Sony World Photography:
Open and Professional Awards

The internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards is one of the most important fixtures in the global photographic calendar. Now in its 17th year, the competition is a global voice for image-making, providing a vital insight into contemporary creativity today. For both established and emerging artists, the Open and Professional Competition offer world-class opportunities for exposure of their work. Overall winners of both awards will be announced on the 18 April. Selected winning and shortlisted images will also be shown at Somerset House from 19 April – 6 May. Here, we’re highlighting five captivating shots from this year’s categories, spanning spellbinding portraiture to captivating architectural compositions.

Anna Neubauer, The Beauty of Humanity II
Austria | Professional Competition, Portrait Shortlist

Austrian photographer Anna Neubauer uses portraiture to focus on people with visible and invisible differences. The artist explains, “For me, diversity does not exist without inclusion.  I’ve realised that as a photographer, I’ve got the transformative power to show how beautiful differences are, and to contribute to a more open, diverse, and inclusive society. With my work, I am moving away from traditional stereotypes by creating images that promote acceptance, kindness and honesty.”

Karol Palka, Spa Island
Germany | Professional Competition, Architecture and Design Shortlist

Although small in size, the country of Slovakia is rich in springs of natural healing water. Spa culture has been a part of the region’s lifestyle for hundreds of years, and has become part of a secular ritual for some. In 1947 a special bathing congress divided 50 Slovak spa localities into three categories of importance: international importance, national importance and local importance. Karol Palka’s project examines the ways in which the architecture of spas allows those establishments to be spaces of community.

Ana Skobe, Falling Out of Time
Slovenia | Open Competition, Architecture Winner

The Punta del Hidalgo Lighthouse is an active lighthouse in Tenerife, rising up 50m above the ground. The reinforced concrete structure is a pearly white colour, made specially from white gravel and coloured concrete. Ana Skoobe captures the building in her winning photograph Falling out of Time, an image that depicts the sleek, tall form rising up from the ground. Its modern geometric design contrasts with a rocky coastal landscape – a drama that is further heightened by a solitary figure who looks out towards the sea.

Natalie Strohmaier, Unattainable Beauty
Germany | Open Competition, Object Shortlist

German photographer Natalie Strohmaier explores the artificial creation of beauty in her “flower models.” These structures are hand assembled using needles and wires, before being photographed in the studio. The artist adjusts the saturation, contrast, colour and brightness of the image, before using Photoshop to remove the needles and wires in the picture. The result is a playful and surreal still life; stalks are turned on their head, made to stand as if having feet. Their petals are turned upside down, emulating ruffled dresses.

Mackenzie Calle, The Gay Space Agency
USA | Professional Competition, Creative Shortlist

From the late 1950s, astronauts on NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs were required to take two heterosexuality tests, and in 1994, NASA asked “to include homosexuality as a psychiatrically disqualifying condition” for astronauts. Mackenzie Calle confronts this in The Gay Space Agency, a project that offers a counter-narrative to the history that has prevented the LGBTQ+ community from flying. The series, also shortlisted for the 2024 Aesthetica Art Prize, imagines a world of acceptance and opportunity.

Sony World Photography Awards |

Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition | 9 April – 6 May

Image Credits:

1. © Siu Hang Andrew Tsang, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Open Competition, Architecture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

2. © Anna Neubauer, Austria, Finalist, Professional competition, Portrait, 2024 Sony World Photography Awards

3. © Karol Palka, Poland, Finalist, Professional competition, Architecture & Design, 2024 Sony World Photography Awards

4. © Ana Skobe, Slovenia, Winner, Open Competition, Architecture, 2024 Sony World Photography Awards

5. © Natalie Strohmaier, Germany, Finalist, Open competition, Object, 2024 Sony World Photography Awards

6. © Mackenzie Calle, USA, Finalist, Professional competition, Creative Finalist, 2024 Sony World Photography Awards