It’s the penultimate announcement for the 16th edition of the Sony World Photography Awards and we’re delighted to share one of the most highly anticipated results: the Open competition category winners and shortlist. More than 200,000 images were entered into this year’s Open competition, which sets out to celebrate striking single images taken in 2022 across ten diverse categories. Each of the category winners receive digital imaging equipment from Sony, a certificate plus inclusion in the exhibition and book (as well as a free copy). The winners will go on to compete for the prestigious Open Photographer of the Year title and a $5,000 (USD) prize. This year’s Open competition was judged by Eric Schlosser, Art Director of Tbilisi Art Fair, Georgia.
We take a closer look at the ten category winners and the stories behind their striking shots. First up is Mark Benham, the Architecture category winner, for his image The Silos. Speaking about the image he says: ‘Taken from afar, this photograph of silos and associated buildings at the Port of Brest, France, appears to be a montage composite rather than the group of buildings that it actually is. To enhance this idea I changed the sky to a simple colour vignette that complimented the colours in the composition.’
Azim Khan Ronnie wins the Lifestyle category for the photograph Childhood. Reacting to his win, Ronnie says: ‘Really, I am very excited and happy to read this email that my photo wins a category. After five years of continuous participation, I finally heard this wonderful news. It will be a big achievement and milestone in my photography journey.’
Zhenhuan Zhou is the Motion category winner for the action-packed shot Slam on the Brakes. Remembering the story behind the shot, Zhou says: ‘Barrel racing is a competition where cowgirls ride quickly around barrels; the one that does this in the shortest time wins. Every time a horse reaches a barrel it needs to brake sharply, turn around the barrel and then race to the next one. The whole race is exciting, especially at the turns.’
Dinorah Graue Obscura is the Natural World and Wildlife winner for her image Mighty Pair. ‘I think that a good picture does not need colour, it just needs to capture the desired moment in time.’ She continues: ‘While I was shooting Crested Caracaras in flight in South Texas, I noticed these two, which were perched in a very similar way. They were staring in the same direction and not moving, almost as if they were posing for me. I was amazed by their powerful personalities.’ Dinorah was also the 2022 Alpha Female Award winner. Mieke Douglas wins the Object category for the photograph titled Recycled, where we see a creative rendition of flowers made from paper and ribbons. Sharing her excitement about the results, the photographer says: 'It's a dream come true to be successful in this competition and in such great company too. Huge thanks to the World Photography Organisation and the judge. I am honoured!’
The Portraiture category winner Sukhy Hullait rose to the top for their image Charlie. Sharing the subject’s story, the UK-based photographer says: ‘During the Covid-19 pandemic a lot of people found they had time on their hands. With most skateparks closed, Charlie – and many others – helped turn an abandoned pub car park, which had laid derelict for eight years, into a DIY skate park.’
Andreas Mikonauschke is the Street Photography category winner for Exhausted. Giving us context to this striking image, Mikonauschke explains ‘In Andalusia, the traditional Easter processions are a fascinating event to watch. The different brotherhoods (Hermandades) with their uniformed brothers (cofrades) are an everyday sight during the holy week, Semana Santa. Central elements of the processions are the heavy wooden frames (pasos) showing biblical scenes with one or more statues. These are carried through the streets by volunteer paso carriers underneath – usually one only sees their feet, but sometimes during the rare breaks one gets an impression of the tough job they have.’
Ghosts, by Max Vere-Hodge wins the Travel category. The photographer explains: ‘The Mundari tribe of South Sudan appear like apparitions among the nightly fires they light to keep the tsetse flies and mosquitoes off their beloved Ankole-Watusi cows. Each night, as the cattle return from grazing, the herders tend to them by massaging ash into their skin to prevent bites.’