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Sony World Photography Awards reveals new categories for 2020

Posted on December 08, 2019 - By World Photography Organisation
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Sony World Photography Awards reveals new categories for 2020
Sony World Photography Awards reveals new categories for 2020
Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards are one of the most important fixtures in the global photographic calendar.

The Awards are a global voice for photography and provide a vital insight into contemporary photography today. For both established and emerging artists, the Awards offer world-class opportunities for exposure of their work.

Now in its 13th year, the Awards consist of four competitions: Professional (for a body of work), Open (for a single image), Student (for academic institutions) and Youth (for 12-19 year-olds).

We work with the best in the industry, forging strong, international partnerships to bring our photographers the exposure they deserve.
Scott Gray, CEO, Founder


Here are the new categories for the 2020 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards:

-Photography's power to capture environmental issues recognized in new dedicated category
-Sony Grants awarded to four exceptional professional artists and three student talents
-Youth competition restructured to give young photographers more opportunity
-Exhibition tours to Japan, Italy, Germany and beyond in 2019

Submissions for the 13th edition of the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards are now open and free for all to enter at www.worldphoto.org.

The 2020 Awards are marked by the introduction of an Environment category to its Professional competition, recognizing the importance of the subject for contemporary artists, and a new format for the Youth competition, to engage and reward young photographers working worldwide.

The Awards also announced today the recipients of the 2019 Sony Grant. Chosen from the winners and shortlist of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards, the Sony Grant give artists the freedom to create new bodies of work or develop long-term projects. In clear demonstration of this, a new film by 2018 Photographer of the Year Alys Tomlinson funded by her Sony Grant will be premiered at Rencontres d'Arles, France, this summer. The film is an extension of the artist's 2018 award-winning series Ex-Voto.

Having been seen by 25,000 people in London, the exhibition of winning and shortlisted works from across the 2019 Awards will now tour internationally. Opening in Japan on June 1, the exhibition will travel to Germany, Italy, India, and Mexico giving audiences worldwide the opportunity to see the very best in contemporary photography from the past year.


F. Dilek Uyar

Sheep Herd. Open, Motion category. The hard and dusty journey of a sheep herd in Bitlis, Turkey. © F. Dilek Uyar/2020 Sony World Photography Awards


Environmental issues highlighted in new Professional category

The Professional competition seeks serious bodies of work across ten diverse categories by artists working across fine art photography and photojournalism, and rewards those pushing the boundaries of what photography can do. The new Environment category will challenge artists to address environmental concerns affecting the world today and winning and shortlisted photographers are given a global platform upon which to showcase their work.

Speaking about the direct results of winning, Italian artist Federico Borella states: Winning the 2019 Photographer of the Year title is one of the most important things for my career and my life. This kind of visibility is amazing because it allows me and my work to reach a global audience. My phone started ringing straight after the announcement and it hasn't stopped ringing since! People want to listen to the story I want to tell. How can I ask for more?

Judges selected Borella as the overall winner in 2019 for a powerful photographic essay on the human effects of climate change in Tamil Nadu, India.


Andrea Torrei

Open, Street Photography. The courtyard of a house. Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, 2019. © Andrea Torrei, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards


New opportunity for young emerging photographers

The new Youth competition will give young photographers aged 12-19 the opportunity to enter up to three single images per month from June - December 2019. Each month will have a different theme and judges will select one winner and a shortlist per month. The seven monthly winners will then compete to be named Youth Photographer of the Year.

The monthly structure has been implemented to give emerging photographic talent more opportunity to be discovered and will be accompanied by expert advice on the monthly theme to help those entering.

In addition to the Professional and Youth competitions, the 2020 Awards includes the Open competition, rewarding outstanding single images across ten categories and the Student competition, for photography students worldwide. The National Awards program also runs in 60+ countries and celebrate local photographic talent.

The Awards are judged anonymously, giving all photographers across the world equal opportunity to be seen by juries of industry leading experts and win.

A total prize fund of $60,000 (USD) plus Sony digital imaging equipment is shared between winning photographers, with many also being flown to London to attend the annual awards ceremony. All shortlisted photographers are given exposure via the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition which opens in London before touring globally. The 2019 Awards saw 327,000 entries from 195 countries. For more details about all the competitions and categories please go to www.worldphoto.org/swpa


Flavio Aguas

Untitled. Open, Street Photography. © Flavio Aguas, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards


2020 Competition deadlines
Open competition / National Awards: January 7, 2020
Professional competition: January 11, 2020
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.
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