Documenting the Present

Documenting the Present

The World Photography Organisation announce the overall winners of the Sony World Photography Awards 2018. From capturing the everyday to questioning current issues, international practitioners engage with the complexities of contemporary life. Through personal portraits, cultural investigations and ecological consciousness, the winning artists highlight the diversity of experience around the world.

British photographer Alys Tomlinson (UK) took away the prestigious Photographer of the Year title for Ex-Voto, a personal series which comprises formal portraits, monumental landscapes and detailed still life compositions. Recording the offerings of religious devotion found at pilgrimage sites in Lourdes, Ballyvourney and Grabarka, the collection draws a sensitive and technically nuanced portrait of the journey as one of discovery and transcendence. Ex-Voto ties into a wider interest in belonging and identity, whilst contributing to an ongoing environmental awareness.

Meanwhile, ecological issues are at the heart of Student Photographer of the Year Samuel Bolduc’s practice. The Burden highlights the scale of plastic waste in the natural landscape, illustrating the growing need for society to change attitudes towards packaging. The prize’s engagement with emerging photographers continues with Youth Photographer of the Year, awarded to practitioners aged 12-19. Megan Johnson’s Still captures the isolated landscape surrounding her home in Connecticut, emphasising a sense of isolation. Similar themes run through the work of Outstanding Contribution to Photography winner Candida Höfer, who is known for a prolific oeuvre of large-scale images of institutional and cultural interiors. By capturing the empty – yet strikingly grand – insides of theatres, libraries and opera houses, the practitioner examines conceptual ideas associated with public and private space.

Winners of the Professional competition, split into 10 categories, are: Gianmaria Gava (Italy) for Architecture;  Fredrik Lerneryd (Sweden) for Contemporary Issues; Florian Ruiz (France) for Creative; Mohd Samsul Mohd Said (Malaysia) for Current Affairs & News; Alys Tomlinson (UK) for Discovery; Luca Locatelli (Italy) for Landscape; Roselena Ramistella (Italy) for Natural World & Wildlife; Tom Oldham (UK) for Portraiture; Balazs Gardi (Hungary) for Sport and Edgar Martins (Portugal) for Still Life. Selected from these submissions, Open Photographer of the Year Veselin Atanasov’s (Bulgaria) Early Autumn captures the season in the Central Balkan National Park. The featured image is by Corentin Fohlen (France), who won 3rd place in the Architecture strand.

The winning, shortlisted and commended images are on display at the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London from 20 April – 6 May. Find out more here.

1. © Corentin Fohlen, France, Shortlist, Professional competition, Architecture, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.