiz wrote.

Photographer image description: “I wanted to
show the invisible danger in this desolate area. Using a Geiger
counter I measured the presence of radiation in becquerels (Bq).
The title of each image is the level of soil contamination I
recorded, expressed in Bq. Using digital techniques, I superimposed
image fragments, suggesting atoms altering and a general feeling of
impermanence. These broken perspectives show the landscape twisting
and changing, leading to a sort of vertigo or malaise.”

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards 

“Drug Cartel Cemetery 10” by Jeoffrey Guillemard

Category award: Architecture shortlist 

Series name: Drug Cartel Cemetery

About the series: Guillemard photographed the
Jardines del Humaya cemetery in Culiacan, Mexico. Built in 1969 by
the city’s wealthiest families, the cemetery was later taken over
the Cartel de Sinalon, who transformed the site with “mansion-like”
tombs. The cartel tombs include air conditioning, satellite TV and
some are estimated to be worth millions of dollars, according to

Photographer image description: “Arturo Beltran
Leiva’s ‘El Barbas’ grave, from the Cartel de los Beltran Leiva.
December 27, 2019. Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico.”

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards

“Seeds of Resistance 3” by Pablo Albarenga

Category award: Creative finalist

Series name: Seeds of Resistance

About the series: Albarenga stitched together
photographs of indigenous leaders in Brazil and the lands that they
protect. Albarenga cited a 2018
report by Global Witness
that states that 57 land and
environmental defenders were killed in Brazil in 2017, 80% of whom
were defending land in the Amazon.

Photographer image description: “Nantu is an
indigenous young man from the Achuar Nation of Ecuador who leads a
project of solar-powered river boats for collective transport. By
installing solar panels on a specially designed boat’s roof, he is
working to end Achuar’s dependence on petrol. Left: On his land,
Nantu lies dressed with traditional Achuar clothing. Right: the
pristine rainforest from the Achuar territory. Sharamentsa,
Pastaza, Ecuador.”

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards 

“盘龙古道 (Plateau Sky Road)” by Peixia Xie

Category award: Landscape shortlist

Series name: 盘龙古道 (Plateau Sky

About the series: Peixia Xie took these aerial
photographs between October and November 2019 in the Pamir Plateau
of China’s Xinjiang province. She captured what locals refer to as
the ‘Plateau Sky Road,’ which opened in July 2019, runs for 22
miles between Tashkurg Tajik Autonomous County and Wacha Township,
and is full of hairpin turns.

the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards 

“Hanoi Fish Man” by Jon Enoch

Category award: Portraiture finalist

Series name: Bikes of Hanoi

About the series: Enoch spent a week on the
streets of Hanoi, Vietnam, photographing delivery drivers. These
deliverymen have “amazing balance skills” and deliver goods ranging
from car parts to eggs to pet fish and ice across the city,
sometimes even selling directly from their bikes, Enoch said.
Increasingly, vans are being used for commercial deliveries, he

Photographer image description: “A man poses
with his scooter in Hanoi with a delivery of pet fish, taken at the
start of 2019. The riders have the ability to transport all manner
of goods in amazing quantities.”

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards

“At the Pink Planet” by Yevhen Samuchenko

Category award: Natural World & Wildlife

Series name: At the Pink Planet

About the series: Samuchenko used a drone to
capture the brilliant colors of
Lemurian Lake
, a salt lake in Ukraine that turns pink and red
in the summer months as a result of microscopic algae that live in
the water. “The first time you see the pink salt lakes of the
Kherson region in Ukraine it feels as though you are looking at
another planet,” Samuchenko said. “The view from above is literally
out of this world,” he added.

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards

“Laura and Katie meet at the prison fence” by Richard Ansett

Category award: Portraiture finalist

Series name: The Women of HMP Foston Hall

About the series: Ansett visit HMP Foston
, a closed prison for women over 18 in Derbyshire, England.
“The aim of the project was to communicate to the outside world the
effects of their incarceration, and how they try to make sense of
their lives inside,” Ansett said. 

Photographer image description: “Relationships
are not officially sanctioned, but are inevitable, and grabbed
moments of intimacy are all the more precious for being

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards

Untitled by Sarah Sasani

Category: Sport shortlist

Series name: We Are Noticed Too Late

About the series: Sasani, a professional
judoka, or practitioner of the martial art judo, captured portraits
of her fellow professional female athletes in Iran. 

Photographer image description: “I am a
professional athlete. I was six when I took up sport. Now I am a
national champion. From the very first day up until now — I am 27
— only my father knows that I am a professional judoka. My father
has never witnessed my joy when I win or been by my side when I
fail because he is not allowed to enter the hall.”

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards

“Sologub Oksana Volodymirivna” by Sasha Maslov

Category award: Portraiture finalist

Series name: Ukrainian Railroad Ladies

About the series: Maslov set out to document
the “fairy-tale” railroad crossing houses of his native Ukraine as
well as the workers who live in them. “During the course of this
project, it occurred to me that the crossings are reassuringly
permanent — they stand firm in the face of constant change.
Unfazed by the passing of trains and time, they are here to stay,”
he said.

Photographer image description: “322 km
crossing of Poltava Kyiv. The Southern Railways.”

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards

“Orange and Gray” by Mauro Battistelli

Category award: Landscape shortlist

Series Name: Swamps in Autumn

About the series: Battistelli captured the
ethereal beauty of a Texas swamp during a kayaking trip in November
2019. “The Spanish moss looked incredible in the early morning
light, and the water and trees formed endless fascinating shapes,”
he said. 

Photographer image description: “Stunning
trees, Spanish moss, and orange leaves combined are the essence of
autumn in the swamps of Texas.”

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards

“SN7” by Nicholas Moir

Category award: Documentary shortlist 

Series name: The Burning

About the series: Moir documented the Green
Wattle Creek bushfire in southeast Australia, one of
many that have caused widespread destruction throughout

Photographer image description: “A lone fire
truck is framed by a wall of flame and a fire tornado during

Green Wattle Creek fire
, which erupted out of the bush and hit
properties in Sydney southwest.”

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards

“1” by Chung Ko

Category award: Documentary finalist

Series name: Wounds of Hong Kong

About the series: Chung Ko has documented the
wounds of those involved in the
ongoing student-led Hong Kong protests that erupted in June 2019
over a proposed extradition bill
. “Scars and bruises may fade,
but we must remember what caused them. Here are the wounds of the
casualties,” Chung Ko said.

Photographer image description: “Ah Yan
(alias), a first-aid worker hit by a tear gas canister while he was
on duty in Causeway Bay on November 2, 2019, suffered from
third-degree burns. His fingers were also burnt when he tried to
remove the canister between his back and backpack. After a
four-hour skin grafting operation, he has to dress the wound
everyday, which is quite painful.”

See the full series here

Sony World Photography Awards

“Sand Elephant Memories” by Massimo Gurrieri

Category award: Discovery shortlist

Series name: Tutto Scorre: India’s Flow

About the series: Gurrieri documented his
travels through India in 2019. “Traveling the roads here is as much
an inner as an outer journey,” he said.” Daily life unfolds,
interspersed with religious rituals. Embarking on a walk allows
thoughts from the depths to rise to the surface,” he said.

Photographer image
 “Memories, dust, religion,
and pollution. Kumbh Mela, 2019.”

See the full series here


Source: FS – All – Interesting – Lifestyle
17 of the most captivating professional photos shortlisted in the 2020 Sony World Photography Awards