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Alpha Female Award: Interview with Michaela Ions

3 years ago

Yesterday we announced the Alpha Female Award winner for 2020. Congratulations to Lily Dawson-Punshon, a young, passionate photographer from the UK who wins a range of Sony digital imaging kit. The prize recognizes leading female photographers who entered the Sony World Photography Awards 2020 Open competition. Aiming to promote international photographers embracing a range of subject matter, this Award acknowledges the rich diversity of photography today.    

To discover more about why the Award was set up and its affiliation with the Alpha Female programme, we talk to initiator Michaela Ions from Sony US. 

You initiated the Alpha Female programme, why? 
The Alpha Female program was born out of a desire for Sony to contribute to the elevation of diverse points-of-view in the industry we work in and love. We know that diversity in visual arts is paramount to its growth and influence in our culture, and we wanted to be a supporter in the quest for representation in photography and film.

Can you tell us why you decided to set up the Alpha Female Award category? Why did you think the Sony World Photography Awards was the ideal fit for this initiative?
The original program was created for residents of the United States and Canada, but requests from creators all around the world who also wanted to participate and have an opportunity to have their talents recognized poured in. We always intended for this to be a movement for diversity and growth across the industry regardless of location, so the next best step for us was to partner with the Sony World Photography Awards and open this category up to creators from everywhere in the world. SWPA’s track record in organizing high-caliber global photography competitions made it the ideal partner in expanding this program outside of North America, and we’re thrilled with the great talent pool we’ve discovered in this process. Alpha Female is a state of mind, and it’s fair to say that state of mind permeates all cultures around the world.  

The inaugural winner is Lily Dawson-Punshon. Lily is just at the beginning of her career (she is about to go to university to study the medium). How will Sony Alpha support her during the start of her career? 
We’re so excited to see Lily’s growth as she pursues her higher studies in photography and continues to evolve her voice as an artist and representative of the Alpha Female spirit. The first piece of support comes in the form of gear, of course—an A7R IV camera and suite of lenses, which will serve as the ultimate toolkit to express her vision. Sony also has a multitude of initiatives that are going to help Lily and artists like her as they go through their creative journeys, beginning with joining the amazing #AlphaFamily that includes some of the world’s most celebrated photographers and filmmakers, and continuing with the rich world of Alpha Universe, where we educate and inspire on a daily basis, and bring our community together to create magic. The Sony Alpha brand stands proudly for the creator community, and is dedicated to the growth of visual artists everywhere, so we’re thrilled to welcome Lily into its fold and see where this opportunity takes her next.

Read more about the Alpha Female Award here