Enchanting forests, dramatic waves and magical islands: The breathtaking winning and shortlisted images in the open category of the 2020 Sony World Photography Awards
- The open competition received 193,000 entries from photographers in over 200 territories around the world
- More than 100 images were shortlisted and judges picked winning images in the contest’s 10 categories
- Categories included architecture, culture, landscape, natural world, street photography and travel
Behold the breathtaking winning and shortlisted images from one of the world’s most prestigious photography contests.
The amazing shots are from the open competition of the Sony World Photography Awards 2020, which received 193,000 entries from photographers in over 200 territories.
More than 100 images were shortlisted in this year’s open contest and judges had the hard task of picking 10 categories winners.
The categories included architecture, culture, landscape, natural world and wildlife, street photography and travel.
The 10 winners now have to wait until June 9 to find out who will be declared the overall open competition winner.
In the meantime, scroll down and feast your eyes on our pick of the shortlisted and category-winning entries…
This dreamy image was snapped by German photographer Manfred Voss and was shortlisted in the travel category. Manfred said: ‘The small fishing village of Reine in Norway delivers one of the most beautiful views in the Lofoten archipelago. The balance between the cool light of blue hour and the warmth of the well-lit houses was perfect on this particular morning. It was almost windless, resulting in a beautiful reflection of the mountain in the water. I opted for an exposure that balanced the blue hour with the slightly illuminated mountains and the nice light from the houses’
A colossal wave scales the harbour wall at Newhaven in East Sussex. The dramatic image was snapped by British photographer Lloyd Lane, who was shortlisted in the motion category. He said: ‘A high tide, together with strong winds, led to some big waves at the port in March 2019. This was my first time out with my new telephoto lens and I was treated to some great conditions, with the sun helping to light up the scene’
Polish photographer Milosz Wilczynski snapped the incredible image on the left. It’s the entrance to the Anaconda Ice Cave at Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland. It made the shortlist in the travel category. Wilczynski said: ‘The surface of the ice created an amazing pattern which reflected the incoming light. Most of the ice caves melt during the summer, partly because of the greenhouse effect. This kind of beauty is fragile and transient’. The image on the right was shortlisted in the landscape category. It was taken by German photographer Kai Hornung and shows an ancient forest in the Anaga Mountains of Tenerife. He said: ‘The clouds hung inside the moss-covered trees, creating a spooky atmosphere. When I arrived at this spot I was smiling while setting up my tripod – I just knew I was about to take one of my best images of that tour, if not one of my best pictures of 2019’
This unusual image was captured by British photographer Peter Brooks on the London Underground in October 2019 during the Extinction Rebellion uprising. He was shortlisted in the street photography category. He said: ‘This image is part of my efforts to capture the emotional impact the Red Rebel Brigade had on the public, and the protests, through conversation and photography’
American photographer Kaitlyn Kamperschroer captured this stunning shot while travelling around Iceland in August 2019. It was shortlisted in the travel category. She said: ‘My only plans were to drive and explore. While travelling along Route 1 (Iceland’s Ring Road) I was stunned by the endless landscape before me. I pulled over at a stopping point and captured this image of the road and Svínafellsjökull Glacier’
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British photographer Jonathan Rogers was shortlisted in the travel category for the image on the left, which he took while on a road trip around Iceland. He said: ‘This involved lots of driving, plenty of sights, camping and very little sleep. On our last day we decided to make the four-hour drive from the South Coast to the highland mountains of Kerlingarfjöll. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we were blown away by the nature and beauty of it all. The smoke venting from the ground created a very eerie and alien atmosphere. We persuaded one of our group to walk up and down a ridgeline until the smoke blew behind him, emphasising his outline. This is easily one of my favourite pictures from the trip.’ On the right is an image snapped by British photographer James Rushforth in Iceland, shortlisted in the travel category. He said: ‘The oxidation of iron minerals in the lava creates the red around the rims, which contrasts sharply with the surrounding basalt. The scene is completely otherworldly, especially when coupled with the remote location. A white four-wheel-drive vehicle can be seen on the road beneath the craters’
