The 2016 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s biggest photography competition, organised by the World Photography Organisation, has announced the shortlists for its Professional, Open and Youth competitions.
This year’s shortlist is defined by its sheer internationality, with more than 270 photographers from nearly 60 countries being represented, the most in the awards’ nine-year history. Also significant was the substantial growth in the Professional competition, with entries up 45 per cent on 2015.
A record-breaking 230,103 images were entered into the Professional, Open and Youth competitions from 186 countries. The total number of entries received by the Sony World Photography Awards since its launch has now surpassed 1 million images, reinforcing the awards’ position as one of the most respected and influential photography competitions in the world.
Recognising the best contemporary photography from 2015, the Honorary Jury, chaired by Dominque Green (Consultant, UK) and Sue Steward (Writer/ Curator, UK), have identified exceptional work by both emerging talent and seasoned photographers from all corners of the world. “I was moved by the depth of passion and commitment the photographers show to society through their work,” said Dominique Green.
Originality and a strong sense of empathy stood out for the judges across the shortlist. From the thousands of submissions, subtle themes also appeared for the judges – the delicate handling of intimate, private moments by photographers; the capturing of the major public stories dominating the news, from the conflict in the Ukraine to the endless lines of refuges in search of a better life in Europe; and the use of new technology to create work, including drone and underwater photography.
“We are extremely pleased with our jurors’ choices this year,” said Scott Gray, CEO of the World Photography Organisation and organiser of the awards. “Despite the increase in the number of photographers, and the amount of imagery that required judging, this year above all others we have witnessed a wealth of powerful imagery in the traditionally strong social documentary categories as well as the art and conceptual work. It is wonderful for the medium that it can offer such rich diversity.”
Included on the 2016 shortlist are those familiar to the awards: Christian Aslund (Sweden, winner 2013); Ed Kashi (United States, shortlist, 2013); David Chancellor (United Kingdom, shortlist 2011 and 2nd place 2012); Espen Rasmussen (Norway, shortlist 2010 and 2011); Jonathan Carvajal (Colombia, shortlist, 2015); Julia Fullerton-Batten (United Kingdom, shortlisted 2015); Ruben Salgado Escudero (Spain, winner 2015) and Fan Li (China, winner 2015).