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2018 Judges

The following experts from across the photographic industry will come together to decide the best images entered into the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. As always, the awards are free to enter for all photographers.

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The jury at a glance


Professional competition jury: Chair: Mike Trow, Picture Editor, British Vogue, UK / Naomi Cass, Director of Melbourne's Centre for Contemporary Photography,  UK / Gareth Harris, Chief Contributing Editor, The Art Newspaper, UK / Dewi Lewis, publisher, Dewi Lewis Publishing / Philip Tinari, Director, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), China

Open, Youth and National Awards competition: Chair, Zelda Cheatle, curator

Student Focus: Reiner Opoku, international art agent and Co-Founder Parley for the Oceans, Whitney C. Johnson, VP, Visual Experiences at National Geographic.



Professional competition 


Mike Trow, Editor, Photographer, Curator, UK
Chair, Professional competition

Mike Trow is a Picture Editor and portrait photographer. He began his career as a researcher and reportage agent for Colorific before roles as Picture Editor on magazines including Bizarre and Jack magazine.

He was at Vogue for almost 13 years, with February 2018 his last issue. There he led a team that commissioned, produced and art directed portrait, feature, fashion and still life shoots for the magazine. He lectures at colleges and universities and is a consultant on photography and production.



Clare Grafik, Head of Exhibitions, Photographers’ Gallery, UK
Professional competition Judge

Clare Grafik is Head of Exhibitions at The Photographers’ Gallery in London. She studied BA Joint Hons Philosophy/Art History at Leeds University and MA Image and Communications (Photography) at Goldsmiths College.

She has worked in a number of public institutions in London including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Hayward Gallery and National Portrait Gallery. At the The Photographers Gallery she has worked on projects with artists and photographers including Lise Sarfati, Isa Genzken, Larry Sultan/Mike Mandel, Taryn Simon, Katy Grannan, Antoine D’Agata, Cuny Janssen, Zineb Sedira and Keith Arnatt. Group exhibitions include ‘The Photographic Object’ (2009), ‘Photography & Collage’ (2012) and more recently 'Double Take: Photography & Drawing’ (2016).

She has been a Sessional Lecturer at Birkbeck College, London, has lectured at institutions including University of the Arts, University of South Wales, Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and written for magazines including IANN and Art Monthly. She is a Forthcoming projects include an exhibition on Children's Photobooks with The Photographers’ Gallery in collaboration with 3 other European venues. 

Philip Tinari, Director, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), China
Professional competition judge

Philip Tinari has served as director of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), the museum at the heart of Beijing's 798 Art District, since late 2011. During his tenure, he has mounted more than sixty exhibitions and organized a wide range of public programs and development activities. His program has introduced to China major international artists including Robert Rauschenberg, William Kentridge, Taryn Simon, Tino Sehgal and David Diao, and has tracked the evolving Chinese art scene through retrospectives and surveys of artists including Zeng Fanzhi, Liu Wei, Xu Zhen, Wang Xingwei, Kan Xuan, and Gu Dexin, as well as initiatives focused on emerging artists such as the 2013 survey “ON | OFF: China's Young Artists in Concept and Practice,” the international group exhibition “The New Normal: China, Art, and 2017,” and the ongoing series of project-based solo exhibitions “New Directions.”

Prior to joining UCCA, Tinari was founding editor of the Beijing-based art magazine LEAP. He is a contributing editor of Artforum, having previously served as founding editor of that magazine's online Chinese edition. He holds degrees from Duke and Harvard, and is currently a D.Phil. candidate in art history at Oxford. He is co-curator, with Alexandra Munroe and Hou Hanru, of the exhibition “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World,” which opens at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in October 2017.



Dewi Lewis, publisher, Dewi Lewis Publishing, UK
Professional competition judge  

Dewi Lewis established his publishing house in 1994. Internationally known, its authors have included photographers such as Bruce Gilden, Martin Parr, Simon Norfolk, Pentti Sammallahti, Paolo Pellegrin, Sergio Larrain, and Anders Petersen as well as many younger emerging photographers. A founding member of The European Publishers Award for Photography, which ran for 22 years from 1994 to 2016, he continues to work in close collaboration with a number of European publishers.

An Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, he was awarded the Society’s inaugural RPS Award for Outstanding Service to Photography in 2009, and in 2012, the Kraszna-Krausz Foundation presented him with an award for Outstanding Contribution to Publishing at the Sony World Photography Awards.

In 2014 Dewi Lewis Publishing received the PHotoEspana’s prize for Outstanding Publishing House of the Year.

He has acted as Jury member for several major competitions, as a portfolio reviewer at innumerable events, and as a ‘Master’ for the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclasses for a three year period. As well as his own book, Publishing Photography, he writes occasional texts on photography and has curated exhibitions.



Gareth Harris, Chief Contributing Editor, The Art Newspaper, UK
Professional competition judge

Gareth Harris is an established freelance arts and culture journalist. He is chief contributing editor at The Art Newspaper, the "art world bible" where he began his journalism career in 2003. He has contributed numerous articles to the Financial Times, and has written for The New York Times, Vogue, The Guardian, and The Independent.





Credit: John GollingsNaomi Cass, Director of Melbourne's Centre for Contemporary Photography, Australia
Professional competition judge

As Director of the Centre for Contemporary Photography (CCP), Naomi Cass is renowned for her innovation in the fields of Australian contemporary art, photography and video.  As a curator, writer and industry leader, Cass aligns CCP as a platform where contemporary photography and video converse with significant historical and international practice.  In a rapidly changing technical and creative landscape, CCP celebrates over 30 years of placing artists at the heart of its activities by providing experiences for aspiring creators; exhibition opportunities for early-career artists; commissioned research projects for mid-career artists and opportunity for established artists to experiment and take risks.  

In 2017, Cass took The Real and Other Places, an exhibition of Australian video art to PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai. Her recent exhibitions include: The documentary take: Walker Evans and selected Australian art, 2015, in concert with David Campany's exhibition, Walker Evans: the magazine workCrossing paths with Vivian Maier, 2014, True Self: David Rosetzky Selected Works, 2013, with Kyla McFarlane; The Collaborative Art of Wendy Ewald, 2012 with Karra Rees; and Simryn Gill: Inland, 2009.

As well as curating, writing and Directing CCP, Naomi Cass judges awards, presents folio reviews, advises university art schools and enables contemporary photography and video to flourish.

Photo credit: John Gollings.


Open, Youth & National Awards


Zelda Cheatle, Curator, UK
Chair, OpenYouth and National Awards 

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.

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).



Student Focus


Reiner Opoku, International Art Agent and Co-Founder Parley for the Oceans
Student Focus judge

Reiner Opoku is a Berlin-based Art Consultant and international Art agent. He has curated numerous international art exhibitions since the early 1980s, and is working with a variety of renowned contemporary artists. Opoku serves as an advisor and is responsible for aligning artists with some of the world’s leading brands by creating artists in residence programs, commissioned work for various brands permanent art collection and art related projects in that field. He was the founding director of St. Moritz Art Masters in Switzerland and a Co-Founder of Parley for the Oceans in New York City. Reiner Opoku is based in Berlin.

“Since the early 1980s, when I first got in contact with the ‘Young Wild Painters’ from Germany and from the United States, I realized that I wanted to work with artists. My experiences gained during the last decades helped me to take my know-how into the 21st Century, where the division between the creative forms is no longer existing in the way that it did before. Today, an artist collaborating with brands and institutions is not unusual anymore and the creative industry's strong influence on our society has become obvious as well. Nevertheless, there are still trusting people that are genuinely interested in translating, curating and conveying what artists are up to. After more than three decades of activities within the art world, I am still very proud to work with the precious good of art and with its creators. - Reiner Opoku


Whitney C. Johnson, VP, Visual Experiences at National Geographic
Student Focus judge

Whitney C. Johnson is the deputy director of photography at National Geographic, her latest role as an advocate and supporter of documentary photography

Prior to joining the magazine, she was the director of photography at The New Yorker where her work was widely recognized, earning awards from the American Society of Magazine Editors; Awards of Excellence from the Society of Publication Designers; and a Peabody, in collaboration with Human Rights Watch and the photographer Platon.

Johnson received a BA in American Literature from Barnard College, and completed MA coursework in American Studies at Columbia University. She serves on the boards of the Alexia Foundation and the W. Eugene Smith Fund.