Turkish photographer Bülent Suberk was shortlisted in the street photography category for this joyful image of children from Syrian immigrant families and other youngsters cooling off in the water of the Bosphorus in Karaköy, Istanbul
Indranil Aditya, from India, captured this shot of firefighters trying to control a huge blaze at a chemical warehouse near the Howrah Bridge in Kolkata, West Bengal. The snap was shortlisted in the street photography category
The winner of the landscape category was Australian photographer Craig McGowan for this beautiful shot of a solitary iceberg set against the fjord walls in Northeast Greenland National Park
Argentinian photographer Jorge Reynal was named the winner of the still life category with a heartbreaking image of a fish inside a plastic bag, left. He said: ‘Each year, eight million tons of plastic end up in our oceans – equivalent to emptying a garbage truck into the water every minute. This is my protest against pollution. In my language (Spanish), we use the words “Naturaleza Muerta” to refer to still life, which ironically translates as dead nature.’ Pictured right are colourful fish in the Lembeh Strait in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, which were captured on camera by British photographer Rachel Brooks. This image was shortlisted in the natural world and wildlife category. She said: ‘It took a lot of patience, but I finally managed to capture this fish showing the tongue-eating parasite in its mouth. The image was made on an underwater compact, using a dive torch for lighting’
Colombian photographer Santiaga Mesa was named the winner in the street photography category thanks to this dramatic image. He explained: ‘In recent years, a number of protests have broken out across Latin America. Reasons for this unrest range from a proposed end to fuel subsidies in Ecuador to a rise in metro fares in Chile, and feelings of inequality and a general lack of opportunity in Colombia. In Medellin, north-western Colombia, workers and street vendors were taking part in a march when the Medellin riot squad dispersed them’
Chinese photographer Suxing Zhang scooped the title of winner in the creative category after entering the shot on the left from her series called ‘hua’, which means flower in Chinese. In this image, she said she used a ‘combination of light and texture to create strong visuals that heighten the senses’. Winner of the portraiture category was British photographer Tom Oldham with the snap on the right of singer Black Francis. Tom explained: ‘Photographers for Mojo Magazine enjoy a rare degree of freedom and trust with what is usually an open brief. This allows us to capture our own experience with very high profile musicians. However, when photographing famous singers, we are often painfully aware of how many times the sitter has, well, sat. I like to acknowledge this and asked Charles (aka Black Francis) to show me the level of frustration photoshoots can generate. He offered up this perfect gesture of exasperation, and the image ran as the lead portrait for the feature’
Icelandic photographer Viktor Einar Vilhelmsson was shortlisted in the landscape category with this haunting shot of a building ‘standing alone in the middle of the highlands of Iceland’
This sweet shot of a baby orangutan and its mother, left, was captured by Ukrainian photographer Julia Wimmerlin in Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo, Indonesia. It was shortlisted in the natural world and wildlife category. She said: ‘I couldn’t believe my luck – it was the most humanlike, heartwarming scene I have witnessed there. Much like humans, baby orangutans stay with their mothers until they are seven years old. For the first few years they don’t leave their mother’s side – they grab on to her hair and are carried everywhere.’ On the right is a serene image of a mangrove tree at Walakiri Beach in Sumba, Indonesia, a joint effort between Malaysian photographers Hsiang Hui and Sylvester Wong. The pair said that the water was calm at dawn and offered some ‘wonderful reflections’. The snap was shortlisted in the landscape category
Alec Connah from the UK was named as the winner of the motion category thanks to this shot showing the demolition of four cooling towers at Ironbridge Power Station in Shropshire. He said: ‘The towers had been a feature of the landscape for 50 years, but were brought down as part of a new development on the site. The demolition had been a long time coming – the towers were close to a river, railway line and protected woodland, so their destruction had to be precise. This picture was taken from my garden, which is on the hillside opposite the site’
