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The Alpha Female Award: our favourites

1 year ago

From Andalusian horses, a Korean Baek-il party and a celebratory portrait of the Altai people’s affinity with the landscape, the images recognised in this year's Alpha Female Award are a vibrant collection that demonstrate the thrilling diversity of the photography community. Recognising female talent from around the globe, we can enjoy images from photographers based in Estonia, Taiwan, South Korea and Turkey – to name just a few.

A big congratulations goes to Adriana Colombo for her black & white image titled The World in my Hands. Using a short depth of field to her advantage, the well conceived portrait radiates the intimate bond between a mother and child. As well as exposure on the World Photography Organisation international digital platforms, Colombo receives Sony digital imaging kit to develop her vision.

Speaking about the winning image, Michaela Ions, Leader of Alpha Universe Platform & Alpha Female Program at Sony, says: 'This year’s winning photo elicits such emotion from the moment you see it, and the greatest part about it is that it means something different to everyone. When you can achieve that connection with your audience as a visual artist, you know you have something special on your hands.' 

We've highlighted our few of our favourites images from this year's shortlist and shares with you, in the photographers' own words, the stories behind each striking shot. 

© Ekaterina Kulakova, Russian Federation, Shortlist Alpha Female Award, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

'The whisper of the wind, the calmness of the Altai mountains, the foggy peaks that stretch along the horizon of the Kurai steppe. Her chest is filled with the breath of freedom, and her spirit flies over the fields and along the mountains, following the wind. Her hands are lifted up by the overwhelming sense of reverence for Mother Nature. This is a photo of a beautiful Altai girl in traditional costume and is part of my ongoing project, dedicated to preserving our cultural heritage in order to draw attention to the beauty, value and respect of each nationality.'

© Höije Nuuter, Estonia, Shortlist Alpha Female Award, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

'The ball in this image was originally a Christmas decoration. I couldn’t find a pure matte, white, ball in the shops, so I painted one instead. I then took a series of images in a quarry and made a composite of the two separate images in Photoshop.'

© Heun Jung Kim, Korea, Republic Of, Shortlist Alpha Female Award, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

'The Korean Baek-il party is a centuries-old tradition. It celebrates a child’s 100th day, and came into being because of Korea’s high infant mortality rate during the 18th century. On the 100th day, a family traditionally prays and gives food offerings to thank the Shaman Spirit of Childbirth for the child having survived this difficult period. During the celebration, parents dress their babies in the traditional Korean Hanbok, as worn by my niece Ha Ru in this image. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, relatives and friends joined in a video call to celebrate this memorable moment for my niece. This portrait shows my younger sister, Tae Jung, celebrating this milestone with her daughter, and is an attempt to reflect on the vulnerability of life and the strength of motherhood during these unprecedented times.'

© Tatyana Nemova, Russian Federation, Shortlist Alpha Female Award, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

The World Photography Organisation team loved this photograph of an Andalusian horse, admiring the delicacy of the image and close cropping of the subject. The elegance of the animal is encapsultated. 



Now in its second year, the Award stems from the Sony Alpha Universe’s Alpha Female initiative, which focuses on creating opportunities for professional photographers, videographers, and filmmakers to help foster a richer, more diverse industry where all creators can build strong voices and bodies of work. Working with the World Photography Organisation, Sony have expanded the programme globally by recognising female photographers entering the Sony World Photography Awards Open competition. Aiming to promote and celebrate the rich diversity of the medium from an international perspective, the winning female photographer receives Sony digital imaging equipment and worldwide exposure through a dedicated online media campaign.