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Overall Winners of the Sony World Photography Awards 2021

Posted on April 15, 2021 - By World Photography Organisation
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Overall Winners of the Sony World Photography Awards 2021
Overall Winners of the Sony World Photography Awards 2021
The World Photography Organisation is delighted to announce the overall winners in the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards 2021. The Photographer of the Year title and accompanying $25,000 (USD) cash prize and a range of Sony's digital imaging kit is awarded to the esteemed documentarian Craig Easton (United Kingdom) for his series Bank Top. Also announced are the ten category winners alongside 2nd and 3rd place of the Professional competition as well as overall winners of the Open, Student and Youth competitions.

Winners are revealed in a celebratory announcement video hosted by CEO of the World Photography Organisation Scott Gray and TV and radio presenter and author Konnie Huq. The video features interviews, behind-the-scenes clips and reactions from winning photographers and is available to view via worldphoto.org/ceremony-2021

Also unveiled today is a virtual exhibition of winning and finalists' work; A Year in Photos from the Sony World Photography Awards 2021, a specially commissioned documentary feature hosted by art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar; and a free digital copy of the Sony World Photography 2021 book all available to view and download viaworldphoto.org/announcement-2021

Bank Top, a collaboration with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafiz, examines the representation and misrepresentation of communities in northern England, focusing on the tight knit neighbourhood of Bank Top in Blackburn. The project forms part of Easton's wider work in the region including Thatcher's Children (2nd place,Documentary Projects, 2021 Professional competition,), an investigation into the chronic nature of poverty as experienced by three generations of one family; and Sixteen(shortlisted in the Portraiture category of the 2017 Awards), a look into the dreams, aspirations and fears of 16 year-olds from all walks of life.

Bank Top is a result of the Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery initiative Kick Down the Barriers, a project instigated in response to media reports portraying the town as the 'the most segregated in Britain'. Seeking to challenge this narrative, the museum invited artists and writers to collaborate with residents of various neighbourhoods and create a robust and authentic representation of their communities.

Over the course of a year Easton and Hafiz worked closely with local inhabitants to explore their stories and experiences through a series of black & white portraits and accompanying texts. These highlight issues around social deprivation, housing, unemployment, immigration and representation, as well as the impact of past and present foreign policy. Their work counters simplistic generalisations and aims to provide context as to how these communities came together and a better understanding of how they thrive together now.

Mike Trow, Chair of the 2021 Professional competition says: What is so impressive about this project is the intent, dedication and understanding Craig brings to it. He has worked closely with the writer Abdul Aziz Hafiz to create a complete piece, tacitly acknowledging that for a project as sensitive as thiswords matter. These are not people who necessarily askedto be photographed but Craig gained their trust. They look frankly to camera andwe see a mutual understanding between documenter and subject. It is the moral weight behind this work that makes it so important and deserving of this prize.

Commenting on his win Easton says: I am delighted to have this work recognised by the Sony World Photography Awards. I photograph to learn, to try to understand and to document and share stories. It is a privilege to be able to do so and to challenge perceptions and stereotypes – something that is especially important to me. To have these stories from underrepresented or misrepresented communities in northern England where I live recognised and shared worldwide is wonderful. Thank you.

PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY WINNERS
Winning photographers in the Professional competition have been selected by a panel of expert judges for submitting an outstanding body of work of five to ten images,ranging from stories of local importance to issues of global significance,quietmoments of resilience to creative brilliance and playfulness. All category winners receive Sony'sdigital imaging kit. This year's winners are:

ARCHITECTURE& DESIGN WINNER:
Tomáš Vocelka (Czech Republic) for his series Eternal Hunting Grounds Finalists: 2nd place Frank Machalowski (Germany); 3rd place Gu Guanghui (China Mainland)


Tomáš Vocelka

Eternal Hunting Grounds (Pet Crematorium by architect Petr Hajek) © Tomas Vocelka, Czech Republic, Winner, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

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.

CREATIVE WINNER:
Mark Hamilton Gruchy (United Kingdom ) for his series The Moon Revisited Finalists: 2nd place Luigi Bussolati (Italy); 3rd place Sasha Bauer (Russian Federation)


Mark Hamilton Gruchy

The Moon Revisited © Mark Hamilton Gruchy, United Kingdom, Winner, Professional, Creative, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

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.

DOCUMENTARY PROJECTS WINNER:
Vito Fusco (Italy) for his series The Killing Daisy Finalists: 2nd place Craig Easton (United Kingdom); 3rd place Lorenzo Tugnoli (Italy)


Vito Fusco

The Killing Daisy © Vito Fusco, Italy, Winner, Professional, Documentary Projects, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

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.

ENVIRONMENT WINNER:
Simone Tramonte (Italy) for his series Net-zero Transition Finalists: 2nd place Mohammad Madadi (Islamic Republic of Iran); 3rd place Antonio Pérez (Spain)


Simone Tramonte

Net-zero Transition © Simone Tramonte, Italy, Winner, Professional, Environment, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

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.

