We've seen the professional photographers in the running for this year's Sony World Photography Awards, today the annual event has revealed the winners and shortlist for its Open competition.
This is where the World Photography Organisation celebrates and recognises the best single images from 2019. And for 2020, there are more than 100 photographers shortlisted alongside ten category winners. Each winner receives the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony to "develop their vision" and will go on to compete for the prestigious Open Photographer of the Year title and a $5,000 reward. The overall Open winner will be announced on 9 June.
Who are the category winners for 2020? For Architecture, Rosaria Sabrina Pantano of Italy wins for Emotional Geography, a black and white image featuring 38° Parallelo, a pyramid-shaped sculpture by Mauro Staccioli which stands at the exact point where the geographical coordinates touch the 38th parallel.
Under Creative, Chinese photographer Suxing Zhang's Knot is the award-winning portrait of a young woman with a collage of symbolic elements; part of the series Hua (meaning flower in Chinese) which looks at flowers as metaphors of femininity.
For Culture, Antoine Veling of Australia wins for Mark 5:28, a photograph capturing the moment when members of the audience were invited on stage to dance at an Iggy Pop concert in the Sydney Opera House on 17 April 2019. Depicting Iggy Pop in a crowd of dancing fans, the image focuses on the singer, a woman reaching to touch him and a stage assistant struggling to keep people at bay. The scene, which was likened to a Caravaggio painting, conjures a biblical passage: Because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed." (Mark 5:25-34, line 28).
Craig McGowan, also of Australia won the top prize for Landscape for Ice Reflections, an image of a solitary iceberg, set against the fjord walls in Northeast Greenland National Park. The iceberg and surrounding landscape are perfectly mirrored in the clear waters of the river resulting in a painterly and abstract photograph.
This year's Motion winner is the UK's Alec Connah for Going Down!, a record of the moment the four cooling towers of Ironbridge Power Station in Shropshire were demolished on 6 December 2019.
Under Natural World & Wildlife, Guofei Li of China was recognised for Tai Chi Diagram, taken in Botswana. The picture features two cheetahs licking each other clean following a successful hunt – their position in the frame resembles the shape of a Yin and Yang symbol.
Portraiture saw Tom Oldham from the UK scoop the prize for Black Francis, a black and white portrait, initially taken for MOJO Magazine, of Pixies frontman Charles Thompson (aka Black Francis). When approaching the assignment, Oldham, an experienced portrait photographer, was painfully aware of the many photoshoots his sitter has been the subject of and asked him to acknowledge his frustration with the process. The resulting image, picturing the singer digging his hands into his face, offered the perfect gesture and ran as the lead image for the article.
For Still Life, Argentinian Jorge Reynal was recognised for A Plastic Ocean, a photograph of a dead fish seemingly struggling for breath in a plastic bag. The image aims to highlight the plastic pollution crisis impacting our oceans.
Santiago Mesa of Colombia won the Street Photography category for Colombia Resiste: the photograph documents a protester in the city of Medellin where workers and street vendors were taking part in a march when the Medellin riot squad dispersed them. This demonstration is one of many that have broken out across Latin America in recent years for reasons including the rising cost of living, inequality and lack of opportunity.
And for Travel, Adrian Guerin from Australia won for Riding a Saharan Freight Train, an image taken from the top of the rear carriage of the iron-ore train in Mauritania as it was making its 700km long journey from the coastal town of Nouadhibou to the Saharan wilderness of Zouérat. Stretching 2.5km in length, it's one of the longest trains in the world transporting more than 200 carriages loaded with rocks.
Standout images from this year's shortlist include Pinball Pier by UK photographer Stephen Tomlinson, a bird's-eye view of Brighton Pier lit up at dusk. There's Metamorphosis by Stanislav Stankovskiy of Russia, a cinematic image of car lights illuminating the darkness on a foggy night. And Rivers by Or Adar from Israel, a look from above at the network of rivers and creeks in a swamp area near Venice, Italy.
Another highlight is That's Nothing to Laugh About by Adam Stevenson of Australia, a photograph of a lone kookaburra perched on a burnt tree branch surveying the damage left in the wake of one of the many devastating bushfires that gripped Australia. Also, Mother Love by Ottavio Marino from Italy, a poignant illustration of the deep bonds that exist between a mother and her child.
Winning and shortlisted images will be celebrated across the World Photography Organisation's online channels and platforms using dedicated content including videos, presentations and Q&As. This follows the cancellation of the Sony World Photography Awards 2020 exhibition due to the current pandemic.
In response to recent events, the World Photography Organisation has also launched the Stay Connected page, featuring a varied programme of online initiatives, activities and resources which aims to support and inspire audiences and photographers recognised at this year's awards.