A MATURE male African elephant eyeballs the photographer as it traverses the savanna; snow falls on a remote Icelandic petrol station, making it seem both pretty and desolate at the same time; and the torsos of swimmers, twisting in a filthy German river, call to mind the figures of the damned from Michelangelo’s
The Last Judgment.
These are just three of the standout images submitted so far for the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.
The annual competition, now in its tenth year, again showcases a diverse array of styles and content, but if a point of commonality among the images must be found, it could be simply that sense of the
moment: those breathtaking instances when the world’s randomness gets momentarily replaced by a sense of perfect order.
As always, the natural world has yielded bountiful inspiration for photographers, with images of feather-fluffing flamingoes, mighty waterfalls and the star-spangled night sky appearing in the latest batch of entries released by the organisers.
Photographers of all ages and skill levels are invited to enter their best single frames before Thursday January 4 to be in the running. Professionals have until January 11 to enter.
Prizes include $25,000 cash, the latest Sony Digital Imaging equipment and flights to London to attend the awards dinner on April 19.
Ten categories reflect the diversity of the competition, while its international flavour is reinforced by national awards being awarded for photographers from more than 60 participating countries.
British curator and photography lecturer Zelda Cheatle will chair the juries for the category competitions.
Young photographers aged between 12 and 19 are encouraged to enter the Youth Award division with an image that pertains to the theme ‘My Environment’.
A herd of elephants are seen on a march through a rainy landscape in Swedish photographer Bjorn Perron’s image, Exodus.
Spanish photographer Carlos Alejo says of his image, Natural Identity in Fjord: ‘I took this photo on August 2017 in the north of Iceland. This beautiful whale gave me a majestic and smooth presence showing me her natural tattoo-like symbols in her tail, while swimming in a Fjord. It was a really touching experience with such a charming and elegant animal.’
Pedro Jarque Krebs from Peru took this shot of a curious red flamingo, which he titled Watch Your Back.
German snapper Klaus Lenzen was overhead when he captured Every Breath You Take, composed of 35 individual swimmers competing in the Dusseldorf triathlon.
Norwegian photographer Tine Poppe captured the first snowy day in Oslo in this image, Whiteout.
Makoto Nishikura from Japan says of this image, Colorful Umbrellas: ‘My idea was good contrast of colourful umbrellas and black-and-white stripe image. I took this photo in rainy day of June 13th 2017 from the top of a building in Ginza Tokyo looking down the crossing.
Lopez Lumeras from Spain took this image of Teatro Cervantes de Tánger. The venue hosted great opera singers such as Maria Callas and Enrico Caruso in the 1920s, and became a cinema in the 1960s. It was shut in the 1980s and has remained so, ever since.
Hungarian photographer Peter Csakvari took this image River, Ice, Bird from the Margit Bridge overlooking the Danube in Budapest ‘on a very-very cold day’.
Carlos M Almagro from Spain titled his shot of the Porís lighthouse in the Canary Islands ‘Stay’. ‘This image is the result of two different shots taken with an approximately 75 minutes difference in time, without moving the camera or tripod, to get in the same image the milky way and the sunrise,’ he says. ‘The milky way starts to get invisible during astronomical sunrise, which takes place in Canary Islands about 75 minutes before the civil sunrise.’
South Korean photographer Chul-ui Song took this image, Gas Station, in Iceland. ‘I accidentally found a gas station in the middle of driving in the snow for over four hours,’ the photographer writes.
Sphiwo Hlatshwayo from South Africa took this shot, Redivine, a portrait of a woman with freckles taken earlier in 2017. ‘This image was taken in studio using two soft lights (softness altered in post production). This image was taken because I simply found the model to be beautiful. She caught my eye at an event and I had to bring her into the studio so I could capture every single freckle on her,’ the photographer writes.
Iceland features again in this image, Waterfall, by Witold Ziomek from Poland. It shows the waterfall called Skogafoss.
Keiny Andrade from Brazil entered this shot in the portraiture division. ‘Sao Paulo is known for being huge and with few recreational areas for the population on the periphery. These portraits were made on the artificial beach of Sitio do Borges, in Itapevi, where locals go to enjoy the hot days,’ the photographer writes. ‘The nursing technicians Marco Afonso Aires, 53, and Lilian de Matos Batista, 31, with daughter Larissa Ayres, 10.’
Jassen Todorov from the USA took this shot, The Labyrinth, showing the town of Cadiz, Spain from a plane ‘during the golden hour’. ‘(Cadiz) is as fascinating as it is from ground level — charming streets, narrow alleys, beautiful architecture, fun markets and people, glorious churches. It has got it all — now go visit and get lost for a while,’ Todorov writes.
