It’s that time of the year again when Sony announces the shortlist of the best photos competing in the biggest photography contest in the world. As always, these include best shots not only by professionals but by amateur photographers as well.
It’s the tenth Sony World Photography Awards and this year it managed to outpace the record-breaking last year’s event and gathered photographers from 49 countries; with the shortlist being drawn from 227,596 images, entered from 183 countries, including – for the first time – Armenia, Cuba, Iceland, and Saudi Arabia.
The winning photographers will be announced on 20 April, with the overall Photographer of the Year scooping a $25,000 cash prize plus some goodies from Sony.
Here we bring you 25 photos from the list of hundreds who made it to the shortlist. Check out the full list on Sony World Photography Awards website.
#1 Masayasu Sakuma, Japan (Open Competition, Nature)
Diamond-Dust. This picture was taken in February in Nagano-ken at an altitude of about 1,700 meters. In Japan, February is the coldest season in a year. Diamond dust can be seen only a few times during cold season. So, it took four years to make this work since I started taking diamond dust. Orange circle is diamond dust. Diamond dust usually looks white, but it turns into orange just for the morning sunrise. I expressed the diamond dust as a silent forest fairy.
Photo by Masayasu Sakuma
#2 Barry Tweed-Rycroft, United Kingdom (Open Competition, Architecture)
Photo by Barry Tweed-Rycroft
#3 Christian Vizl, Mexico (Professional, Natural World)
Silent Kingdom. Ever since I was a kid, as far back as I can remember, I was attracted to the sea. I dreamt about what lay beneath the waves, and how would it look if suddenly all the water vanished, leaving all the animals and living creatures in stasis. In this way, I could walk within the ocean and see them all, suspended for a moment in time and space. To this day I carry within me that dream, and very gratefully realize it through my photography. Each image is a visualization of that sublime moment whereupon the beautiful marine life around me is frozen majestically in its natural environment.
Photo by Christian Vizl
#4 Andreas Hemb, Sweden (Open Competition, Wildlife)
Photo by Andreas Hemb
#5 Francesco Russo, Italy (Open Competition, Nature)
Beyond dreams. The plain of Castelluccio Landscape in flowering. Sibillini Mountains National Park, Italy.
Photo by Francesco Russo
#6 Luo Pin Xi, China (Professional, Sport)
Shaolin Kungfu, also known as Shaolin Wushu, is one of the famous Wushu schools in China. It has a long history and profound influence, is an important part of the traditional martial arts Chinese. The most prominent feature of Shaolin Kung Fu is “Zen Wu one”, namely the Zen in Wuhan, practicing meditation, so there are “Zen martial arts”.
Photo by Luo Pin Xi
#7 Zhu Jianxing, China (Open Competition, Travel)
Photo by Zhu Jianxing
#8 Lars Sivars, Sweden (Open Competition, Architecture)
NYC Light II. A Manhattan sunset. Shot from Queens across the East River. Part two in a New York Trilogy which I call “NYC Light.”
Photo by Lars Sivars
#9 Alexander Vinogradov, Russia (open Competition, Portraits)
Mathilda. Inspired by the movie Leon. Model: Anastasiya Marinina.
Photo by Alexander Vinogradov
#10 Eugene Kitsios, Netherelands (Open Competition, Wildlife)
Photo by Eugene Kitsios
#11 Dina Alfasi, Israel (Open Competition, Street Photography)
Photo by Dina Alfasi
#12 Carloman Céspedes Riojas, Peru (Open Competition, Portraits)
Algo casual 2. This image is a criticism of modern relationships and the distance between human beings in their daily interactions.
Photo by Carloman Céspedes Riojas
#13 By Ami Vitale, United States (Natural World, Professional)
Pandas Gone Wild. Found only in central China, the entire species came dangerously close to extinction. Scientists considered the giant panda a relic species; shy, and difficult to breed in captivity. But now there is a glimmer of hope, as years of research are finally paying off. In a region where bad environmental news is common, China cracked the code and is on its way to successfully saving its most famous ambassador. The giant panda was recently taken off the endangered species list!
Photo by Ami Vitale
#14 Tom Jacobi, Germany (Professional, Landscape)
GREY MATTER(S). No light, no colours. By photographing our colourful world at times & places, where there is no colour, the illusion of a colourful reality is being unmasked. For two years Tom Jacobi travelled to six continents, searching for archaic landscapes – mystical places that had been shaped over thousands of years by nature, yet they seem timeless, even modern. The landscapes unfold their strength and spirituality in front of the beholder. Through the absence of the Juggler Colour the planet seems to find peace, just like it might have done long time before our existence.
Photo by Tom Jacobi
#15 Yuan Peng, China (Professional, Sport)
The twins’ gymnastics dream. This series was taken in a sports school in Jining, in Shandong province, China. Liu Bingqing and Liu Yujie are twin sisters, who have liked gymnastics since their childhood. They have studied, trained and grown up here.
Photo by Yuan Peng
#16 Maximilian Conrad, Germany (Open Competition, Nature)
Green monster. May 16, 2016, a tornado warned high precipitation supercell storm is rolling over the town of Stratford, Texas. Its structures and color seem unreal and belong to the most dramatic I have ever witnessed in many years. I only had a few moments to find a decent spot to capture this amazing view. There was a bigger gap in the traffic along the highway so I had enough time to take a few photos. The image is a panorama of two images, further editing includes primarily color and local contrast enhancements, highlight recovery, foreground brightened up, and adding vignette.
