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Planning a day out in London? Six reasons to see the Sony World Photography Awards

By Anna Bonita Evans | 11 months ago

The UK capital is brimming with 1001 arts-related activities to inspire you, so if you’re after that one great cultural day out how do you sift through the endless list of attractions to make sure you get the most out of your trip to the city?

Open for just over three weeks, the Sony World Photography Awards is your chance to see some of the best photography from around the globe this Spring. Standout single images and bodies of work leading in quality, originality, inspiration, aesthetic, narrative and authenticity will be shown in the heart of London at the atmospheric Somerset House – a space designed for today’s audiences and creatives. If you’re looking for a something out of the ordinary this Easter break or May bank holiday, have a read of some highlights from the exhibition to excite and inspire you.

1. Astonishing number of exceptional images on show  
Around 800 winning and shortlisted print and digital works will take over the East and West wings of Somerset House from April 18 to May 6. With BBC News describing the competition full of 'stunning images capturing the world around us' and the Evening Standard stating the exhibition is full of 'incredible images' the Sony World Photography Awards has cemented its prestige with the high quality photography it showcases and celebrates. The images you'll see have been drawn from entries to Professional, Student, Open and Youth competitions, as well as the National Awards, Sony Grant programmes, The Swap Project and the ZEISS Photography Award. 
2. Curated by a leader in the photography industry 
This year’s exhibition has been curated by Editor, Photographer 
and Consultant Mike Trow, who was also this year’s 2019 Professional competition judging chair. Since 2005 Mike has been the Commissioning Photo Editor at British Vogue and has been a photographer for 24 years. Speaking about the curation for the 2019 display – which takes a different format to previous years – Mike says: 'I’d like visitors to the exhibition to be challenged a little bit, to wonder why we’ve chosen certain images...and to get the feeling that they’re seeing the world in a different way.” Expect to see works that push the boundaries of photography and challenge your pre-conceptions. 

3. Outstanding Contribution to Photography: Nadav Kander 
Don’t miss the substantial display of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to Photography Nadav Kander. Taking over half of the East 
wing, works on show include Bodies: 6 Women, 1 Man; Dust; Dream Girls; Yangtze, the Long River and Dark Line: The Thames Estuary, God’s Country and Signs we Exist. This is unique selection of acclaimed and lesser-known series and a rare opportunity to witness the artist’s varied imagery all in one space. The exhibition also has areas dedicated to his portraiture and The Edge of the Stream, the latter a moving image work with music by Max Richter which takes over one of the rooms to powerful effect. Read our interview with Nadav Kander here


4. Truly international in its scope and subject matter 
The successful images 
were selected from more than 326,000 submissions from across 195 countries and territories – the highest number of entries in the Awards’ 12-year history. The show's subtext the strong narrative seen in almost all of the works. Visual storytelling is a key criteria in the judging process: reading images not only expands our understanding and appreciation of the world we live in but brings the sophisticated language of photography back into sharp focus. From portraiture to landscape, architecture to wildlife, documentary to fine art photography, the diversity of this year's imagery highlights how the medium is very much alive. 

5. Sony Grant programmes 
Work from Sony Grant recipients can also be seen in the West wing. The Sony Grant programme was introduced in 2016 to support photographers 
recognised in the Sony World Photography Awards. This year work by Alys Tomlinson, Luca Locatelli, Tom Oldham and Balazs Gardi will be exhibited. Each photographer was given $7,000 (USD) and the latest Sony digital imaging equipment in April 2018 to either create new work of their choice or develop a long-term project. Aiming to raise each recipients' profile by creating new work to help establish new connections in the photography industry, the Grant reinforces how World Photography Organisation, with Sony, are always looking how to develop our support of individual photographers. Discover more about the Sony Grant here.  

6. An insight to other World Photography Organisation initiatives
Closing the 2019 exhibition are two further photography initiatives from 
World Photography Organisation: the selected works from the ZEISS Photography Award shortlist and the ten winning images from The Swap Project, a collaboration with creativehub. The Swap Project invited the global photography community to swap their best images with one another. 


We'll be revealing more about what to expect from the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition over the next few weeks, but in the meantime book your tickets now to not miss sensational images from leading photographers around the globe.