Overall winners of the Sony World Photography Awards 2020
14 June 2020
The World Photography Organisation has recently announced the overall winners in the Sony World Photography Awards 2020. Pablo Albarenga (Uruguay) has been named Photographer of the Year, taking home the US$25,000 prize for his series, Seeds of Resistance.
Also announced were the ten category winners of the Professional competition, alongside second and third place, as well as overall winners of the Open, Student and Youth competitions. Three Australians won categories in the Open competition (Antoine Veling – Culture, Craig McGowan – Landscape, Adrian Guerin – Travel) and five were shortlisted across Professional and Open competitions (Nick Moir – Documentary – Professional, Jenny Evans – Environment – Professional, Adam Ferguson – Portrait – Professional, Alex Kydd – Natural World & Wildlife – Open, Adam Stevenson - Natural World & Wildlife – Open).
About the winning series
Seeds of Resistance is a body of work which pairs photographs of landscapes and territories in danger from mining and agribusinesses with portraits of the activists fighting to conserve them. In 2017, at least 207 leaders and environmentalists were killed while protecting their communities from projects threatening their territories. According to a 2018 report by Global Witness, most of these cases occurred in Brazil with 57 assassinations being recorded, of which 80% were against people defending the Amazon.
Albarenga’s series explores the bond between the defenders and their lands – a sacred area in which hundreds of generations of their ancestors rest. In the photographs, the main characters in the stories are seen from above, as though they are laying down their lives for their territory.
Mike Trow, Chair of the 2020 Professional competition, stated: “This year’s winner comes from the Creative category and is a brilliant set of images which offers a powerful visual record of how deforestation goes hand in hand with the destruction of communities and peoples. The judging process this year was challenging - there were a number of extraordinary stories and sets of images that could have won the overall title, but Seeds of Resistance really stood out. Pablo is from Uruguay and this project is deeply personal to him as a photographer. The effort required to envisage, produce and shoot this series is laudable in every way.”
Professional category winners
The winning photographers in the Professional competition had a body of work, comprising 5-10 images) selected by a panel of expert judges.
WINNER: Sandra Herber (Canada) for her series, Ice Fishing Huts, Lake Winnipeg
Finalists: 2nd place Jonathan Walland (UK); 3rd place José De Rocco (Argentina)
WINNER: Pablo Albarenga (Uruguay) for his series, Seeds of Resistance
Finalists: 2nd place Dione Roach (Italy); 3rd place Luke Watson (UK)
WINNER: Maria Kokunova (Russian Federation) for her series, The Cave
Finalists: 2nd place Hashem Shakeri (Islamic Republic of Iran); 3rd place Hugh Kinsella Cunningham (UK)
WINNER: Chung Ming Ko (Hong Kong SAR) for his series, Wounds of Hong Kong
Finalists: 2nd place Didier Bizet (France); 3rd place Youqiong Zhang (Mainland China)
WINNER: Robin Hinsch (Germany) for his series, Wahala
Finalists: 2nd place Álvaro Laiz (Spain); 3rd place Luca Locatelli (Italy)
WINNER: Ronny Behnert (Germany) for his series, Torii
Finalists: 2nd place Florian Ruiz (France); 3rd place Chang Kyun Kim (South Korea)
Natural World & Wildlife
WINNER: Brent Stirton (South Africa) for his series, Pangolins in Crisis
Finalists: 2nd place Masahiro Hiroike (Japan); 3rd place Adalbert Mojrzisch (Germany)
WINNER: Cesar Dezfuli (Spain) for his series, Passengers
Finalists: 2nd place Denis Rouvre (France); 3rd place Sasha Maslov (Ukraine)
WINNER: Ángel López Soto (Spain) for his series, Senegalese Wrestlers
Finalists: 2nd place Lucas Barioulet (France); 3rd place Andrea Staccioli (Italy)
WINNER: Alessandro Gandolfi (Italy) for his series, Immortality, Inc.
Finalists: 2nd place Elena Helfrecht (Germany); 3rd place Fangbin Chen (Mainland China)
Open Photographer of the Year
The Open competition celebrates the power of single images. Selected from 10 Open category winners, Tom Oldham (UK) was named Open Photographer of the Year 2020, receiving the US$5,000 prize for his image, Black Francis. The photograph is a black-and-white portrait of Pixies front-man, Charles Thompson (aka Black Francis).
Student Photographer of the Year
Ioanna Sakellaraki (Greece) was chosen as Student Photographer of the Year 2020 for her series, Aeiforia, created in response to the brief, Sustainability Now, which asked students to produce a body of work connected to environmental sustainability. In her series, Sakellaraki presents night-time photographs of solar panels, wind turbines, and battery farms used across the small island of Tilos in Greece, which is the first in the Mediterranean to run almost entirely on renewable energy.
Youth Photographer of the Year
Selected from seven category winners, Hsien-Pang Hsieh (Taiwan Region, 19 years old) has won Youth Photographer of the Year 2020 for his image Hurry, featuring a street performer who is seemingly walking in a hurry but is in fact standing still. Inspired by his experience as a newly arrived student in Germany, Hsien-Pang sees the image as his comment on the intensive pace of life and a reminder for others to slow down.