Kickstarting this year’s Sony World Photography Awards announcement season are the shortlists for the Student and Youth competitions – and what a vibrant and varied collection they are!
As we start the results countdown for the overall winners, where Student Photographer of the Year and Youth Photographer of the Year will be revealed at a black-tie awards ceremony in London on 13 April, we delve into the shortlists (which we release today!) and the stories they depict.
Students worldwide were challenged to respond to the brief In a Changing World. Participating students needed to be between 18 to 30 years old and enrolled in photography-related courses at higher education institutions. Submissions had to be between five to ten images and show positive stories of development and progress. From the environment to technology to the way we work and live, topics could be varied and shot in any style and approach.
Entries to this year’s Student competition were the highest to date and the submissions were impressive in breadth and insight. Technology is a topic looked at by Bobby Cheung in Encyclopedia of Technology, where the photographer’s CGI-integrated photographs reflect the world’s technological growth and its positive impact on society, while in Resignify Maria Camila Ramirez Castañeda highlights our tech-driven world through her pictures of Medellín, which show how the city’s identity is evolving to align with it being Colombia’s first Special District of Science, Technology and Innovation.
Themes relating to family are shown in two very different projects: Nelly Farmiloe investigates her family roots in Rarotonga, the Cook Islands in ZK1AA and Lidan Xu presents a series of poetic images of her niece’s birthday in It’s A Girl Again.
Groups and communities and the challenges they face are looked at through Petra Basnakova’s Born of Sand and Sun, exploring the strength of the Bedouin community’s relationship to the desert, which sits at the heart of their culture and identity.
Finding the beauty of everyday random occurrences – a pedestrian walking into a shaft of light, a smoke ring appearing by a group of buildings – are seen by Kaiyu Dong in Mirage and Amy Gajjar’s series Look up to the Sky reminds us to take in the subtle changes of the natural world. British photographer Mary Ashokeji showcases a set of black & white portraits of young people absorbed in worship in her series Expressions of Worship, while Long Jing explores the fragility of tradition in Keep the Yunnan Opera.
Speaking about this year’s shortlist, Student competition judge Eliza Williams, Editor, Creative Review, says: "I really enjoyed looking through the entries to the Student competition: the calibre of the work was very high throughout, which has resulted in a really strong shortlist. It is exciting to see such compelling photographic talent coming through so early in their careers."
Interpreting the theme Your Everyday, photographers from around the world under the age of 19 could enter up to three single images for free from 1 June 2022 to 6 January 2023. Challenging passionate young photographers to capture their day-to-day, all techniques, genres and subject matters were embraced. This year’s Youth competition received more entries than ever before. Rich and diverse, the shortlists demonstrate the photographers’ impressive skill, technique and imagination.
Youth Photographer of the Year will be judged by Eric Schlosser, the Art Director for Tbilisi Art Fair. The overall winner, chosen from the shortlist, will receive a range of Sony digital imaging equipment plus inclusion in the annual Sony World Photography Awards exhibition and book.
From high-contrast street scenes to sunset shots of a horse mid-gallop, this year’s shortlist comprises photographers from around the world, each with a unique view of the world.
We’re sure you’ll agree these shortlists are an excellent start to this year’s results…stay tuned for future 2023 announcements!