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2017 Judges

The following experts from across the photographic industry will come together to decide the best images entered into the 10th anniversary of the world's largest photography competition, the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards.



The judges of the Professional competition are: Zelda Cheatle (Chair) Curator (UK); Allegra Cordero di Montezemolo, Curator and Head of Exhibitions, Centro de la Imagen, (Mexico); Russ O'Connell, Picture Editor, The Sunday Times Magazine (UK); Aida Muluneh, Founder/Director, Addis Foto Fest (Ethiopia); Denis Curti, Creative Director, Tre Oci Foundation (Italy) and Francoise Callier, Program Director at Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops (France).

The Open and Youth competitions will be chaired by journalist / photographer Damien Demolder (UK), who will also judge the National Awards competition which runs across 61 countries worldwide. The Student Focus competition will be judged by Andrea Kurland, Editor-in-Chief, Huck (UK), Dan Rubin, Photographer & Creative Director, London (UK) and Jennifer Shaw, Founder and creative director, PhotoNOLA (USA). 




Professional competition 


Zelda Cheatle (Chair of the Judges), Curator (UK)

Based in the UK, Zelda Cheatle is renowned for her pioneering work in establishing photography as art, through her extensive work as a highly sought after curator, lecturer, editor and consultant.

Zelda has worked in photography since graduating, starting in the Print Room of the Photographers Gallery, London before opening her own gallery, Zelda Cheatle Gallery, in London in 1989. For 16 years, the gallery exhibited work by early 20th-century maestros of the medium including Eve Arnold, Bernice Abbot, Abbas Kiarostami, Kertesz, Robert Frank and Bill Brandt amongst others, while consistently exhibiting and supporting emerging artists.

The gallery helped build private and corporate collections and Zelda continues to work with museums and public collections nationally as well as internationally.

Zelda is a consultant on multiple projects, is on the board of the Koestler Trust and their Arts Committee, helped create John Kobal Foundation (now Taylor Wessing at National Portrait Gallery, London), established the Photography Fund, is a nominator for Deutsche Borse and Prix Pictet competitions and an active member of the Academy for World Photography Organisation.  She is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Westminster, University of Ulster and Sothebys Institute.

She also curates and lectures internationally, most recently exhibiting Yan Preston Mother River in China at Three Gorges Museum, Chongqing, Wuhan Art Museum and Swatch Art Peace Hotel Shanghai. 

Most recently Zelda was Head Curator of the inaugural Dubai Photo Exhibition, one of the largest photography exhibitions ever produced with artworks by 129 photographers from 23 countries selected by 18 renowned curators. Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, Dubai Photo Exhibition is organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA).



Aida Muluneh, Founder/Director, Addis Foto Fest (Ethiopia)

Born in Ethiopia in 1974, Aïda left the country at a young age and spent her childhood between Yemen and England. After several years in a boarding school in Cyprus, she finally settled in Canada in 1985. In 2000, she graduated with a degree from the Communication Department with a major in Film from Howard University in Washington, D.C. After graduation she worked as a photojournalist at the Washington Post. Also as an exhibiting artist, a collection of her images can be found in the permanent collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art Hood Museum and the Museum of Biblical Art in the United State. She was the 2007 recipient of the European Union Prize in the Rencontres Africaines de la Photographie, as well as the 2010 winner of the CRAF International Award of Photography. She is also the founder and director of the first international photography festival the Addis Foto Fest in Ethiopia. Aida continues to curate and develop cultural projects with local and international institutions through her company DESTA (Developing and Educating Society Through Art) For Africa Creative Consulting PLC (DFA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She is currently getting ready for the 2016 Addis Foto Fest, one of the biggest Photo festivals in Africa.


Allegra Cordero di Montezemolo, Curator & Head of Exhibitions, Centro de la Imagen (Mexico)

Allegra Cordero di Montezemolo is curator and head of exhibitions at the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City. She received her BA in film and television at Centro University in Mexico City in 2008, and worked in film and commercial production assisting film luminaries such as screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière. Her interest in the convergence of cinema with other artistic disciplines led her to a curatorial position at the National Film Center in Mexico, conceiving and programming Sala 7, a project dedicated to approaching and reflecting on film through multimedia exhibitions. In addition, she was the assistant curator for the inaugural exhibition at the National Film Center’s Cinema Museum, now gallery. She was assistant curator and development coordinator for the Mexican Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennial, represented by Ariel Guzik. Currently, Cordero di Montezemolo is working on Technology, Audiovisual Media and Artistic Experimentation, a three-year research and curatorial project at the Centro de la Imagen. Other recent curatorial projects include Fotomuro Vol. I, Vol. II, and 1440, at the Centro de la Imagen. In 2015, she was apprentice curator in the Rolex Mentor and Protégés Arts Initiative, where she worked with Mentor Joseph Melillo, for the Rolex Arts Weekend and during a year of mentoring exchange. 


