Sony World Photography Awards 2021

The World Photography Organisation opens the 14th edition of the Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s most diverse photography competition.

Now in its 14th year, the Sony World Photography Awards are an authoritative voice in the industry, celebrating the best contemporary photography from the past year, and giving vast exposure and opportunity to photographers worldwide.

All category winners of the Professional, Open, Youth and Student competitions receive digital imaging equipment from Sony. In addition, cash prizes of $25,000 (USD) are presented to the Photographer of the Year and $5,000 to the Open Photographer of the Year.

All winning and shortlisted photographers’ works are exhibited at the annual Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition in London and toured internationally. The winning images are also published in the annual Awards’ book.

The 2021 Awards introduces new categories across the Professional, Youth and Open competitions and a refreshed theme for the Student competition. In choosing these new categories, the Awards hopes to continue appealing to a diverse range of contemporary photographers.

In the Professional competition a new category for single images is introduced titled Portfolio in which photographers are requested to submit 5-10 images not related to each other in subject matter or narrative but where the photographer’s quality and technical skills are evident and consistent throughout. The Architecture category has also been expanded to include Design giving photographers the option to showcase exteriors and urban landscapes alongside interiors with an architectural approach.

In the Open competition two new categories have been introduced: Lifestyle and Object. Lifestyle features editorial, fashion or family images of people in situations or events taken in an artistic manner while Object presents images depicting inanimate subject matters. This can include photography for commercial and advertising purposes but must show the photographer’s artistic approach.

In the Youth competition monthly themes have all been updated to include the following:

  • Composition and Design (July): creative images from around the home that encapsulate good composition and design.
  • Culture (August): images that have enriched and expanded our appreciation of the world and its people. Be it immersing in local culture or capturing a unique travel experience away from home.
  • Natural World & Wildlife (September): photographs of the best wildlife, nature and landscape taken in 2020.
  • Street Life (October): images of urban landscapes from eye-catching graffiti, architectural details or snapshots that offer a glimpse into everyday life.
  • People (November): portrait shots, be it studio, candid or even a self-portrait.
  • Show Us Your World (December): Open Call! Entries can be on any topic, style or subject matter.

For the first brief in the Student competition entrants are be asked to submit images under the theme of Building a Better Future which showcases the stories of people who are working towards creating a better future for all.

Created by the World Photography Organisation, the Sony World Photography Awards are an authoritative voice in the industry. Celebrating the best contemporary photography from the past year, the Awards give vast exposure, visibility and opportunity to photographers worldwide on an annual basis. ​ Sony supports the Awards to help the continued development of photographic culture throughout the world, celebrating the best of past and present practitioners, as well as giving a global platform to today’s talent.

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