Skip to main content

ZEISS Photography Award

Congratulations to Rory Doyle, who wins the 2019 ZEISS Photography Award with his series Delta Hill Riders, an ongoing series exploring the subculture of African cowboys and cowgirls in the rural Mississippi Delta. Read more about the winning and shortlisted series for this year's Award on our blog

Works from around the world were judged by Dagmar Seeland, Photo Editor and Writer, STERN magazine (Germany), Shoair Mavlian, Director, Photoworks (UK) and Simon Frederick, Artist, Photographer, Director and Broadcaster (UK).  Rory Doyle's Delta Hill Riders and a selection of the shortlist were shown at the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London, April 18 to May 6 2019.

To get more updates about the 2020 competition, sign up to our newsletter.

For the 2019 ZEISS Photography Award recipients were asked for a creative response to the brief of 'The Unexpected' that is driven by a strong and clear narrative. To be understood in its broadest sense, the brief challenges photographers to submit a series of five to ten images that look past the everyday and address something unforeseen or surprising – whether this is through the landscape and the physical environment, through human expression, emotion and interaction, through political or social causes or something more conceptual.  The unexpected element could be of global or very personal concern and may either showcase the familiar in a new way or shed light on something entirely different.

2019 winning and shortlisted images

See galleries

2018 winning and shortlisted images

See galleries

2017 winning and shortlisted images

See galleries

2016 winning and shortlisted images

See galleries




125 years of expertise 

Since 1890, ZEISS lenses have been writing history: they are not only used by the most sophisticated photo and film artists, they also documented pioneer achievements of mankind, such as the first moon landing in 1969.

“With outstanding optical designs and inventions, ZEISS has created milestones in the history of photography”, says Jörg Schmitz, Head of ZEISS Consumer Products. “With our lenses, we enable photographers to achieve exceptional imaging performance. And with the ZEISS Photography Award, we are demonstrating our commitment to high-quality photography.”

For the ZEISS Photography Award, ZEISS has partnered with the World Photography Organisation to support ambitious and inspiring photographers from all over the world. “We are excited about the creativity and quality of the artwork we see in this competition every year. We feel honored for the opportunity to help these promising photographers advance their international careers,” says Schmitz.

Discover more about ZEISS here.