Denis Curti, Curator and Journalist (Italy)

Denis Curti is a curator and journalist, and the Director of the monthly magazine IL FOTOGRAFO. He is The founder and supervisor of the post university Master “Photography and visual design”, developed in collaboration with NABA and Fondazione FORMA. From 2005 to 2014 he was the Director of Contrasto – Milano and vice-president of Fondazione Forma a Milano. He has curated a number of exhibitions, including Elliott Erwitt – Gianni Berengo Gardin – Franco Fontana – Maurizio Galimberti – Magnum America – A due Minuti dal mondo (with Magnum Photos) Sebastião Salgado – Helmut Newton – Henri Cartier Bresson, and Giovanni Gastel.




Russ O'Connell, Picture Editor The Sunday Times Magazine (UK)

Russ O’Connell is Picture Editor of The Sunday Times Magazine, his latest step in a 14-year career within the photographic and magazine publishing Industry. He has worked for some of the biggest consumer publications in the UK market before fulfilling a lifelong ambition of working for The Sunday Times, famed for its history of printing the best in photojournalism, portraiture and photographic essays. He has worked with some of the best photographers in the world, commissioning assignments ranging from high-end celebrity portraiture, music and fashion shoots to in-depth reportage photography.




Francoise Callier, Program Director at Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops (France)

Born in Ghent – Belgium, Francoise has lived in Paris since 1983. She is currently the Program Director at Angkor Photo Festival & Workshops. She also curates for various festivals that help emerging Asian photographers and others show their work around the world. From 1983-1990 she was the photographer’s agent for Helmut Newton, Jean-Paul Goude, Max Vadukul and others.







Open & Youth competition


Damien Demolder, Photographer and Journalist (UK)

Damien is a photographer, journalist and photographic equipment expert, speaker, judge and educator. He has worked in the photographic publishing industry for 19 years, including 15 years at the world’s only weekly photo magazine, Amateur Photographer, where he was editor. He writes and tests for, British Journal of Photography, Amateur Photographer and a range of other UK and international publications. 
He uses a wide range of equipment, from wooden plate cameras to the latest DSLRs, is a great fan of the emerging compact system camera and all products that make good photography more accessible to more people. 
Although he specialises in street photography, he also shoots portraits, landscapes, architecture, natural macro and occasionally even wildlife and weddings. 




Student Focus


Andrea Kurland, Editor-in-Chief of Huck (UK)

Andrea Kurland is Editor-in-Chief of Huck, a premium print magazine, website and film channel that celebrates independent culture. Inspired by DIY principles, Huck roams the globe to document grassroots counterculture through original storytelling that champions the documentary form.

Prior to joining Huck in 2006 - a month before the first issue went to press - Andrea studied International Development and Politics. She's drawn to human stories that unfold on the fringes, at the pressure points where counterculture and power politics collide. She is interested in the creative potential of transmedia storytelling and is working to bring Huck's editorial voice to life as films, digital experiences and inclusive photography workshops that bridge the gap between readers and storytellers they admire. 

She has sat on the juries for Amnesty's Photojournalism Award 2016 and The Pilkington Prize 2015. 



Dan Rubin, Photographer & Artistic Director, London (UK)

Dan is a designer, photographer, and creative director based in London. Co-founder of both The Photographic Journal and webgraph, a design studio, and host of the Apple Event series Meet The iPhone Photographer, Dan speaks at conferences worldwide including An Event Apart, South by Southwest, UX London, and consults for startups and established brands around the world. One of Instagram's earliest beta-testers and a speaker at the world's first mobile photography conference, Dan also travels the globe on photographic commissions for select clientele including Barbour, Ducati, O2, RedBull, Travel + Leisure, Williams Martini, and more.




Jennifer Shaw, Founder and creative director, PhotoNOLA (USA)

Jennifer Shaw is the founder and creative director of PhotoNOLA, New Orleans’ annual photography festival. The festival showcases works from local and international artists, and is coordinated by the New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA) in partnership with museums and galleries citywide. Shaw was a founding officer of NOPA, non-profit arts organization whose mission is to encourage the understanding and appreciation of photography. She has juried contests and exhibitions for One One Thousand, Three Rivers Arts Festival,’s POPCAP 2014, Louisiana State University Student Art Show (2015, 2007) and GNOCC.  Her curatorial experience includes I’ll Be Your Mirror, Homespace Gallery, 2012; Gathering, A. Smith Gallery, 2015; as well as numerous PhotoNOLA exhibitions over the past ten years.

Shaw earned a BFA in photography at the Rhode Island School of Design (1994). She teaches the disappearing art of darkroom photography at the Louise S. McGehee School, in addition to pursuing her own photographic practice. Her photographs have been published widely, and are included in two recent monographs: Hurricane Story (Chin Music Press, 2011) and Nature/Nurture (North Light Press, 2012). Her work is held in collections, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.