'African Victorian' by Tamary Kudita
From fine art to travel, the 10 winners of the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards Open competition explore a whole world of photography. They are led by a photographer whose startling winning image turns preconceptions about Black African culture on their head.
OPEN PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR / WINNER, CREATIVE
Tamary Kudita (Zimbabwe)
The first African to win the coveted title Open Photographer of the Year, Tamary Kudita is influenced by her dual heritage. She was born in Zimbabwe and has ancestral roots in Orange Free State, the historical Boer state of South Africa.
Her winning single image, ‘African Victorian’, is a portrait of a young black woman in period dress and holding traditional shona cooking utensils. The photograph challenges stereotypical depictions of the black female body and explores alternative representations of African identity.
“’African Victorian’ pays tribute to the contemporary being who is also rooted in history,” said Kudita. “This award is a testament to the role we play as creators in shaping visual culture. A central notion in my work is the importance of African representation and I am thankful to have received the opportunity to put Zimbabwean art on the map.”
Born in 1994, Kudita graduated in 2017 with a degree in fine art from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. A year later she staged her first solo exhibition, exploring post-colonial identity, at Cape Town’s PH Centre Gallery. She has also exhibited with the Ki Smith Gallery in New York, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and the National Gallery of Bulawayo.
More than 100 photographers were shortlisted in the 2021 Open competition, with 10 winners including Kudita, who was recognised in the Creative category. Discover the single winning images from the other categories including Architecture, Travel, and Natural World and Wildlife.
Klaus Lenzen (Germany)
‘The blue window’ shows a ramp of stairs at the Hyatt Hotel in Düsseldorf ascending towards a window from which a view of clear blue skies is reflected. Seemingly floating in space, the stairs and window are framed in dark shadows that highlight the design while adding an element of surrealism.
Juan López Ruiz (Spain)
‘Electric storm on lavender’ captures the moment that lighting strikes a flowering field of the Mediterranean shrub, with a solitary tree at its centre, set against a dusky evening sky. The image was taken in the province of Guadalajara, Spain.
Mariano Belmar Torrecilla (Spain)
‘Dias de playa’ is a softly focused picture of two women enjoying a morning walk on the beach in Alicante, Spain.
Marijo Maduna (Croatia)
‘Girl power’ records the moment a woman dives off a cliff on the island of Lokrum near Dubrovnik, Croatia, while her friends stand by and watch.
WINNER, NATURAL WORLD AND WILDLIFE
Cristo Pihlamäe (Estonia)
‘Little kiss’ depicts a hare looking out into the field with its tongue sticking out to comic effect.
Kata Zih (Hungary)
‘Memento’ shows a tailor’s mannequin in an empty room. For photographer Kata Zih, the stillness of the scene evokes a feeling of solitude and stirs up memories of lockdown.
Lyudmila Sabanina (Russian Federation)
‘Son’ features a young child sitting on a table while gazing into space, lost in contemplation. The photograph shows another side to childhood, one of calmness and reflection.
Khanh Phan (Vietnam)
‘Drying fish’ shows a lone woman surrounded by hundreds of trays of drying fish in the Long Hai fish market in Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Vietnam. Taken from above, the pattern of the fish in trays resembles a large piece of fabric with the woman seemingly weaving it all together.
WINNER, STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
F Dilek Uyar (Turkey)
‘Disinfection’ is a cinematic image documenting an employee of the Health Affairs unit of Ankara Municipality in protective gear spraying a train platform with disinfectant.
Discover a gallery of winners from the Professional competition of the Sony World Photography Awards in the May/June 2021 issue of the RPS Journal.
The RPS Journal is available exclusively to members. Join us to receive our award-winning magazine and read more inspiring features. Explore full member benefits here