The World Photography Organisation has revealed the finalist and shortlisted photographers in the Professional competition for the Sony World Photography Awards (now in its 14th year).

The winner of Photographer of the Year 2021 will be revealed on the 15 April. To mark the occasion a specially commissioned programme featuring the winners and hosted by art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar will be available to stream via the World Photography Organisation digital platforms on the 15 April.

Over 330,000 images from 220 territories were submitted across the 2021 Awards’ four competitions and more than 145,000 pictgures were entered into the Professional competition’s 10 categories – the highest number of entries to date. A Portfolio category was also introduced this year

Particularly eye-catching finalists include Gu Guanghui (China), whose project in the Architecture and Design category, Hymn of the Building Site, presents images of construction sites across Ninghai County, Zhejiang Province.

© Guanghui Gu

For his project, Eternal Hunting Ground, Tomáš Vocelka (Czech Republic) chose to photograph a former military complex turned pet crematorium by minimalist architect Petr Hajek.

© Tomáš Vocelka, Czech Republic

In the Creative category, Sasha Bauer (Russian Federation) used family heirlooms to create staged visual metaphors her family history through the prism of her grandfather’s tumultuous life – from growing up in an orphanage to his years of service in the Russian army.

© Sasha Bauer, Russian Federation

Moving on to Documentary, in Thatcher’s Children, Craig Easton (UK) investigates the chronic nature of poverty and the effects of successive social policies as experienced by three generations of one family in the north of England.

© Craig Easton, United Kingdom

In the Landscape category, Volcano by Fyodor Savintsev (Russian Federation) depicts the vibrant colours, diversity and otherworldly qualities of the volcanic belt in the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia.

© Fyodor Savintsev, Russian Federation

Craig Easton also got shortlisted in the Poraiture category. Bank Top, a collaboration with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafiz, examines the representation and misrepresentation of communities in northern England, specifically looking at the residents of one tight-knit neighbourhood in Blackburn.

© Craig Easton, United Kingdom

In Looking Out from Within, 2020 Julia Fullerton-Batten, also from the UK, took to the streets of West London to document her neighbours during the first lockdown.

© Julia Fullerton-Batten, United Kingdom

In the Sport category, Anas Alkharboutli (Syrian Arab Republic) documents Wasim Satot’s karate school for children in the village of Aljiina, near Aleppo, where boys and girls, aged 6 -15 years-old, with and without disabilities, come together to form a community and overcome the traumas of war.

© Anas Alkharboutli, Syrian Arab Republic

Graeme Purdy (United Kingdom) also did a great job of capturing the fierce and majestic beauty of wild animals in the Wildlife and Nature category.

© Graeme Purdy, United Kingdom

“Photographers rose up to the challenges of 2020 using the time to delve deeper into personal projects and explore the stories unfolding in their local communities,” said Mike Trow, chair of the judging panel. “Their efforts have truly paid off with shortlisted and finalists’ works presenting a noticeable step up in quality, which made the competition feel special this year.’

The overall winners in the Student, Youth, Open and Professional competition of the Sony World Photography Awards 2021 will be announced on the 15 April 2021 via the World Photography Organisation’s digital and video platforms.

For more information about winners and the full list of shortlisted entries please visit the website.

Further reading
Win big: tips for success in photography competitions

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