Photographers are invited to enter the inaugural World Photography Awards, a competition which will award a $25,000 top prize to the best professional.

Photographers are invited to enter the inaugural World Photography Awards, a competition which will award a $25,000 top prize to the best professional.

Backed by Sony the contest is expected to attract well known and ?undiscovered? photographers alike.

There is a separate category for amateur photographers, the winner of which will be invited to the black-tie awards ceremony to be held at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France on 24 April 2008.

?Providing an unprecedented international platform in the world of photography, the aim of the World Photography Awards is to unearth the images of the future while paying tribute to visions of the past,? said organisers at a press conference in central London this morning.

The awards are backed by galleries, curators, picture editors and renowned photographers such as Tom Stoddart who will help judge the best entries and form part of the World Photography Academy. Stoddart said: ?The awards will showcase the very best imagery from around the world and will undoubtedly inspire and excite anyone who is passionate about photography.?

Academy members also include Amateur Photographer Editor Damien Demolder.

Elliott Erwitt, Terry O?Neill and Martin Parr are among the high-profile photographers supporting the project.

There are eight categories for amateurs: Abstract, architecture, fashion, music, nature, portraiture, science and sport.

Amateurs can enter up to three images in each category. These can be entered online via the awards website at www.worldphotographyawards.org

The winner of the amateur section, plus a guest, will stay in a five-star hotel in Cannes and receive VIP tickets to the awards ceremony.

An exhibition of finalists’ work will be held at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes from 21-25 April.

The contest is due to close in ?mid-January? 2008.

For full details visit www.worldphotographyawards.org