Sony World Photography Awards 2021 Winners Announced

The World Photography Organisation has announced the overall winners in the Sony World Photography Awards 2021.

The Photographer of the Year title and accompanying $25,000 (USD) cash prize and a range of Sony’s digital imaging kit is awarded to the documentarian Craig Easton (United Kingdom) for his series Bank Top. Also announced are the ten category winners alongside 2nd and 3rd place of the Professional competition as well as overall winners of the Open, Student and Youth competitions.

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Winners are revealed in a celebratory announcement video hosted by CEO of the World Photography Organisation Scott Gray and TV and radio presenter and author Konnie Huq.

The video features interviews, behind-the-scenes clips and reactions from winning photographers and is available to view here.

Craig Easton United Kingdom Professional Portraiture 2021

Bank Top, © Craig Easton, United Kingdom, Photographer of the Year, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

Also unveiled is a virtual exhibition of winning and finalists’ work; A Year in Photos from the Sony World Photography Awards 2021, a specially commissioned documentary feature hosted by art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar; and a free digital copy of the Sony World Photography 2021 book all available to view and download.

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Bank Top, a collaboration with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafiz, examines the representation and misrepresentation of communities in northern England, focusing on the tight-knit neighbourhood of Bank Top in Blackburn.

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The project forms part of Easton’s wider work in the region including Thatcher’s Children (2nd place, Documentary Projects, 2021 Professional competition,), an investigation into the chronic nature of poverty as experienced by three generations of one family; and Sixteen (shortlisted in the Portraiture category of the 2017 Awards), a look into the dreams, aspirations and fears of 16 year-olds from all walks of life.

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Bank Top is a result of the Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery initiative Kick Down the Barriers, a project instigated in response to media reports portraying the town as the ‘the most segregated in Britain’.

Commenting on his win Easton says: “I am delighted to have this work recognised by the Sony World Photography Awards. I photograph to learn, to try to understand and to document and share stories. It is a privilege to be able to do so and to challenge perceptions and stereotypes – something that is especially important to me. To have these stories from underrepresented or misrepresented communities in northern England where I live recognised and shared worldwide is wonderful.”

Claudia Mauderer South Africa Student Competition 2021
Claudia Mauderer South Africa Student Competition 2021


Winning photographers in the Professional competition have been selected by a panel of expert judges for submitting an outstanding body of work of five to ten images, ranging from stories of local importance to issues of global significance, quiet moments of resilience to creative brilliance and playfulness. All category winners receive Sony’s digital imaging kit. This year’s winners are:

WINNER: Tomáš Vocelka (Czech Republic) for his series Eternal Hunting Grounds
Finalists: 2nd place Frank Machalowski (Germany); 3rd place Gu Guanghui (China Mainland)

WINNER: Mark Hamilton Gruchy (United Kingdom) for his series The Moon Revisited
Finalists: 2nd place Luigi Bussolati (Italy); 3rd place Sasha Bauer (Russian Federation)

WINNER: Vito Fusco (Italy) for his series The Killing Daisy
Finalists: 2nd place Craig Easton (United Kingdom); 3rd place Lorenzo Tugnoli (Italy)

Sandi Bertoncelj Slovenia Open Motion 2021
Sandi Bertoncelj Slovenia Open Motion 2021

WINNER: Simone Tramonte (Italy) for his series Net-zero Transition
Finalists: 2nd place Mohammad Madadi (Islamic Republic of Iran); 3rd place Antonio Pérez (Spain)

WINNER: Majid Hojjati (Islamic Republic of Iran) for his series Silent Neighborhoods
Finalists: 2nd place Andrea Ferro (Italy); 3rd place Fyodor Savintsev (Russian Federation)

WINNER: Laura Pannack (United Kingdom) for her submission Portfolio Overview
Finalists: 2nd place Brais Lorenzo (Spain); 3rd place Loli Laboureau (Argentina)

WINNER: Craig Easton (United Kingdom) for his series Bank Top
Finalists: 2nd place Julia Fullerton-Batten (United Kingdom); 3rd place Jane Hilton (United Kingdom)

WINNER: Anas Alkharboutli (Syrian Arab Republic) for his series Sport and Fun Instead of War and Fear
Finalists: 2nd place Patrick Meinhardt (Spain); 3rd place Farzam Saleh (Islamic Republic Of Iran)

Khanh Phan Vietnam Open Travel 2021
Khanh Phan Vietnam Open Travel 2021

WINNER: Peter Eleveld (Netherlands) for his series Still Life Composition, Shot on Wet Plate
Finalists: 2nd place Alessandro Pollio (Italy); 3rd place Paloma Rincon (Spain)

WINNER: Luis Tato (Spain) for his series Locust Invasion in East Africa
Finalists: 2nd place Graeme Purdy (United Kingdom); 3rd place Angel Fitor (Spain)

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The Open competition celebrates the power of single images. Winning photographs are selected for their ability to communicate a remarkable visual narrative combined with technical excellence. Chosen from ten Open category winners, Tamary Kudita (Zimbabwe) is Open Photographer of the Year 2021 and the recipient of the $5,000 (USD) cash prize, Sony’s digital imaging equipment and global exposure.

