2018 Sony World Photography Awards Announced

The overall winners of the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards announced

2018 Sony World Photography Awards Announced

The overall winners of the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards, including those from the Professional, Open, Student and Youth competitions, were announced at a prestigious award ceremony in central London.

The images will now go on display at the 2018 Exhibition, at Somerset House, London, until 6th May 2018. Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the Sony World Photography Awards is the world’s most diverse photography competition. The 11th edition saw a record breaking 320,000 submissions by photographers from more than 200 countries and territories, presenting some of the world’s finest contemporary photography captured over the past year. The Awards' annual London exhibition brings together the best established and emerging talent from around the world, providing winning and shortlisted photographers the opportunity to showcase their work on an international stage.


Photographer of the Year - Alys Tomlinson, UK

The coveted Photographer of the Year title was presented to British artist, Alys Tomlinson, for her series 'Ex-Voto', winning her the $25,000 (USD) prize fund. The work was praised by the jury for its beautiful production, technical excellence and sensitive illustration of pilgrimage as a journey of discovery and sacrifice to a greater power.

Upon winning the title, Tomlinson said “I am very surprised to have won, there is so much amazing photography in this competition. This is a huge boost both personally and professionally. It’s a project I invested so much in, so this recognition makes it all worth it.”

Tomlinson was selected from the 10 category winners of the Professional competition who were announced today alongside those in 2nd and 3rd place in each Professional category. The winning work encompasses formal portraiture, large format landscape and small, detailed still-life images of the ‘ex-votos’ (offerings of religious devotion) found at pilgrimage sites of Lourdes (France), Ballyvourney (Ireland) and Grabarka (Poland).


© Alys Tomlinson, United Kingdom, Photographer of the Year, Professional, Discovery, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards

A handwritten note neatly folded and hidden in the crevice of a rock, crosses etched onto stone, ribbon carefully wrapped around piles of twigs. These are all offerings of religious devotion, known as ‘Ex-Votos’ and found at Christian pilgrimage sites worldwide. Often placed anonymously and hidden from view, pilgrims leave ex-votos as expressions of hope and gratitude, creating a tangible narrative between faith, person and the landscape. Taken at the pilgrimage sites of Lourdes (France), Ballyvourney (Ireland) and Grabarka (Poland), the project encompasses formal portraiture, large format landscape and small, detailed still-lifes of the objects and markers left behind. Shot on 5x4, large format film, the images evoke a distinct stillness and reflect the mysterious, timeless quality present at these sites of great spiritual contemplation. People and landscape merge as place, memory and history entwine. NB all images untitled and taken in 2016/2017


Open Photographer of the Year - Veselin Atanasov, Bulgaria

Bulgarian photographer, Veselin Atanasov, was selected from 10 category winners as the best single image in the world in the Open competition. Atanasov is recognised for his image 'Early Autumn' and receives the $5,000 (USD) prize. An IT specialist, Atanasov is a self-taught photographer who began shooting in 2014. The winning photograph captures autumn in the Central Balkan National Park.


© Veselin Atanasov, Bulgaria, Open Photographer of the Year, Open, Landscape & Nature (2018 Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards

The autumn has begun to decorate with its colors the woods of the Balkans. National Park - Central Balkan, Bulgaria.


Youth Photographer of the Year - Megan Johnson, USA, Age 16

Megan Johnson, aged 16 and from the USA, was announced as the Youth Photographer of the Year, for her image 'Still'. Shot on the cliffs near her house in Connecticut, the black and white image captures the complex and intricate solitude the photographer faces in everyday life.

© Megan Johnson, United States of America, Youth Photographer of the Year, Youth, Your Environment (2018 Youth competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards

This image was shot on October 22, 2017 on the cliffs right near my house. It was taken on an iPhone 7 for the following: life, to me, has more detail in black and white. This image represents my current state at home and school. Despite having a social group and a caring family, I often find myself alone, left to watch what goes on around me, all the while being caught up in the very center of it. This glimpse through the trees of the figure on the cliff represents the courage it takes to be one’s self in today’s society, and how even when you’re on the inside, you can be pushed out.


Student Photographer of the Year - Samuel Bolduc, Canada

The Student Photographer of the Year was revealed as Samuel Bolduc, from Canada, age 20. Bolduc was chosen by the judges from students worldwide for his photographic series 'The Burden'. He represented College de Matane, Quebec and has won €30,000 (Euros) worth of Sony photography equipment for the institution.

© Samuel Bolduc, Canada, Student Photographer of the Year, Student Focus, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards

My photographic series for this second brief are staged poetic photographs illustrating people bearing the burden of plastic wastes in the environnement. With these images, I want to show the actions we have to take regardless if pollution continues at this speed or not. Through commitment of my characters, I also want to evoke the hope of changes about the accumulation of plastic wastes in the environnement. The vast winterly territories reveal the contrast between their magnitude and the small place humankind has. My creative process was guided by the three guidelines of AIR strategy: Avoid by the awareness of what should be done to counter this pollution, Intercept by the involvement of human in a realistic and durable solution and Redesign by the characters' collaboration in the production of the staged photographs. These images were created in the Lower Saint-Lawrence region in Quebec, Canada, in February 2018. The characters represented in the photographs are friends, acquaintances and people from the recycling milieu who agreed to collaborate to this project. At each encounter, I explained the issues of the project and the impacts plastic wastes have on the environment.


All winning, shortlisted and commended images can be seen at the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London from April 20 - May 6.


Sony World Photography Awards

The objective of the Sony World Photography Awards is to establish a platform for the continuous development of photographic culture. The Awards do this by recognizing great advancements in photography through the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize as well as finding and promoting new talents of the future, whether this be in the Professional, Open, Youth or Student Focus competitions.  Sony is committed to supporting global photography. This is demonstrated not only via the Awards, but also by its significant grant program which offers selected winners of the student competition $3,500 (USD) and professional competition $7,000 (USD) to develop personal projects.

The 2019 Sony World Photography Awards opens for entries 1 June, 2018.