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2019 Judges


"What makes the Sony World Photography Awards so exciting is the range of subjects and global reach of the stories and images selected. My advice for entrants is to choose your categories carefully and believe in your story."

- Mike Trow, Chair, 2019 Professional competition 


We are delighted to present the juries of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. Each member for this year's Awards has been specially selected and are all experts working across the photographic industry.


The jury at a glance


Professional competition
Erin Barnett, Director of Exhibitions and Collections, International Center of Photography (USA) / Liu Heung Shing, Founder, Shanghai Center of Photography (SCoP) / Brendan Embser, Managing Editor, Aperture (USA) / Emma Lewis, Assistant Curator, Tate (UK) / Isabella van Marle, Head of Artist & Gallery Relations. Unseen Amsterdam   (The Netherlands) / Chair: Mike Trow, Editor, Photographer and Consultant (UK)

Open, Youth and National Awards competitions
Chair: Rebecca McClelland, Photography Director/ Head of Art Production for Saatchi Saatchi & Prodigious, (UK)

Student competition
Jason Baron, Creative Director of Photography, BBC Creative (UK) / Bruno Bayley, Managing Editor, Magnum Photos (UK) / Jeff Hamada, Founder & Editor, BOOOOOOOM (Canada)


Professional competition 



Mike Trow, Editor, Photographer and Consultant, UK
Chair, Professional competition

Mike Trow is a commissioning Picture Editor and photographer. He began his career as a researcher and reportage agent for Colorific before roles as Picture Editor on magazines including Bizarre and Jack magazine.

He was at British Vogue for 13 years, where he lead a team that commissioned, produced and art directed all portrait and feature shoots for the magazine. As a photographer he shot for Vogue and other titles. He now works as a curator, consultant, freelance editor and photographer.


Erin Barnett, Director of Exhibitions and Collections, International Center of Photography, New York, USA

Erin Barnett became the Director of Exhibitions and Collections at the International Center of Photography, New York, in 2016, having started as a curatorial assistant in 2002. Her exhibitions include Edmund Clark: The Day the Music Died; RFK Funeral Train: The People’s View; The Loving Story: Photographs by Grey Villet; President in Petticoats! Civil War Propaganda in Photographs; Hiroshima: Ground Zero 1945; Take Me to the Water: Photographs of River Baptisms; Munkacsi’s Lost Archive; and Amelia Earhart: Image and Icon.

Her recent publications include an interview with Edmund Clark (ICP, 2018); “Expending the Boundaries of Documentary Photography,” in Inter Art Center New Documentaries Prize 2017 (Inter Art Center, 2017); short essays on Ai Weiwei, Liu Bolin, Calude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Gregory Credson, Lyle Ashton Harris, Peter Hujar, Ryan McGinley, Arno Rafael Minkkinen, Yasumasa Morimura, Mark Morrisroe, Qiu Zhijie, L.A. Raeven, and Sheng Qi in Body of Art (Phaidon, 2015); and “Lesbian, Pervert, Mother: Catherine Opie’s Photographic Transgressions,” in Reconciling Art and Mothering (Ashgate, 2012). She has worked in the curatorial departments of the New Museum and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. An alumnae of the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program’s curatorial program, Barnett holds an MA in the History of Art from the University of Kansas and a BA in Art History and East Asian Studies (China) from Oberlin College.


Liu Heung Shing, Founder, Shanghai Center of Photography (SCoP)

Liu Heung Shing was born in Hong Kong in 1951. He apprenticed at Life magazine in New York the 1970’s where he was inspired and influenced by the legendary team of Life photographers including Gjon Mili. In 1978, he moved to Beijing where, in 1979, he became chief photographer for the Associate Press (AP). From the late 1970s to the early 1980s, his photographs document the political and economic reform process; its impact upon the urban and cultural landscape. Later, still for the AP, Liu undertook postings in Los Angeles, New Delhi, Seoul and Moscow. In 1989, he was awarded Picture of the Year for his Tiananmen coverage. In 1992, he shared the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News for his coverage of the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 2014, Liu moved to Shanghai to establish the Shanghai Center of Photography (SCoP). SCoP is a privately funded non-profit organization that promotes photography through exhibitions, workshops, and lectures. Since its launch in 2015, SCoP has become the city’s premier venue for photography. Liu has published and edited numerous books including on his own work China After Mao, 1983; China Dream, 2013; and the forthcoming A Life in a Sea of Red, Steidl 2019; and China Portrait of a Country, Taschen, 2008; Shanghai A History of Photographs, Penguin Viking 2010; 1911: The Road to Revolution Oxford University Press 2011.