Galaxies Above The Winter Forest by Slovakian photographer Ales Krivec shows the forests of Pokljuka in Slovenia. ‘Trees are illuminated by the nearby car on the road. For this image, I simply put the camera directly in the middle of the road,’ the photographer writes.
All entries are free and can be submitted online at www.worldphoto.org/swpa
All winning and shortlisted images will be included in the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London from April 20 — May 6, 2018.
Sony World Photography Awards: 2018 highlights
The Big Meringue … Scala dei Turchi (The Turkish Steps) is a white cliff in Realmonte (Sicily), made of a soft limestone and a blinding white marl. Natural erosion has created steps on the cliff face, making it look soft and sinuous, like a big meringue covered with sprinkles (the people sitting and walking on it). Scala dei Turchi is a wonderful spot for viewing the sunset, as the bright white marl turns into a strong orange. Only after shooting this image, while watching it on a bigger screen, I noticed a newlywed couple in the frame kissing for their wedding photoshoot. Exactly at the edge of the cliff.
Picture: Placido Faranda, Italy, Entry, Open, Landscape & Nature (2018 Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
‘Tajma-Ha’ … This photograph was taken while I was scuba diving in Cenote Tajma-Ha, Yucatan, Mexico. The yellowish colour of the water is obtained from the high levels of tannic acid there. I’m a PADI instructor and a certified full cave diver.
Picture: Joana Villar, Portugal, Entry, Open, Landscape and Nature, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
‘The child and the reindeers’ … Every morning, all the reindeer are released so they can graze the all day and at night they all come back themselves. Here we can see one of the Tsataan children taking care of his reindeer before the cold night comes.
Picture: Pehuen Grotti, France, Entry, Open, Travel (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
‘Buildings Forest’ … I wanted to take some different photographs and Hong Kong is full of high buildings. It is difficult to express it on the ground and I thought it would be funny to change the angle of the view. So I used my drone, launching it from the mountain and took this picture. From this angle, we can see that the buildings in Hong Kong are very high and serried.
Picture: Songshen Jiang, China, Open, Architecture (Open), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
‘On White’ ,,, A red fox stands in the snow. I was out for a hike in the early January snow when I cam across a set of fox tracks. I followed them around a curve and found this fox standing in a clearing. I got down to my knees quickly to try not to scare him off and started taking pictures. As some of the heavy snow fell of the trees he paused and turn to see what was making the noise. I have photographed this fox over many years. His nose is so distinctive it helps to identify him.
Picture: Chris MacDonald , Canada, Entry, Open, Wildlife (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
‘Galaxies above the winter forest’ … Galaxies above the forests of Pokljuka. Trees are illuminated by the nearby car on the road. For this image, I simply put the camera directly in the middle of the road at Pokljuka Plateau in Slovenia.
Picture: Ales Krivec, Slovakia, Entry, Open, Landscape and Nature (2018 Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
‘Touched by the Sun’ … I took this photo in Lofoten, Norway. I was there for a week in March 2017. The night before, we were chasing aurora for a couple of hours, so when the alarm clock went off very early that morning I was fighting with myself to get up or not to get up. After 4 hours of sleep it was a tough decision. It was the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen. I took many pictures that morning and this is one of them.
Picture: Irena Walania, Poland, Entry, Open, Landscape and Nature, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
‘Back to the future’ … The photo was taken at TeamLab, Dance! Art Exibition, Shenzhen, China, in a venue called the Crystal Universe. The light illusion is an artwork that uses an accumulation of light points to create a sculptural body. By this time, I had been waiting with my friend for the right composition to happen. I saw a little girl in a red dress running around. I kept on waiting and waiting expecting that she would come to the perfect spot. Luckily she ran out again by the channel.
Picture: Sung Lok Cheung, Hong Kong (China), Entry, Open, Portraiture (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
‘African Mystery’ … The photo was taken during my last trip in Kalahari (Kgalagadi Park, South Africa), last September. The Kalahari lions are famous for their black mane. After a long drive through the park, I came across two of them, sharing a springbok kill. A violent fight took place between the two to get the best pieces. They ultimately headed towards the nearby waterhole, where they got a rest during the sunset, which gave me the perfect opportunity to capture their legendary beauty.
Picture: Matthieu Rivart, France, Entry, Open, Wildlife (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
‘Sacred Monk’ … I was visiting Mahagandayon Monastery at Amarapura (Myanmar) to observe the monastic life. At noon, monks, nuns and novices lined up outside for their main and last meal of the day. Then, they went together to sit in the dining hall and eat. That’s when I stood in front of the side window and took this photo.
Picture: Matheus Hobold Sovernigo, Brazil, Entry, Open, Culture, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
The Mona Lisa, The Great Wall of China, The Trevi Fountain; it seems some of the wonders of the world are being destroyed by hoards of tourists. What can we do to protect them?
The Disappearing Wonders of the World
Originally published as Nature is ready for its close-up