2018 Sony World Photography Awards: Overall Winners Revealed
At a glittering ceremony in the heart of London’s West End, The World Photography Organisation unveiled the overall winners of the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
The illustrious title of Photographer of the Year was handed to British photographer Alys Tomlinson for her series Ex-Voto, which scooped her a windfall of $25,000. Alys’ work was celebrated by the judging panel for its beautiful production, technical excellence and sensitive illustration of pilgrimage as a journey of discovery and sacrifice to a greater power.
Alys was selected from the 10 category winners of the Professional competition who were announced today alongside those in 2nd and 3rd place in each Professional category. The overall winners of the Awards’ Open (best single image), Youth and Student Focus competitions were also revealed.
Photographer of the Year – Alys Tomlinson
British Ex-Voto is a personal project by London-based photographer Tomlinson. Her winning work encompasses formal portraiture, large format landscape and small, detailed still-life images of the ‘ex-votos’ [offerings of religious devotion] found at pilgrimage sites of Lourdes [France], Ballyvourney [Ireland] and Grabarka [Poland]. The photographer mainly explores themes of environment, belonging and identity. She recently completed an MA [Distinction] in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage and has been recognised by a number of photography prizes.
Tomlinson said on the night: “I am very surprised to have won, there is so much amazing photography in this competition. This is a huge boost both personally and professionally. It’s a project I invested so much in, so this recognition makes it all worth it.”
All winners were flown to the ceremony in London and took home Sony camera kit, saw themselves being published in the winners’ book and their work will also be shown as part of the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London.
Outstanding Contribution to Photography recipient Candida Höfer was also at the ceremony to collect her prize.
Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the Sony World Photography Awards is the world’s most diverse photography competition. The 11th edition saw a record-breaking 320,000 submissions by photographers from more than 200 countries and territories, presenting some of the world’s finest contemporary photography captured over the past year. The Awards’ annual London exhibition brings together the best established and emerging talent from around the world, providing winning and shortlisted photographers the opportunity to showcase their work on an international stage.
Open Photographer of the Year – Veselin Atanasov
Bulgarian Selected from 10 category winners as the best single image in the world, Atanasov is recognised for his work Early Autumn and received a $5,000 prize. An IT specialist, Atanasov is a self-taught photographer who began shooting in 2014. The winning photograph captures autumn in the Central Balkan National Park.
Professional category winners and finalists
From the insightful documentation of worldwide cultural and political events to showcasing the natural world, the photographers below were selected by judges as the best series of photographs in the world.
Architecture: Gianmaria Gava – Italy. Project name ‘Buildings’
2nd Edgar Martins, Portugal, 3rd Corentin Fohlen, France
Contemporary Issues: Fredrik Lerneryd – Sweden. Project name ‘Slum Ballet’
2nd Margaret Mitchell, Britian, 3rd Alfio Tommasini, Swiss
Creative: Florian Ruiz – France. Project name ‘The White Contamination’
2nd Patricia Kühfuss, Germany, 3rd Eduardo Castaldo, Italy
Current Affairs & News: Mohd Samsul Mohd Said – Malaysia. Project name ‘Life Inside the Refugee Camp’
2nd Luis Henry Agudelo Cano, Colombia, 3rd Rasmus Flindt Pedersen, Denmark
Discovery: Alys Tomlinson – Britain. Prioject name ‘Ex-Voto’
2nd Antonio Gibotta, Italy, 3rd Maria Petrenko, Ukrain
Landscape: Luca Locatelli – Italy. Project name ‘White Gold’
2nd Rohan Reilly, Ireland, 3rd Tomasz Padlo, Poland
Natural World & Wildlife: Roselena Ramistella – Italy. Project name ‘Deep Land’
2nd Mitch Dobrowner, America, 3rd Wiebke Haas, Germany
Portraiture: Tom Oldham – Britain. Project name ‘The Last of The Crooners’
2nd Anush Babajanyan, Armenia, 3rd Andrew Quilty, Australia
Sport: Balazs Gardi – Hungary. Project name ‘Buzkashi’
2nd Behnam Sahvi, Iran, 3rd Matteo Armellini, Italy
Still Life: Edgar Martins – Portugal. Project name ‘Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes’
2nd place Tristan Spinski, America, 3rd Werner Anderson, Norway
Youth Photographer of the Year – Megan Johnson  – America.
Open to photographers aged 12-19, Johnson was awarded for her image Still.. Shot on the cliffs near her house in Connecticut, the black and white image captures the complex and intricate solitude the photographer faces in everyday life. Student Photographer of the Year – Samuel Bolduc, Canadian, Age 20 Bolduc was chosen by the judges from students worldwide for his photographic series The Burden. The work beautifully illustrates the physical burden of plastic waste in the environment to highlight the urgent need to halt plastic pollution. Bolduc represented College de Matane, Quebec and has won €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for the institution.
Outstanding Contribution to Photography – Candida Höfer
As one of the world’s foremost contemporary photographers, German artist Candida Höfer is renowned for her precise methodology and technique. Her powerful portraits of vast, empty interiors are held in collections around the world. The Awards recognise the artist for her contribution to the medium. The news of the overall winners joins the March announcement of 2018’s 10 Open competition category winners and 63 National Awards winners, to complete the announcements of 2018’s awards.
The 2018 Judging panel comprised of:
Professional competition: Mike Trow [Chair], Editor, photographer, producer and ex-Picture Editor, British Vogue, UK/ Naomi Cass, Director, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Australia / Clare Grafik , Head of Exhibitions, The Photographers’ Gallery, 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 & National Awards competitions: Zelda Cheatle, Curator
Student Focus competition: Reiner Opoku, international art agent and Co-Founder Parley for the Oceans, Germany / Whitney C. Johnson, Deputy Director of Photography at National Geographic, US.
All winning, shortlisted and commended images can be seen at the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London from April 20 – May 6.