This week several members of the AP team descended upon the capital to attend the grand 2017 Sony World Photography Awards to celebrate some of the world’s finest photography. The event was held over two days and kicked off with the surprise launch of the high-speed, high-end Sony Alpha 9 and the FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS lens, the longest-reaching E-mount lens available so far for its Alpha series cameras. The press and winners also attended a talk with Martin Parr, who was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize, got a first look at this year’s exhibition held at Somerset House, which was followed by a posh awards ceremony to finish off the celebrations.
Now in its tenth year, the Sony World Photography Awards is the largest of its kind with over 227,000 entries from 183 countries. Each year the awards recognise and reward the finest contemporary photography from the last year. Free to enter and open to all photographers, the awards are an authoritative voice in the photographic industry that has the power to shape the careers of its winning and shortlisted photographers. The grand prize winners of the 2017 competition were flown to the London awards ceremony and received the latest Sony digital imaging equipment as their prize.
Belgian photographer Frederik Buyckx scooped the top prize, winning the Sony World Photography Awards’ 2017 Photographer of the Year. The judges were taken aback by the beauty, scale and effort involved in Buyckx’s winning work titled “Whiteout”. Buyckx was presented the $25,000 (USD) prize at the awards ceremony, attended by international industry experts. At the same ceremony, the category winners of the Professional competition were announced, along with the overall winners of the Open, Youth and Student competitions.
An exhibition of all the winning and shortlisted work, along with rarely seen images by British photographer Martin Parr, recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize, will run at Somerset House, London from 21 April – 7 May.
The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the winning and selected shortlisted works, available to buy from www.worldphoto.org
PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR – FREDERIK BUYCKX, BELGIUM
Born in Antwerp in 1984, Frederik Buyckx is a freelance photographer for the Belgian newspaper De Standaard. Buyckx’s images have been published and exhibited internationally and most recently he was shortlisted for the ZEISS Photography Award.
The winning series “Whiteout” was taken in the Balkans, Scandinavia and Central Asia, remote areas where people often live in isolation and in close contact with nature. Buyckx explains: “There is a peculiar transformation of nature when winter comes, when snow and ice start to dominate the landscape and when humans and animals have to deal with the extreme weather. The series investigates this struggle against disappearance.
Chosen from the winners of the Awards’ ten Professional categories, Chair of Judges Zelda Cheatle says of Frederik Buyckx’s photographs: “I have chosen a series of landscapes so that we may return to the essence of looking at photography. Landscape is often overlooked but it is central to our existence. These are beautiful pictures made by a serious photographer, and they are to be enjoyed. I hope this award will inspire many more photographers to take pictures that do not simply encompass the terrible aspects of life in these troubled times but also capture some of the joys and loveliness in each and every environment.”
PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY WINNERS
An expert panel of international judges were challenged to find the best bodies of work (between 5-10 images) across the ten Professional categories. The category winners are:
Architecture – Dongni (China)
Conceptual – Sabine Cattaneo (Switerland)
Contemporary Issues – Tasneem Alsultan (Saudi Arabia)
Current Affairs & News – Alessio Romenzi (Italy)
Daily Life – Sandra Hoyn (Germany)
Landscape – Frederik Buyckx (Belgium)
Natural World – Will Burrard-Lucas (UK)
Portraiture – George Mayer (Russia)
Sport – Yuan Peng (China)
Still Life – Henry Agudelo (Colombia)
OPEN PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR – ALEXANDER VINOGRADOV, RUSSIAN FEDERATION
“Mathilda” by Russian photographer Alexander Vinogradov was selected as the best single photograph in the world and awarded the photographer $5,000 (USD) along with the Open Photographer of the Year title.
YOUTH PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR – KATELYN WANG, US
Open to those aged 12-19, the Youth competition was won by 16 year old student Katelyn Wang from Los Angeles, California. Wang’s winning photograph “On Top of the World” was taken while standing above Lake Pehoé in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, and beautifully captures the landscape beneath her.
STUDENT PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR – MICHELLE DAIANA GENTILE, ARGENTINA
Michelle Daiana Gentile, aged 21, of Escuela de Fotografía Motivarte, won with a stunning series called “Only Hope”. Responding to the brief of “Emotions”, Gentile delivered a powerful series shot across ten days spent with workers of an old paper factory in Argentina. Gentile received €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for her university at the awards ceremony.
Scott Gray, CEO, World Photography Organisation comments: “I am especially proud of this year’s selection of Photographer of the Year. I feel that in many cases it is easy to shock but that it can be so tremendously difficult to capture a sophisticated elegance, that really is so beautiful it shows the medium of photography at its best.”
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO PHOTOGRAPHY – MARTIN PARR
British photographer Martin Parr was honored with the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize at the awards ceremony. He was recognized for his unique visual language and for pushing the boundaries of the medium.
The Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize has previously been awarded to Mary Ellen Mark, William Eggleston, Eve Arnold, Bruce Davidson, Marc Riboud, William Klein, RongRong & inri, Elliott Erwitt and Phil Stern.
The 2018 Sony World Photography Awards open for entries on June 1, 2017.