Home » Blog » Sony World Photography Awards Professional competition 2020: Finalists, Shortlist and Grant recipients announced

Sony World Photography Awards Professional competition 2020: Finalists, Shortlist and Grant recipients announced

Sony World Photography Awards Professional competition 2020

The World Photography Organisation is pleased to reveal the finalist and shortlisted photographers in the Professional competition for the Sony World Photography Awards 2020. Also included are details of new photographic projects by Sony Professional Grant 2019 recipients. Works by both Professional competition finalists and Grant recipients will go on display as part of the Sony World Photography Awards 2020 exhibition at Somerset House this April.

Now in its 13th year, the Awards’ Professional competition rewards a remarkable body of work for technical excellence and a fresh perspective on contemporary subjects. The winner of Photographer of the Year 2020 will be selected from the group of Professional finalists and announced during the Sony World Photography Awards 2020 ceremony in London on 16 April.

Over 345,000 images from 203 territories were submitted across the 2020 Awards’ four competitions and over 135,000 were entered across the Professional competition’s 10 categories – the highest number of entries to date. A new Environment category has been introduced this year in recognition of the growing importance of this topic in both fine art photography and photojournalism.

This year’s finalist projects engage with a wide array of topics, photography techniques and presentation methods, covering personal subjects and observations, inventive approaches to storytelling and shedding light on little known but critical issues.

Sony World Photography Awards 2020 finalist photographers and projects are:

Forms and textures are the focus of abstract photographs by José De Rocco (Argentina), featuring vibrant building exteriors in Formalisms, as well as Jonathan Walland’s (UK) Structures; a minimalist black & white series depicting modern constructions. Sandra Herber’s (Canada) Ice Fishing, Lake Winnipeg presents whimsical images of the colourful ice fishing huts that dot the frozen surface of the lake in winter.

In Seeds of Resistance, Pablo Albarenga (Uruguay) pairs pictures of landscapes and territories in danger from mining and agribusinesses with portraits of the activists fighting to conserve them. Using shots of social media posts, chats and Skype or WhatsApp calls, Kill Me With an Overdose of Kindnessby Dione Roach (Italy) examines the way in which relationships and intimacy are lived and expressed online. Witness Objects by Luke Watson (UK) comprises images of pinhole cameras made using historical objects from the Bosnian War alongside photographs taken with these makeshift cameras of meaningful locations around Sarajevo.

In Invisible Wounds, Hugh Kinsella Cunningham (UK) stains his images in red to communicate the suffering and distress caused by a viral Ebola outbreak in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo while in The Cave, Maria Kokunova (Russia) uses symbolism and allegory to examine personal trauma. Cast Out of Heaven by Hashem Shakeri (Iran) looks at the lives of those forced to leave Tehran due to the economic downturn and move into inadequate state-funded housing projects.

Wahala by Robin Hinsch (Germany) documents the devastating effects of continued oil spillage and natural gas flaring along the Niger delta river. In Atlas from the Edge, Álvaro Laiz (Spain) explores the concept of ‘natural symmetry’ as practiced by the indigenous group, the Chukchi, whose traditional lifestyle evolved according to their mode of subsistence. In The Future of Farming, Luca Locatelli (Italy), portrays high tech agrofarming systems from around the world, a possible solution to future food shortages.

Didier Bizet’s (France) series Baby Boom examines the reborn phenomena, a lifelike baby doll collected by enthusiasts and used by adoptive parents in preparation and by elderly patients in need of companionship. Poignant portraits of Hongkongers injured during the protests are the focus of Chung Ming Ko’s (Hong Kong) project Wounds of Hong Kong, whereas Zhang Youqiong’s (China) From ‘Made in China’ to ‘Made in Africa’ documents workers in the Chinese funded venture, the Ethiopian Oriental Industrial Park, a key enterprise in China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ in Africa.

Torii by Haggard Benhert (Germany) features photographs of Buddhist and Shinto temples across Japan, while New Home by Chang Kyun Kim (Korea), comprises photographs of Japanese Internment Camps in which thousands of US citizens and residents of Japanese ancestry were imprisoned during the Second World War. Project 596 by Florian Ruiz (France) depicts the barren landscape of Lop Nor, a former salt lake in China previously used as a nuclear weapons test site.

Masahiro Hiroike (Japan) captures the enchanting lights emitted by fireflies in the forests of Tottori, Japan in Himebotaru and in Macro, Adalbert Mojrzisch (Germany) uses macro lens technique to provide a closeup view of the intricate colours and patterns of insect and amphibian eyes. Pangolins in Crisis by Brent Striton (South Africa) looks at the illegal trade and rescue efforts of pangolins, the world’s most illegally trafficked mammals.

In Passengers, Cesar Dezfuli (Spain) juxtaposes striking portraits of migrants taken in 2016 as they first arrived on European shores with more recent images that better convey their personalities and the transformation they’ve experienced. Unsung Heroes by Denis Rouvre (France) presents the portraits and harrowing tales of women who have been victims of violence and in Ukrainian Railroad Ladies, Sasha Maslov (Ukraine) portrays the women who work as train station guards and explores their social role as a symbol of continuity in a country torn by war and political upheavals.

Disassembled Memory is a catalogue of photographs depicting the disassembled parts of Fangbin Chen’s (China) childhood bicycle in an attempt to recall and preserve his memories from that time, while in Plexus, Elena Helfrecht (Germany) delves into her family’s archive to examine the effects of inherited trauma and collective memory. In IMMORTALITY, INC. Alessandro Gandolfi (Italy) goes into research labs and institutions to document the processes and objects which represent modern science’s advancements in its pursuit to overcome death.

