Following on from the recent announcement of the open competition winners in this year’s Sony World Photography Awards, the World Photography Organisation has now revealed the winners in the main competition, along with the overall Photographer of the Year. Given the changes to events this year, the winning works and finalists will all be on display in a virtual exhibition.
In another Sony World Photography Awards first, the Outstanding Contribution to Photography title was awarded to someone who isn’t a photographer. The honour was given to Gerhard Steidl, founder of the publishing house Steidl, which has produced books on everyone from Henri Cartier-Bresson to Nan Goldin, Juergen Teller to Robert Frank.
The Photographer of the Year award, and the accompanying cash prize of $25,000, was given to Pablo Albarenga from Uruguay for his body of work titled Seeds of Resistance. The series features images of landscapes threatened by mining, deforestation and agricultural exploitation alongside portraits of those attempting to protect the land, who are often at risk themselves.
“With this important award, I see two victories: first, the opportunity to tell the stories of the traditional communities of the Amazon by highlighting the people who are still fighting not only for their future, but for everyone’s. We need to look beyond the trees, the oxygen and the ‘undiscovered’ species of the rainforest,” explained Albarenga in a statement.
“Secondly, that the photographer of the year award has landed in Latin America, a continent historically told through the eyes of foreigners. I hope that many more photographers from our region will continue to contribute with our voices, thus strengthening the amazing community of Latin American storytellers”.
Other winners include UK photographer Tom Oldham, who was one of the ten winners featured in the open competition, and went on to be named the Open Photographer of the Year with his monochrome portrait of Pixies frontman Charles Thompson.
Ioanna Sakellaraki’s series Aeiforia earned her the title of Student Photographer of the Year. The Greek student, who studies at London’s Royal College of Art, used her night-time series to focus on the sustainable initiatives taken on the small Greek island of Tilos – the first in the Mediterranean to run almost entirely on renewable energy.
Elsewhere, 19-year-old Hsien-Pang Hsieh from the Taiwan region was awarded Youth Photographer of the Year with his image Hurry.
The shot is of a street performer in Germany, which Hsien-Pang took shortly after he moved there to study, and comes as a reflection on the pace of life.
The World Photography Organisation has also announced the ten winners of the various professional categories, which are listed below. These include Pablo Albarenga’s series shown above, with the other nine winners shown below.
Architecture: Sandra Herber for her series Ice Fishing Huts, Lake Winnipeg
Discovery: Maria Kokunova for her series The Cave
Documentary: Chung Ming Ko for his series Wounds of Hong Kong
Environment: Robin Hinsch for his series Wahala
Landscape: Ronny Behnert for his series Torii
Natural world and wildlife: Brent Stirton for his series Pangolins in Crisis
Portraiture: Cesar Dezfuli for his series Passengers
Sport: Ángel López Soto for his series Senegalese Wrestlers
Still life: Alessandro Gandolfi for his series Immortality, Inc
View all of the works at worldphoto.org