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Professional Competition Focus #4

5 years ago

As the deadline for the Professional Competition approaches on January 11, 2019 at 13.00 GMT, we take a look at some awarded series from the last three years of the Sony World Photography Awards.

Recognising outstanding bodies of work, the Professional Competition is free to enter and open to all. It is judged on a body of work across 10 diverse categories.




"Scars" by Asha Miles

2018 Professional Competition, Shortlisted, Current Affairs & News

Female Genital Mutilation, or Female Circumcision, is the partial or complete removal of external female genitalia."Scars" are personal stories of 12 Gambian women who survived the procedure as children. For several years, Gambia has been actively spreading information about the harm of female circumcision, which was once considered part of a cultural tradition designed to reduce a woman's sexual desire and keep her clean before the wedding. According to recent statistics, 76% of the country's women were subjected to the procedure. Officially, the procedure has been banned since 2015, but continues to be carried out secretly to this day. There are very few cases of prosecution, also with the change of power this year, many people think that the old laws are no longer valid. Whether this ritual will become a thing of the past, depends on the consciousness of women and their attitude to this issue.



"Ke Lefa Laka" by Lebohang Kganye

2018 Professional Competition, Shortlisted, Portraiture

Seven years ago I lost my mother. When I began looking for pieces of my mother in the house I found photos and clothes that had been there for years, but that I had ignored. I began inserting myself into her pictorial narrative by emulating snaps of her that I found in my family album. I would dress in the exact clothes that she was wearing in these twenty-year-old photographs, and mimic her poses. I later developed digital photomontages where I juxtaposed old photographs of my mother that I retrieved from the family archives with photographs of a ‘present version of her’.



"Khrushchevka" by Snezhana Von Buedingen

2017 Professional Competition, Shortlisted, Portraiture

Architecturally similar "Khrushchevka" buildings are impossible to ignore in Russia. Planned as temporary housing for the Soviet people and built en masse under the reign of Khrushchev, the buildings define the image of Russian metropoles till now. The discrepancy between the collectivist intentions of their builders and the individuality and diversity of the people who inhabit them was the starting point for my project. Just as the facades are so similar, so different are the inhabitants and the little worlds they create for themselves."



"Fragile Beauty" by Paul Sanders

2017 Professional Competition, Shortlisted, Still Life

This series of portraits of flowers, mostly found by the roadside or in fields shows the delicate, fragile beauty of these plants that mask their inner strength as they battle to survive the harsh environment around them, I feel they mirror my own battle to over depression and anxiety, in the flowers I see the sadness coupled with the outward facing smiling face that the world sees.



"Greetings From Mars" by Julien Mauve

2016 Professional competition, Shortlist, Conceptual

It’s interesting to observe the way we act in front of the camera, how we include ourselves in the landscape, how the landscapes triggers the desire to affirm our presence. While this project is about space exploration and discovery, it’s also about our behaviour in front of landscapes and how we create pictures that will share our personal story with the world. It asks whether we travel to discover new places, a change of scene, new cultures, or whether we travel to look for pictures of ourselves and to prove that we exist.



"The Curse of Coal" by Espen Rasmussen

2016 Professional competition, Shortlist, Daily Life

Coal used to be the gold of West Virginia, but with the election of President Obama came new environmental regulations that, together with lower prices for coal, led to huge redundancies. The coal became a curse for many of the coal cities in West Virginia. In 1940, 140,000 people worked in these mountains but today only about 15,000 are left in the coal business. Towns like Beckley and Mullens have few other sources of income. Drugs, pills, alcohol and violence are prevalent in many places, and many young people are forced to leave in search of work.