SonyWPA 2017 shortlist announced

28 February 2017

Competitions

The shortlisted (top 10) and commended (top 50) photographers for all categories of the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s largest photography competition, are announced today.  Photographers entered 227,596 images across the awards’ Professional, Open and Youth competitions – shining a spotlight on the medium of photography and the beauty of its art.

Produced by the World Photography Organisation, 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the awards and a decade-long partnership with its headline sponsor, Sony.

The Sony World Photography Awards’ shortlist represents the world's finest contemporary photography captured over the last year, and displays a huge diversity of extraordinary images in terms of genres, styles and subject matter. Forty-nine countries are represented on the shortlist, reinforcing the awards’ international appeal and unique ability to present the greatest images taken by photographers from all corners of the world on a truly global scale.  Photographers from a further 11 countries are seen within the commended list.

The shortlisted photographers across the Professional, Open, Youth and Student Focus competitions impressed the judges with solid narratives and strong visual language complementing the subject matters.  Within the shortlist are stunning architectural images and subtle landscapes alongside extraordinary series depicting the dominating world events of the last year.  Stand out subject matters include a touching insight into the domestic life of women in Saudi Arabia, heartfelt confessions of Chinese school children, Russian body builders preparing to flex muscle on stage and an intimate series of a private battle with a rare medical condition.

Key shortlists facts and stats

  • Strong increase in entries on 2016 from Asian and South East Asian countries including; China (90 %); Myanmar (183 %) Vietnam (108 %); Philippines (71 %); and Hong Kong (73 %).
  • Youth competition saw a 56 % increase in entries on 2016.
  • Entries to the Open competition increased   11 % on 2016.
  • Professional competition saw a 13 % increase in the number of photographers entering their work.
  • 183 countries were represented in the submissions – with the most entries coming from (in descending order): China, United Kingdom, Italy, United States, Germany, Russia, India, Spain, France and Poland.
  • 49 countries are represented on the shortlist, with the most shortlisted photographers coming from Italy (22), Germany (17), UK (15), China (14) and Russia (11)
  • Armenia, Cuba, Iceland and Saudi Arabia represented for the first time on the shortlist.

Commenting about this year's shortlist, Scott Gray, CEO, World Photography Organisation, notes: “This year, more than any other, the entries to the Sony World Photography Awards have shown great integrity and are characterized by their considered approach.  Beautiful works of photographic art, not snapshots, have been presented to the judges and I am delighted to see that our esteemed juries have chosen to reward the pure skill, artistic interpretation and thoughtfulness of the photographer, rather than simply the subject matter the photographer has captured.

The Sony World Photography Awards has celebrated photographers and photography throughout its ten-year history, we now look forward to ensuring that photography has a global platform and is recognised as the dynamic, exciting and accessible medium it is.

The Sony World Photography Awards are judged anonymously by internationally acclaimed industry professionals, carefully selected by the World Photography Organisation.

The 2017 Professional competition was judged by Zelda Cheatle (Chair of the Judges), Curator (UK); Aida Muluneh, Founder/Director, Addis Foto Fest (Ethiopia); Allegra Cordero di Montezemolo, Curator & Head of Exhibitions, Centro de la Imagen (Mexico); Denis Curti, Curator and Journalist (Italy); Russ O'Connell, Picture Editor The Sunday Times Magazine (UK) and Françoise Callier, Program Director at Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops (France). The Open and Youth competitions were chaired by Damien Demolder, Photographer and Journalist (UK), and Student Focus was judged by Andrea Kurland, Editor-in-Chief of Huck (UK); Dan Rubin, Photographer & Artistic Director (UK) and Jennifer Shaw, Founder and Creative Director, PhotoNOLA (USA).

Commenting on the Open and Youth shortlists, Damien Demolder said: “It has been a pleasure and an inspiration to be exposed to such a volume of great work, and a privilege too that I could share in the personal moments, the joys, tears, life and losses of photographers from all around the globe who recorded their experiences through their pictures. The Youth competition was a special delight to judge and I was touched on many occasions by the openness and fearless expression of the entries.”

Student Focus judge Andrea Kurland adds: "This year's shortlist helps cement why awards like these are more important than ever. The work submitted was original, thoughtful and brave - a healthy reminder that talent will always win out and rise above the noise."

The shortlisted photographers now compete for the latest Sony digital imaging equipment and inclusion in the 2017 awards’ book plus cash prizes of $25,000 (USD) for the Photographer of the Year, $5,000 (USD) for the overall Open winner and €30,000 (Euros) of equipment for the university of the Student Focus winner.  All winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on April 20, 2017.

The winning, shortlisted and commended images will all be exhibited as part of the Sony World Photography Awards & Martin Parr - 2017 Exhibition at Somerset House, London. The large-scale exhibition will open April 21 and will feature rarely seen work by Martin Parr, recipient of the awards’ Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize. 

The winning, shortlisted and commended images will be exhibited at the Sony World Photography Awards & Martin Parr - 2017 Exhibition at Somerset House, London, until May 7 and will then go on a worldwide tour. Take advantage of 20% discount. Enter promo code SHORTLIST20 at checkout. Book tickets today! 

Image:  © Fanjing Lu, China, Shortlist, Open, Travel, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards