Each year, Sony hosts the World Photography Awards but this year the event was held virtually. The overall winners in the Sony World Photography Awards 2021 were announced this week without the fanfare and audience the prestigious occasion deserved.
The Photographer of the Year title and accompanying $25,000 (€20,000) cash prize and a range of Sony’s digital imaging kit is awarded to the esteemed documentarian Craig Easton (UK) for his series Bank Top. Also announced are the 10 category winners alongside 2nd and 3rd place of the Professional competition as well as overall winners of the Open, Student and Youth competitions.
Unfortunately, there were no Irish winners in any of the categories but it’s fair to say the standard and diversity is outstanding.
Winners are revealed in a celebratory announcement video hosted by CEO of the World Photography Organisation Scott Gray and TV and radio presenter and author Konnie Huq. The video features interviews, behind-the-scenes clips and reactions from winning photographers and is available to view here
Also unveiled today is a virtual exhibition of winning and finalists’ work; A Year in Photos from the Sony World Photography Awards 2021, a specially commissioned documentary feature hosted by art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar; and a free digital copy of the Sony World Photography 2021 book all available to view and download.
Bank Top, a collaboration with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafiz, examines the representation and misrepresentation of communities in northern England, focusing on the tight-knit neighbourhood of Bank Top in Blackburn.
The project forms part of Easton’s wider work in the region including Thatcher’s Children (2nd place, Documentary Projects, 2021 Professional competition), an investigation into the chronic nature of poverty as experienced by three generations of one family; and Sixteen (shortlisted in the Portraiture category of the 2017 Awards), a look into the dreams, aspirations and fears of 16 year-olds from all walks of life.
Commenting on his win, Easton said: “I am delighted to have this work recognised by the Sony World Photography Awards. I photograph to learn, to try to understand and to document and share stories. It is a privilege to be able to do so and to challenge perceptions and stereotypes — something that is especially important to me. To have these stories from underrepresented or misrepresented communities in northern England where I live recognised and shared worldwide is wonderful. Thank you.”
Winning photographers in the Professional competition have been selected by a panel of expert judges for submitting an outstanding body of work of five to ten images, ranging from stories of local importance to issues of global significance, quiet moments of resilience to creative brilliance and playfulness. All category winners receive Sony’s digital imaging kit. This year’s winners are:
- WINNER: Tomáš Vocelka (Czech Republic) for his series Eternal Hunting Grounds
- Finalists: 2nd place Frank Machalowski (Germany); 3rd place Gu Guanghui (China Mainland)
- WINNER: Mark Hamilton Gruchy (United Kingdom) for his series The Moon Revisited
- Finalists: 2nd place Luigi Bussolati (Italy); 3rd place Sasha Bauer (Russian Federation)
- WINNER: Vito Fusco (Italy) for his series The Killing Daisy
- Finalists: 2nd place Craig Easton (United Kingdom); 3rd place Lorenzo Tugnoli (Italy)
- WINNER: Simone Tramonte (Italy) for his series Net-zero Transition
- Finalists: 2nd place Mohammad Madadi (Islamic Republic of Iran); 3rd place Antonio Pérez (Spain)
- WINNER: Majid Hojjati (Islamic Republic of Iran) for his series Silent Neighborhoods
- Finalists: 2nd place Andrea Ferro (Italy); 3rd place Fyodor Savintsev (Russian Federation)
- WINNER: Laura Pannack (United Kingdom) for her submission Portfolio Overview
- Finalists: 2nd place Brais Lorenzo (Spain); 3rd place Loli Laboureau (Argentina)
- WINNER: Craig Easton (United Kingdom) for his series Bank Top
- Finalists: 2nd place Julia Fullerton-Batten (United Kingdom); 3rd place Jane Hilton (United Kingdom)
- WINNER: Anas Alkharboutli (Syrian Arab Republic) for his series Sport and Fun Instead of War and Fear
- Finalists: 2nd place Patrick Meinhardt (Spain); 3rd place Farzam Saleh (Islamic Republic Of Iran)
- WINNER: Peter Eleveld (Netherlands) for his series Still Life Composition, Shot on Wet Plate
- Finalists: 2nd place Alessandro Pollio (Italy); 3rd place Paloma Rincon (Spain)
- WINNER: Luis Tato (Spain) for his series Locust Invasion in East Africa
- Finalists: 2nd place Graeme Purdy (United Kingdom); 3rd place Angel Fitor (Spain)
To find out more about this year’s winning and finalist projects, visit World photo galleries