UK photographer wins SWPA 2017 Professional Natural World category

21 April 2017

Exhibitions, Competitions

The World Photography Oragnisation has announced British photographer Will Burrard-Lucas as the winner of the Professional Natural World category of the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards, the world's largest photography competition. Judges were challenged to find the best photo series across 10 Professional categories by photographers from around the world. 

A second British photographer, Kurt Tong, was awarded 2nd place in the Professional Landscape category.

The 2017 Sony World Photography Awards received over 227,000 entries from 183 countries.  Burrard-Lucas and Tong's success was revealed at an awards ceremony in London attended by international industry experts alongside the winners of all the Awards’ categories. Burrard-Lucas attended the award ceremony and collected his prize of Sony digital imaging equipment. The winning series "African Wildlife at Night" is currently on show at Somerset House, London as part of the Sony World Photography Awards & Martin Parr – 2017 Exhibition and has been published in the annual Sony World Photography Awards winners' book.

Judge Russ O’Connell, Picture Editor, The Sunday Times Magazine (UK) said of Burrard-Lucas winning series: "The series is based on wildlife in Africa at night and shows that the world and the act of survival continues after the sun goes down. Technically the way the photographer has used the moonlight to silhouette some of the animals is very clever. Some of the images are virtually completely black; then you got singular outline of light illuminating one side of the animals giving an almost ghostly appearance."

Burrard-Lucas is a professional wildlife photographer best known for creating innovative devices that allow him to gain unique perspectives. Through his work, Will hopes to inspire greater appreciation for the animals that share our planet and encourage conservation action. Will regularly works with top conservation organizations to produce compelling images for use in their fundraising and marketing materials.

"African Wildlife at Night"

Talking about the story behind the series, Will comments: "My aim was to capture never-before-seen images of African wildlife at night and to show nocturnal animals such as lions and hyenas in their true element.  The techniques I employed were only made possible by the low-light ability of modern-day digital cameras and by using remote-control devices such as my "BeetleCam". BeetleCam is a remote-control buggy for my camera which I created to take close-up ground-level photographs of African Wildlife.  All of these images were taken in Liuwa Plain National Park, a remote area in the  West of Zambia."

© Kurt TongKurt Tong, 2nd place Professional Landscape category

Originally from Hong Kong, Kurt Tong (b. 1977) is based between Hong Kong and the UK, and was awarded 2nd place in the Professional Landscape category for his stunning series "Sweet Water Bitter Earth".

Describing the story behind his series, Tong comments: "Chinese people outside of China often struggle with their Chinese identity, with many having an idealized image of what the motherland is like, whether it’s from stories told by our relatives or from the romanticized views of the movies. The reality is often very different, especially given the accelerated speed at which China is changing. It is often this failure to meet our expectations and the vast, often unexpected difference in cultures that alienate us from feeling comfortable and secure with our roots." He continues: "After trying to photograph my ancestral town, I realized how few connections I have with the place, emotionally or physically. I realized that my own vision of China was also shaped by TV shows of my childhood and more recently, photographic projects made in China. I went further into China in search of my own preconceived image of China."

Sony World Photography Awards & Martin Parr – 2017 Exhibition

Burrard-Lucas and Tong’s winning series, alongside the winning and shortlisted work across all competitions; Professional, Open, Youth, Student Focus and National Awards will be exhibited at the Sony World Photography Awards & Martin Parr – 2017 Exhibition at Somerset House, London 21 April - 7 May.   The large-scale exhibition will also feature rarely seen work by Martin Parr, recipient of the awards’ Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize. After London, the exhibition will be toured worldwide.

Images: © Will Burrard-Lucas, United Kingdom, 1st Place, Professional, Natural World, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards; © Kurt Tong, United Kingdom, 2nd Place, Professional, Landscape, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards