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2018 Sony World Photography Awards Winners Give a Sneak-Preview of New, Grant-Funded Works

The World Photography Organisation has released a selection of images taken from four new collections of work from photographers, which have been produced as a result of Sony Grants awarded during the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards program. 

All of the photographers awarded grants were selected from the winners of the Sony World Photography Awards programme’s Professional category in early 2018. The recipients are as follows:

Alys Tomlinson [UK], Luca Locatelli [Italy], Tom Oldham [UK] & Balazs Gardi [Hungary]. 

During the glittering awards event in London’s Park Lane in April 2018, each of the photographers was awarded $7,000 and the latest, cutting-edge Sony camera kit. This, along with the freedom to produce completely new works or to utilise the grant to develop a long-term project. Shot entirely using Sony cameras, the new works address global and personal concerns and were shot across Belarus, Italy, France, the United States and the UK. A selection of works will be exhibited during the Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition which will take place at London’s Somerset House in London, April 2019.

The four Pro Sony grants:

Alys Tomlinson was named as the 2018 Photographer of the Year and took 1st Place in the Professional Discovery category. Alys applied the Sony Grant to develop her ongoing project Ex-Voto. In her extended body of work, she has used both film and photography to focus on the story of a Belarusian nun, Vera.

Living in a rural convent, Vera has an intense and spiritual connection with the wild horses she looks after on the convent’s farm. Other duties include teaching vulnerable men and women [including drug addicts, ex-convicts, domestic abuse survivors and the homeless] new skills, to help them recuperate and find purpose in life. Influenced by Polish and Russian filmmakers, Tomlinson intimately explores Vera’s story using personal accounts and drawing on history, tradition and the power of faith.

Describing her work, Tomlinson said: The Sony Grant enabled me to travel to Belarus to document life inside a convent with Sr. Vera [featured in my series ‘Ex-Voto’]. It was a fascinating experience and I was given access to a world often hidden from view. The Grant has given me freedom to experiment with digital and moving image, allowing me to develop my practice and challenge myself creatively” 

Copyright: © Alys Tomlinson, United Kingdom, Professional Sony Grant Recipient, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Copyright: © Alys Tomlinson, United Kingdom, Professional Sony Grant Recipient, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.

Luca Locatelli scooped 1st Place in the Professional Landscape category and has gone on to use the grant to create a new body of work as part of his ongoing five-year project MATERIA: How we live on this planet, which explores humanity’s reactions to the growing environmental and population strains on earth. He has focused on capturing images of two major European cities that he feels combine tradition and modernity – London [UK] and Milan [Italy]. He uses these contemporary cityscapes to imaginatively suggest possible views of the future. 

Locatelli said: “As we know, today most of humanity is living in a city and the struggle to improve the quality of our lives in cities is one of the most pressing targets on the planet’s agenda. The fabric and appearance of European cities often combines history and modernity. For the Sony Grant, I have focused on this quality and used it to offer a visual projection of our urban future.” 

Copyright: © Luca Locatelli, Italy, Professional Sony Grant Recipient, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Copyright: © Luca Locatelli, Italy, Professional Sony Grant Recipient, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.

Tom Oldham took 1st Place in the Professional Portraiture category and has gone on to explore ‘Ball Culture’, LGBTQ+ community events which originated in 1970s Harlem. Centred around competitions between ‘Houses’, the balls involve dancers performing in battles and ‘walks’ on a catwalk before a panel of judges. In his series titled Shoot An Arrow and Go Real High, Tom travelled to Paris, New York and London to photograph portraits of the incredibly diverse range of characters and costumes participating in these events.

Tom said: “The Sony Grant has enabled me to expand my project from local to global. It has truly broadened my perspective on the scene I’m shooting and I’m very grateful for the far more rounded shape the work now enjoys. The Grant believes in helping photographers hit their next goals, helping them reach beyond the point at which they may have settled without it – which is a wonderful thing.”

Copyright: © Tom Oldham, United Kingdom, Professional Sony Grant Recipient, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Copyright: © Tom Oldham, United Kingdom, Professional Sony Grant Recipient, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.

Balazs Gardi won 1st position in the Professional Sport category and has focused his new series Can I Play? on the healing and uniting power of soccer in the local immigrant community in his hometown of Oakland, California. He focuses particularly on a group of young people who have moved to the States from places of unrest across the world, and explores how the sport has helped them find an identity in their circumstances.

Commenting on his series, Gardi said: “Not long after I moved to Oakland, California, it was named the most diverse city in the United States. As Americans were becoming more and more polarized in their attitudes towards immigrants I was looking out for ways to meet them. Soccer Without Borders started to work with immigrant and refugee youth over a decade ago and I feel very fortunate to be able to photograph their extraordinary effort to build a lasting community and help these kids navigate their newly found home. The Sony Grant has not only helped me to continue working with this vibrant community but also provides the much needed platform for the work to be seen around the world.”

Copyright: © Balazs Gardi, United Kingdom, Professional Sony Grant Recipient, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Copyright: © Balazs Gardi, United Kingdom, Professional Sony Grant Recipient, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.

Now in its 12th year, the Sony World Photography Awards celebrate the finest contemporary photography from the past 12 months across all genres of the medium. Plus, all entries are free at www.worldphoto.org/swpa

The Student competition closes for submissions November 30, 2018, Open and Youth competitions close January 4, 2019 and the Professional competition on January 11, 2019.

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