After a record-breaking number of entries, the shortlist has been announced for this year's Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s biggest and most respected photography competition.
The shortlist for the Professional, Open and Youth categories is defined by its sheer internationality, with over 270 photographers from nearly 60 countries being represented, the most in the awards’ nine-year history.
Recognising the best contemporary photography from 2015, the Honorary Jury, chaired by Dominque Green and Sue Steward, have identified exceptional work by both emerging talent and seasoned photographers. Originality and a strong sense of empathy stood out for the judges across the shortlist. From the thousands of submissions, subtle themes also appeared – the delicate handling of intimate, private moments by photographers; the capturing of the major public stories dominating the news, from the conflict in the Ukraine to the endless lines of refuges in search of a better life in Europe; and the use of new technology to create work, including drone and underwater photography.
Included on the 2016 shortlist are those familiar to the awards: Christian Aslund (Sweden, winner 2013); Ed Kashi (United States, shortlist, 2013); David Chancellor (United Kingdom, shortlist 2011 and 2nd place 2012); Espen Rasmussen (Norway, shortlist 2010 and 2011); Jonathan Carvajal (Colombia, shortlist, 2015); Julia Fullerton-Batten (United Kingdom, shortlisted 2015); Ruben Salgado Escudero (Spain, winner 2015) and Fan Li (China, winner 2015).
All shortlisted photographers across the three competitions are available to view online. We're also happy to share a few highlights on Creative Boom.
Scott Gray, CEO of the World Photography Organisation and organiser of the awards comments: “We are extremely pleased with our jurors’ choices this year. Despite the increase in the number of photographers, and the amount of imagery that required judging, this year above all others we have witnessed a wealth of powerful imagery in the traditionally strong social documentary categories as well as the art and conceptual work. It is wonderful for the medium that it can offer such rich diversity."
Those in the awards’ Professional categories will now compete for a $25,000 prize and the L’Iris d’Or/ Photographer of the Year title. The recipient, along with the winners of the Professional categories, overall Youth and Student winners plus the Open Photographer of the Year, who receives a $5,000 prize, will all be announced at the Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony in London Thursday 21 April 2016.
The winning and shortlisted images will go on show at Somerset House, London from 22 April – 8 May and published in the 2016 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards book. To book your exhibition ticket, please visit: worldphoto.org/2016exhibition.
Main image: Too Much Practice - Khairel Anuar Che Ani: Bali during Melasti Festival. (Open Split-Second)
About The Author - Katy Cowan
A writer, journalist and co-founder of communications consultancy, Boomerang, Katy is Founding Editor of Creative Boom. She launched the site in 2009 to support others, as well as indulge her passion for creativity. She loves to champion emerging talent and share advice on entrepreneurship. Follow her @katylcowan.