Isabella van Marle, Head of Artist & Gallery RelationsUnseen Amsterdam ​

Isabella van Marle is the Head of Artist & Gallery Relations and is responsible of the fair element of Unseen Amsterdam. She is in charge of the galleries and their selection of artists and aims to find opportunities for them throughout the year both locally and internationally. Isabella has a MSc in Entrepreneurship & Management in the Creative Industries from the University of Amsterdam. Focusing exclusively on cutting-edge imagery, Unseen is the leading platform for contemporary photography. With a constant program of events, Unseen is a year-round platform that brings the international photography community together to discuss and debate the directions in which the photographic medium is evolving.


Emma Lewis, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern, UK

Emma Lewis is Assistant Curator, International Art at Tate Modern, where she curates exhibitions and displays and researches photography acquisitions for the international collection. Recent projects include the exhibition Wolfgang Tillmans: 2017 and catalogue essays for Shape of Light: 100 Years of Photography and Abstract Art and The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection. She is currently working on a monographic photography exhibition and a conference on women in photography for 2019.

Emma’s book ‘Understanding Photography’ – a look at image-making from the first photographic processes to the post-internet age – was published by Bloomsbury in 2017.


Brendan Embser, Managing Editor, Aperture, USA

Brendan Embser is the Managing editor of Aperture magazine and the editor of the Aperture books Deana Lawson: An Aperture Monograph(2018) and Chloe Dewe Mathews: Caspian: The Elements (2018). He has served on the jury for the Addis Foto Fest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the Changjiang International Photography and Video Art Biennale in Chongqing, China, and Photo Israel, Tel Aviv. Embser holds a BA in English from Haverford College and an MA in Africana Studies from New York University and he has contributed essays and interviews to Another Africa, Aperture’s PhotoBook Review, Contemporary And, n+1, and Objektiv.




Open, Youth & National Awards competition 

Rebecca McClelland, Photography Director/ Head of Art Production for Saatchi Saatchi & Prodigious, UK
Chair, Open, Youth and National Awards 

Rebecca McClelland is a Photography Director, Head of Art Production for Saatchi Saatchi & Prodigious & mentor in visual journalism with 17 years industry experience with titles such as New Statesman, Sunday Times magazine and Wallpaper*. She is the long standing co-director of the Ian Parry Scholarship, an international award for visual journalism.

She is the curator of ‘World As Image’ a public space exhibition from the alumni of the Ian Parry Scholarship opening on the 1st October outside the Mayor’s office in London and ‘A New Beginning’ a group portrait exhibition in collaboration with Breaking Barriers, opening on the 3rd October and featuring Caleb Femi, Leonie Hampton and Timur Celikdag.




Student competition



Jason Baron, Creative Director of Photography, BBC Creative, UK

Jason Baron is Creative Director of Photography at BBC Creative, responsible for promotional photography across all BBC content. Around 20 years ago he found himself at the photography department at Channel 4 after several years as an actor, moving to the BBC a few years later. He’s commissioned and art-directed photography for everything from Doctor Who to Antiques Roadshow, most recently working with Martin Parr on BBC One’s  Oneness idents. He’s utterly delighted to be a judge for the 2019 Awards and can’t wait to see what new talent is out there.




Jeff Hamada, Founder and Editor, Booooooom, Canada

Jeff Hamada is a Japanese Canadian artist based in Vancouver, Canada. In 2008 he created Booooooom, which quickly became one of the largest art blogs on the Internet and firmly established itself as an authoritative voice in contemporary arts and culture. Over the past decade, he's helped launch the careers of hundreds of young emerging artists and photographers, and has collaborated with brands like Uniqlo, Converse, Red Bull, VICE, and WeTransfer.

Jeff has also spoken on the topics of curation, creativity, and community-building at creative conferences and festivals including: IAM (Barcelona), 180 CREATIVE CAMP (Portugal), POW! WOW! (Taipei), CREATIVE MORNINGS (Vancouver), CARBON (Melbourne).



Bruno Bayley, Managing Editor, Magnum Photos, UK

Bruno Bayley is managing editor at Magnum Photos, London. Prior to starting at Magnum in 2018 he was the Editor of VICE Magazine, where he was responsible for commissioning photography, features, fiction and artwork for print, as well as managing international editions. He worked independently with Ditto Press for a number of years, printing and publishing numerous titles, including the PEN Ackerly Award-winning travel memoir, How to Disappear and a free guide to first-time inmates in UK prisons. He has taken part in photographic judging panels for Amnesty International, Photo London Graduate Awards, BJP Breakthrough Award, was a production grant mentor for One World Media and has nominated for the MACK FBA over recent years.