In pictures: 2021 Sony World Photography Awards


The winners of the professional category of the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards have been announced, with Craig Easton named as Photographer of the Year for his work on the representation of communities in northern England.

Image source, Craig Easton

Easton, a documentary photographer from the UK, was awarded first place in the Portraiture category for his project Bank Top.

He collaborated with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafiz to examine the representation and misrepresentation of communities in northern England, focusing on a neighbourhood in Blackburn, Lancashire.

Image source, Craig Easton

The project addresses issues of social deprivation, housing, unemployment and immigration, as well as the impact of past and present foreign policy.

Mike Trow, chairman of the 2021 Professional competition, said: "These are not people who necessarily asked to be photographed, but Craig gained their trust.

"They look frankly to camera and we see a mutual understanding between documenter and subject.

"It is the moral weight behind this work that makes it so important and deserving of this prize."

The winners of the Open, Student, and Youth competitions have also been announced, along with the overall winners in each of the Professional competition categories.

Image source, Tamary Kudita

The Open competition celebrates the power of single images and this year's winner is Tamary Kudita, from Zimbabwe, for her portrait of a young woman dressed in Victorian clothing, holding traditional Shona cooking utensils, called African Victorian.

"It pays tribute to the contemporary being who is also rooted in history," she said.

"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."

Image source, Coenraad Heinz Torlage

Coenraad Heinz Torlage, of the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography, won the student competition for his series Young Farmers.

The project explores the challenges of droughts and safety, and debates around land ownership faced by the next generation of South African farmers.

Image source, Pubarun Basu

The Youth Photographer of the Year award went to 19-year-old Pubarun Basu from India, for his image No Escape from Reality, which uses cage-like shadows behind curtains to convey a sense of entrapment.

Image source, Tomáš Vocelka

Tomáš Vocelka, of the Czech Republic, won the Architecture category for his photographs of a former military complex that has been transformed into a pet crematorium.

Image source, Mark Hamilton Gruchy

Mark Hamilton Gruchy, from the UK, is the winner in the Creative category for his series of edited Nasa and Jet Propulsion Laboratory images.

"I have repurposed, processed and composited [the images] to create a conversation about the unchanging aspect of the Moon contrasted with the Earth, which continues to be a dynamic place where change cannot be prevented," he said.

Image source, Vito Fusco

The Documentary category was won by Vito Fusco, of Italy, for his series on Kenya's pyrethrum flowers, which are used as a natural insecticide.

"During the 1980s, the pyrethrum crisis began, instigated by the chemical synthesis of pyrethroids that led to the manufacturing of cheaper but non-organic products," he said.

"The Kenyan government has decided to liberalise the production of pyrethrum, opening it to private companies in an ambitious attempt to revive the sector and help local farmers meet the growing global demand for organic products."

Image source, Simone Tramonte

Italy's Simone Tramonte came first in the Environment category with his series Net-zero Transition.

"In a few decades, [Iceland] moved away from fossil fuels to producing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.

"This small nation presents many ways in which the global climate crisis can be tackled and is leading the transition to a net-zero sustainable future."

Image source, Majid Hojjati

Silent Neighbourhoods by Majid Hojjati, of Iran, won the Landscape category.

"We have raced to eternity, knowing life is fleeting, leaving the lights on behind us as if to say that once upon a time we were alive.

"Here are the silent neighbourhoods: those places free of the presence of humanity.

"The noise of their silence can be heard everywhere - but here in these places we are condemned to hear nothing."

Image source, Laura Pannack

Laura Pannack, from the UK, triumphed in the Portfolio category, with images from a variety of personal projects.

"I believe images need to captivate and evoke emotion, and so, with every frame I shoot, I consider the elements within the frame and outside it."

Image source, Anas Alkharboutli

Anas Alkharboutli won the Sport category with a series titled Sport and Fun Instead of War and Fear.

The project documents a karate school near Aleppo, Syria, which aims to help children overcome the traumas of war.

Image source, Peter Eleveld

The Still Life winner is Peter Eleveld, from the Netherlands, for his series Still Life Composition, Shot on Wet Plate.

"For this project I used ordinary objects, like glassware, fruits and flowers and applied the wet plate collodion technique to turn them into something extraordinary."

Image source, Luis Tato

Wildlife and Nature winner Luis Tato, from Spain, photographed desert locusts for a series titled Locust Invasion in East Africa.

"Swarms of desert locusts from the Arabian Peninsula began rampaging across East Africa in early 2020, devouring crop and vegetation where they landed.

"Some areas of East Africa, such as Kenya, had not seen such severe desert locust outbreaks in more than 70 years."

All photographs courtesy 2021 Sony World Photography Awards.

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