Photo by Maximilian Conrad
#17 George Mayer, Russia (Professional, Portraiture)
Light. Shadows. Perfect Woman. Arranging the delicate balance of the correlation of the dark and the light the author discovers the obvious monumentality and duality of the images of the perfect woman. Within the space of the picture, the light becomes flat and the dark becomes deeper, highlighting all conventions and details. With this approach, the geometry of light becomes not only a sculptural language but also correlates with the meaning of the subject. The concept of “the perfect” in the photographs is contradictory in nature; on the one hand, it is monumental and complete, and on the other hand it is naked and vulnerable. These opposing concepts are at the heart of the works.
Photo by George Mayer
#18 Julien Chatelin, France (Professional, Architecture)
China West. In western China, the pace of economic development has ushered in a new and unprecedented period of transformation, one that has radically redefined the topography of the country whilst displacing significant parts of its population from rural areas to vast, newly-built mega cities. Semi-deserted landscapes carry a profound ambivalence, suggesting at the same time fecundity and sterility, a promise and nothingness. China West is a visual exploration of the impact economic development has had on western China’s landscape, focusing on the dwindling interstice left between nature and urbanisation, a space, which, perhaps more than any other, reveals the true process of change.
Photo by Julien Chatelin
#19 Asger Ladefoged, Denmark (Professional, Daily Life)
Alternative teaching. What happens, when 28 schoolchildren meet the controversial Danish therapist Carl-Mar Møller and are encouraged to play freely without rules? A sixth grade class from Øster Farimagsgade, a School in Copenhagen has done it twice. They went from the posh part of central Copenhagen to muddy wildness in Kokkedal, Denmark.
Photo by Asger Ladefoged
#20 Eduard Korniyenko, Russia (Professional, Sport)
Photo by Eduard Korniyenko
#21 Ivor Prickett, Ireland (Professional, Current Affairs & News)
Caught in the Crossfire. As the fight for Mosul enters its fourth month, thousands of civilians remain caught between Iraqi and coalition forces on one side, and Islamic State group fighters on the other. Over 800,000 people are still trapped in Mosul, according to estimates from the United Nations. Tens of thousands are sheltering in neighborhoods declared liberated by Iraqi forces and many more remain in parts of the city under ISIS control. Humanitarian organizations continue to fear mass displacement and civilian casualties. Many have already made the harrowing decision to flee their homes, in some cases leaving behind the bodies of loved ones who died as the fighting came to their area and had to be buried in front gardens. The majority of the more than 130,000 people who have fled are still living in temporary camps in Iraq’s Kurdish region. Some say they are waiting for the security situation to improve, others are waiting for their homes to be rebuilt. Although well organized and supported by international organizations, the camps are isolated and winter weather has made life there very difficult for people who already endured two years of harsh rule under ISIS.
Photo by Ivor Prickett
#22 Frederik Buyckx, Belgium (Professional, Landscape)
Whiteout. There is a peculiar transformation of nature when winter comes, when snow and ice start to dominate the landscape and when humans and animals have to deal with the extreme weather. The series investigates this struggle against disappearance. The struggle against a whiteout. These photos were made in the Balkans, Scandinavia and Central Asia; remote areas where people often live in isolation and in close contact with nature. A harsh existence, fighting against superhuman forces.
Photo by Frederik Buyckx
#23 Li Song, China (Professional, Contemporary Issues)
I want to have an ordinary life. In November 2016, Li Hang, an eleven-year-old boy from Harbin, arrived at Changchun weight loss center determined to lose weight. He had been diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome when he was 3 years old, and on admission, his weight had reached 155 kilograms. Prader-Willi Syndrome is a disease related to an abnormality in chromosome 15, and in around 70% of patients is inherited from their father. It occurs in 1 in 15000 people. Li Hang was being treated with traditional Chinese medicine every day, including massage, acupuncture, fire treatment and cupping therapy. Aside from medical techniques, Li Hang also did a great deal of exercise daily with the fitness instructor. From his initial fear, and throughout the process, Li Hang has been greatly tormented, but he is supported by his faith in doing what is necessary to live a normal person’s life.
Photo by Li Song
#24 Sandra Hoyn, Germany (Professional, Daily Life)
The Longings of Others. The Kandapara brothel in the district of Tangail is the oldest and one of the largest in Bangladesh – it has existed for some 200 years. It was demolished in 2014 but has been re-established with the help of local NGOs. The brothel district is surrounded by a two-metre wall, and in the narrow streets within, there are food stalls, tea shops and street vendors. More than 700 sex workers live and work here with their children and their madams. Many of the women were either trafficked or born inside the brothel’s walls and in this way their livelihood is secure. Officially, sex workers must be 18 years old, but most are underage and bonded girls are usually 12 to 14 years old. They have no freedom or rights; they belong to a madam, have debts and are not allowed to go outside or keep their money. From the moment a woman has paid her debts, she is free to leave.
Photo by Sandra Hoyn
#25 Pier Mane, Italy (Open Competition, Culture)
Walking on water. The Solomon Islands are special well beyond pristine reefs and world-class diving. It is one of the last frontiers where local tribes and indigenous populations are scattered throughout the archipelago, and proudly conduct a life where what is taken from Mother Nature is only that which is needed as a means of subsistence. I wanted a different shot than the usual underwater reef scene to capture the cultural essence of this incredible far-flung destination and its inhabitants. This is a place where it seems kids learn to paddle before they walk. I noticed canoes following my bubbles, a great opportunity to capture villagers, their canoe, the reef, and a stunning sunset as the backdrop.
Photo by Pier Mane