The professional and overall category winners for the Sony World Photography Awards were announced last night, with Sara Naomi Lewkowicz from New York winning the L’Iris d’Or Photographer of the Year Award, for her series Shane and Maggie. Other prizes went to Mary Ellen Mark, who was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award, along with the Professional category winners, and overall winners for the Open, Student Focus, Youth, and Books categories.
The judges voted unanimously for Lewkowicz’s series which examines domestic violence as a process and patterns of developing abuse, along with the short and long-term effects on victims, their families and their abusers. Jury chair, W.M. Hunt described the work as, “vibrating colour, crackling, dramatic and full of impact, intimate and unsettlingly provocative.”
Talking about the series, Lewkowicz describes how her instincts as a photojournalist compelled her to “stay with the story and document it in all of its ugly truth”.
“I had been photographing a couple, Shane and Maggie, since September. I had originally intended the story to focus on the difficulties felons face once being released from incarceration,” says Lewkowicz. “The story changed dramatically when one night, Shane and Maggie got into a fight. Shane began to physically abuse Maggie, slamming her up against walls and choking her in front of her two-year-old daughter, Memphis. He had possession of our cellular phones, so I reached into his pocket and steal my phone back when he was distracted. I handed my phone to another adult who was in the house,and instructed them to call the police. I then continued to document the abuse.”
The professional category winners are as follows…
Architecture – Ludovic Maillard (France), for his Typology of Concrete series, shot in Paris.
Arts and Culture – Viviana Peretti (Italy), for her series Dancing Like a Woman, shot during the Bambuco Gay Pageant.
Campaign – Spencer Murphy (UK), for his series of portraits showing jockeys post race (commissioned by 4Creative).
Conceptual – Thomas Brummett (US) for Light and Projections, a series of silver gelatin prints, film-less and camera-less, created by light being projected through an optical lens onto silver black and white photo paper, and then developed in the darkroom using a variety of re-development techniques to bring out certain varied aspects of the print grain.
Contemporary Issues – Sara Naomi Lewkowicz (US) (images as above for Shane and Maggie series).
Current Affairs – Guy Martin (UK), for his series #Gezi Park, shot last year during civil unrest in Istanbul.
Landscape – Roei Greenberg (Israel), for Israeli Landscape 2013, examining the relationship between natural and man-made worlds, in a place that has been dramatically changed through conflict.
Lifestyle – Myriam Meloni (Italy), for Behind the Absence, shot in the Rebublic of Moldovia, the poorest country in Eastern Europe, where 100,000 children are growing up without their parents who often go to work abroad.
Nature & Wildlife – Michael Nichols (US) for his series The Short Happy Life of a Serengeti Lion.
People – Mario Wezel (Germany), for One in Eight Hundred, following five-year-old Emmy who was born with Down’s syndrome in Denmark, and her family.
Portraiture – Sophie Gamand (France), for her Wet Dog portrait series.
Sport – Salvatore Di Gregorio (Italy), for Red Kushti: An Old Fight, a series capturing the traditional red clay wrestling in India, Pakistan and Iran.
Still Life – Amanda Harman (UK), for her series Garden Stories, Hidden Labours.
Travel – Ricardo Teles (Brazil), for his Roads of Grains series, exploring food production in Brazil.
The Student Focus Photographer of the Year award went to Scarlett Evans (UK), for her series A Childhood in England, in response to a brief entitled Self-portraits, set for the ten finalists.
Chen Li (China) was announced as the Open Photographer of the Year, for the image Rain in an Ancient Town.
Paulina Metzscher (Germany) won Youth Photographer of the Year, for her image of a young girl on a night train in China.
The 2014 Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards were won by two titles. Sergio Larrain: Vagabond Photographer by Agnès Sire and Gonzalo Leiva Quijada won the Best Photography Book Award. And Charles Urban: Pioneering the Non-Fiction Film in Britain and America, 1897 – 1925 by Luke McKernan won Best Moving Image Book Award.
American photographer Mary Ellen Mark was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award, in recognition of her achievements in the field of documentary photography, for a vast body of work that often captures aspects of humanity on the edges of society, from Indian circuses, to brothels in Bombay, to runaway children in Seattle.
Read more about the other winners for the Sony World Photography Awards on the CR blog here. A full list of the winners and runners up can be seen at www.worldphoto.org, including all second and third prize-winners for the Professional Awards. An exhibition of the winning work runs from 1-18 May at Somerset House in London. www.somersethouse.org.uk