The winner of the travel category was Adrian Guerin with this incredible shot of an iron-ore train in Mauritania. Adrian, from Australia, explained: ‘The train covers over 700km on its journey from the coastal town of Nouadhibou to the Saharan wilderness of Zouérat. More than 200 carriages are loaded with rocks in Zouérat, before the train begins its long journey back to Nouadhibou. I rode the train in both directions in July 2019. On the first leg of the journey I learnt that in order to photograph the full length of the train I needed to stand on the rocks for height, position myself in a rear carriage to get the full view, and keep the sun behind me. Alas, none of this was possible until the morning of day three, at which point I had almost given up. This shot was taken as I balanced on my toes atop a mountain of rocks, trying to remain steady as the train jolted from side to side’
Rosaria Sabrina Pantano from Italy was the winner of the architecture category with the image on the left, snapped in Sicily. She said: ‘Myself and a group of friends visited Fiumara d’Arte, an open museum showcasing sculptures made by contemporary artists, located along the banks of the Tusa River. Among these works is 38° Parallelo by Mauro Staccioli – a pyramid that stands at the exact point where the geographical coordinates touch the 38th parallel.’ Canadian Alexandre B. Lampron captured the image on the right in the spring of 2019. It shows a Newfoundland cove overrun by sea ice. He said: ‘The fishermen were waiting for an opportunity to go out between tides to lay their lobster traps.’ The image was shortlisted in the architecture category
Australian photographer Antoine Velig was the winner of the culture category with this image taken at an Iggy Pop concert at the Sydney Opera House last year. He said: ‘A woman’s outstretched arm lunges to touch Iggy. He seems unaware of her approach as the crowd presses around him. One of Iggy’s assistants, Jos (in the grey checked shirt), tries to make some space around Iggy. The image has been likened to religious paintings by Caravaggio and his chiaroscuro technique. It went crazy on social media, making 40,000 people, including Iggy Pop, very happy’
British photographer Peter Li was shortlisted in the architecture category for this haunting photo of Grundtvigs Kirke, a relatively new church in Copenhagen. Peter said: ‘It was completed in 1940 and took the architect’s family three generations to complete. The design is a fusion between the modern geometric forms of Brick Expressionism and the classical vertical structure of Gothic architecture’
French photographer Caroline Paux was shortlisted in the natural world and wildlife category for this action shot of greedy seagulls competing for a starfish. It was snapped during high tide on August 4, 2019, off the beach of La Baule in the Loire-Atlantique, France
Chinese photographer Guofei Li was named the winner of the natural world and wildlife category thanks to this incredible image of cheetahs in Botswana. The photographer explained: ‘These cheetahs had just eaten an antelope, and were licking the bloodstains off each other’s faces. It’s a very rare posture and one that reminded me of the traditional Chinese Tai Chi diagram’
This dramatic image of a greyhound training for a race as sand blows up in its face was snapped by Belgian photographer Muriel Vekemans. It was shortlisted in the motion category
Chinese photographer Wen Lu was shortlisted in the architecture category for the mesmerising shot on the left, which shows a clear line separating crowded village houses and a forest reserve in Guangzhou, China. Satheesh Chandran, from India, snapped the shot on the right, which shows a Theyyam ritual taking place in a temple in Kerala. It was shortlisted in the culture category. The photographer said: ‘The performer transforms from human to a demigod through music, dance, make-up and costume’
This breathtaking image of Brighton Pier illuminated at dusk was captured by British photographer Stephen Tomlinson. It was shortlisted in the architecture category. He said: ‘I headed to this iconic location for sunset and waited for the attractions at the end of the pier to light up. I knew this twilight period would offer the best conditions to capture what I had in mind. The resulting image is quite abstract, with the funfair appearing almost like a giant pinball machine’
British photographer David Keep captured this amazing image of a saltwater crocodile on the Jardines de la Reina archipelago in Cuba. The photo was shortlisted in the natural world and wildlife category. David said: ‘I was in the water for around an hour with this particular animal, and I must admit I never felt really relaxed. Looking back, it was more reputation than reality that caused my unease. It was an awesome experience, and I think this image sums up the feeling I had of being watched intently!’
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