LANDSCAPE WINNER:
Majid Hojjati (Islamic Republic of Iran) for his series Silent Neighborhoods Finalists: 2nd place Andrea Ferro (Italy); 3rd place Fyodor Savintsev (Russian Federation)


Majid Hojjati

Silent Neighborhoods © Majid Hojjati, Iran, Winner, Professional, Landscape, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

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.

PORTFOLIO WINNER:
Laura Pannack (United Kingdom) for her submission Portfolio Overview Finalists: 2nd place Brais Lorenzo (Spain); 3rd place Loli Laboureau (Argentina)


Laura Pannack

Portfolio Overview © Laura Pannack, United Kingdom, Winner, Professional, Portfolio, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

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.

PORTRAITURE WINNER:
Craig Easton (United Kingdom) for his series Bank Top Finalists: 2nd place Julia Fullerton-Batten (United Kingdom); 3rd place Jane Hilton (United Kingdom)


Craig Easton

Bank Top © Craig Easton, United Kingdom, Finalist, Professional, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

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.


Craig Easton

Bank Top © Craig Easton, United Kingdom, Finalist, Professional, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

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.

SPORT WINNER:
Anas Alkharboutli (Syrian Arab Republic) for his series Sport and Fun Instead of War and Fear Finalists: 2nd place Patrick Meinhardt (Spain); 3rd place Farzam Saleh (Islamic Republic Of Iran)


Anas Alkharboutli

Sport and Fun Instead of War and Fear © Anas Alkharboutli, Syrian Arab Republic, Winner, Professional, Sport, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

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.

STILL LIFE WINNER:
Peter Eleveld (Netherlands) for his series Still Life Composition, Shot on Wet Plate Finalists: 2nd place Alessandro Pollio (Italy); 3rd place Paloma Rincon(Spain)


Peter Eleveld

Still Life Composition, Shot on Wet Plate © Peter Eleveld, Netherlands, Winner, Professional, Still Life, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

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).

WILDLIFE & NATURE WINNER:
Luis Tato (Spain) for his series Locust Invasion in East Africa Finalists: 2nd place Graeme Purdy (United Kingdom); 3rd place Angel Fitor (Spain)


Luis Tato

Locust Invasion in East Africa © Luis Tato, Spain, Winner, Professional, Wildlife & Nature, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

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.

OPEN PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR :
The Open competition celebrates the power of single images. Winning photographs are selected for their ability to communicate a remarkable visual narrative combined with technical excellence. Chosen from ten Open category winners, Tamary Kudita (Zimbabwe) is Open Photographer of the Year 2021 and the recipient of the $5,000 (USD) cash prize, Sony’s digital imaging equipment and global exposure.

Kudita won for her outstanding portrait African Victorian submitted to the Creative category. The photograph depicts a young black woman dressed in a Victorian dress and holding traditional Shona cooking utensils. The image probes at stereotypical contextualising of the black female body and offers an alternative visual language through which a multifaceted African identity is presented.


Tamary Kudita

The Killing Daisy © Tamary Kudita, Zimbabwe, Category Winner, Open, Creative, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

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.

STUDENT PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR :
Coenraad Heinz Torlage (South Africa) of the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography has been awarded Student Photographer of the Year 2021, winning €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for his institution. Chosen for his series Young Farmers Torlage, who grew up on a farm himself, set out to photograph the next generation of farmers as they face challenges concerning severe droughts, safety and debates around land ownership alongside their contributions towards a fairer and more equitable future of sustainability and food security.


Coenraad Heinz Torlage

Our Time © Coenraad Heinz Torlage, South Africa, Student Photographer of the Year, Student Competition, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

W and Olwethu after a long day herding cattle on horses

YOUTH PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR :
Selected from six category winners, Pubarun Basu (India, 19 years-old) has won Youth Photographer of the Year 2021 for his image No Escape from Reality. In the photograph the shadows of railings projected onto curtains create the illusion of cage bars from behind which a pair of hands is seen as if trying to break through. The illusion of shadows and hands gesture convey a sense of entrapment shared by so many across the world this past year. For his win Basu receives Sony's digital imaging kit and global exposure.


Pubarun Basu

No Escape From Reality © Pubarun Basu, India, Shortlist, Youth, Composition and Design, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

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

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO PHOTOGRAPHY :
This year's Outstanding Contribution to Photography has been awarded to the acclaimed Mexican photographic artist Graciela Iturbide. Widely recognised as Latin America's greatest living photographer, Iturbide's work offers a photographic account of Mexico since the late 1970s and is celebrated for its defining contribution to the country's visual identity. In images of everyday life and its culture alongside those of ritual and religion, Iturbide's work explores her country's many complexities and contradictions, questioning its inequalities and highlighting the tensions between the urban and rural, modern and indigenous. Her photographs go beyond straight documentary narratives and aim to provide a poetic vision of their subjects informed by the photographer's personal experiences and journey.

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