Wrestling has become the number one sport in Senegal and is also a means of social ascendance steeped in tradition and ritual, in Senegalese Wrestlers, Angel Lopez Soto (Spain) explores these practices through images of young wrestles in training, whereas Dives by Andrea Staccioli (Italy) presents poetic portraits of athletes in mid-dive at the Gwangju Diving World Championships. Lucas Barioulet’s(France), The Long and Difficult Path of the Mauritanian National Women’s Football Team looks at the challenges and cultural tensions faced by the female players in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

The work of finalist and shortlisted photographers in the Professional competition was judged by: Claudi Carreras Guillén, Independent curator, editor, and cultural manager; Touria El Glaoui, Founding Director of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair; Katie Hollander, Director, Annenberg Space for Photography; Gwen Lee, Director, Singapore International Photography Festival; Brent Lewis, Photo Editor, The New York Times / Co-Founder, Diversify Photo; and Chair and exhibition curator Mike Trow, picture editor and consultant.

Chosen from the Professional category finalists of the Sony World Photography Awards 2019, the latest Sony Professional Grant recipients are Yan Wang Preston (UK, 1stplace, Landscape), Edward Thompson (UK, 3rd place, Brief), Kohei Ueno (Singapore, 2nd place, Sport) and Tuomas Uusheimo (Finland, 2nd place, Architecture). Each photographer was given $7,000 (USD) and the latest Sony digital imaging equipment in April 2019, along with the freedom to create entirely new works or to to develop a long-term project.

Exhibited projects include:
Wilderness Expanses by Yan Wang Preston continues the artist’s long-term investigation towards the complexities of nature in modern societies. Taken in different ecology-recovery areas in China, Preston uses a black & white aesthetic in the tradition of classic landscape photography to explore questions surrounding the recreation and recovery of our wildernesses. Edward Thompson uses the Brexit process as the backdrop to his project, documenting related national and local events.

The beauty of life, forgiveness, and the power of positive change by Kohei Ueno looks at the annual migration and slow recovery of the ‘Tongan Tribe’, a pod of whales, which was almost hunted to extinction during the devastating large-scale commercial whaling that occurred during the post-war era. Out of bounds by Tuomas Uusheimo examines the architecture, spatiality and boundaries of sports fields.

Sandra Herber, Canada
José De Rocco, Argentina
Jonathan Walland, England

Swen Bernitz, Germany
Liang Chen, China Mainland
Jeoffrey Guillemard, France
Marcin Płonka, Poland
Maria Burasovskaya, Russian Federation
Laurin Schmid, Germany
Alexander Tatarenko, Russian Federation

Pablo Albarenga, Uruguay
Dione Roach, Italy
Luke Watson, UK

Michel Le Belhomme, France
Nicoletta Cerasomma, Italy
Joseph Ford, United Kingdom
Ritsuko Matsushita, Japan
Serge Varaxin, Russian Federation
Reuben Wu, UK

Hugh Kinsella Cunningham, UK
Maria Kokunova, Russian Federation
Hashem Shakeri, Iran

Diogo Baptista, Portugal
Emmanuelle Firman, France
Adrian Francis, USA
Massimo Gurrieri, Italy
Thomas Hänisch, Germany
Edward Kaprov, Israel
Murat Yazar, Turkey

Didier Bizet, France
Chung Ming Ko, Hong Kong
Youqiong Zhang, China Mainland

David Butow, USA
Nicholas Moir, Australia
Patrick Wack, France
Eddy van Wessel, Netherlands
Ian Willms, Canada

Robin Hinsch, Germany
Álvaro Laiz, Spain
Luca Locatelli, Italy

Jenny Evans, Australia
Marco Garofalo, Italy
Eddo Hartmann, Netherlands
Maximilian Mann, Germany
Pierpaolo Mittica, Italy
Carolina Rapezzi, Italy
Kristof Vrancken, Belgium

Ronny Behnert, Germany
Chang Kyun Kim, South Korea
Florian Ruiz, France

Mauro Battistelli, Italy
Jeroen van Dam, Netherlands
Andrius Grigalaitis, Lithuania
Sybren Vanoverberghe, Belgium
Peixia Xie, China Mainland


Masahiro Hiroike, Japan
Adalbert Mojrzisch, Germany
Brent Stirton, South Africa

Pierre Anquet, France
Songda Cai, China Mainland
Marko Dimitrijevic, Switzerland
Tobias Friedrich, Germany
Joan de la Malla, Spain
Yevhen Samuchenko, Ukraine

Cesar Dezfuli, Spain
Sasha Maslov, Ukraine
Denis Rouvre, France

Richard Ansett, United Kingdom
Raul Ariano, Italy
Jon Enoch, UK
Adam Ferguson, Australia
Adrián Markis, Argentina
Magdalena Stengel, Germany
Tomáš Vrana, Czech Republic

Lucas Barioulet, France
José López Soto, Spain
Andrea Staccioli, Italy

Giuliano Berti, Italy
Anton Dotsenko, USA
Frédéric Duhayer, France
Mikhail Kapychka, Belarus
Sarah Sasani, Iran
Federico Tardito, Italy

Alessandro Gandolfi, Italy
Elena Helfrecht, Germany
Fangbin Chen, China Mainland

Sabina Candusso, Italy
Emilia Cocking, United Kingdom
Sandrine Dippa, France
Paul Fuentes, Mexico
Molly Percy, United Kingdom
Yelena Strokin, Russian Federation
Cecilia Manzanares Vargas, Mexico