Kudita won for her outstanding portrait African Victorian submitted to the Creative category. The photograph depicts a young black woman dressed in a Victorian dress and holding traditional Shona cooking utensils. The image probes at stereotypical contextualising of the black female body and offers an alternative visual language through which a multifaceted African identity is presented.

Speaking of her win Kudita says: ‘African Victorian pays tribute to the contemporary being who is also rooted in history. I am deeply honoured to have been chosen as the winner of the Open competition. This award is a testament to the role we play as creators in shaping visual culture. A central notion in my work is the importance of African representation and I am thankful to have received the opportunity to put Zimbabwean art on the map.’

Martina LoCasto Italy Open Travel 2021
Martina LoCasto Italy Open Travel 2021

Coenraad Heinz Torlage (South Africa) of the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography has been awarded Student Photographer of the Year 2021, winning €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for his institution. Torlage was chosen for his series Young Farmers, created in response to the brief Our Time which asked students to depict the way they and their contemporaries see the world and how they plan to change it for the better.

Selected from six category winners, Pubarun Basu (India, 19 years-old) has won Youth Photographer of the Year 2021for his image No Escape from Reality. In the photograph the shadows of railings projected onto curtains create the illusion of cage bars from behind which a pair of hands is seen as if trying to break through. The illusion of shadows and hands gesture convey a sense of entrapment shared by so many across the world this past year. For his win Basu receives Sony’s digital imaging kit and global exposure.


This year’s Outstanding Contribution to Photography has been awarded to the acclaimed Mexican photographic artist Graciela Iturbide. Widely recognised as Latin America’s greatest living photographer, Iturbide’s work offers a photographic account of Mexico since the late 1970s and is celebrated for its defining contribution to the country’s visual identity. In images of everyday life and its culture alongside those of ritual and religion, Iturbide’s work explores her country’s many complexities and contradictions, questioning its inequalities and highlighting the tensions between the urban and rural, modern and indigenous.



Category Winner:
Tomáš Vocelka, Czech Republic
2nd place: Frank Machalowski, Germany
3rd place: Gu Guanghui, China Mainland
Leonardo Costa Braga, Brazil
Peter Franck, Germany
Arvind Jayashankar, Belgium
Luca Locatelli, Italy
Karin Nützi-Weisz, Switzerland

Paloma Rincon Spain Professional Still Life 2021
Paloma Rincon Spain Professional Still Life 2021

Category Winner:
Mark Hamilton Gruchy, United Kingdom
2nd place: Luigi Bussolati, Italy
3rd place: Sasha Bauer, Russian Federation
Andrea Alkalay, Argentina
Delphine Blast, France
Ilka & Franz, Germany
Julia Keil, Germany
Kyung-Hoon Kim, South Korea
Niloofar Mahmoudian, Islamic Republic of Iran
Michelle Watt, United States

Category Winner:
Vito Fusco, Italy
2nd place: Craig Easton, United Kingdom
3rd place: Lorenzo Tugnoli, Italy
Marcos Azulay, Argentina
Ingmar Björn Nolting, Germany
Justyna Gorniak, Poland
Tomasz Lazar, Poland
Jose Manuel Lopez, Spain
Agnieszka Maruszczyk, Poland
Alexey Pavlov, Russian Federation

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Category Winner:
Simone Tramonte, Italy
2nd place: Mohammad Madadi, Islamic Republic of Iran
3rd place: Antonio Pérez, Spain
Felipe Fittipaldi, Brazil
Antonio Faccilongo, Italy
Alessandro Gandolfi, Italy
Li Wentao, China Mainland

Category Winner:
Majid Hojjati, Islamic Republic of Iran
2nd place: Andrea Ferro, Italy
3rd place: Fyodor Savintsev, Russian Federation
Niklas Eschenmoser, Switzerland
Mehrdad Fathi, Islamic Republic of Iran
Samad Ghorbanzadeh, Islamic Republic of Iran
Carol Graham, United Kingdom
Marvin Grey, Philippines
Marc Hennige, Germany

Graeme Purdy Northern Ireland Professional WildlifeNature 2021
Graeme Purdy Northern Ireland Professional WildlifeNature 2021

Overall Winner:
Craig Easton, United Kingdom
2nd place: Julia Fullerton-Batten, United Kingdom
3rd place: Jane Hilton, United Kingdom
Richard Ansett, United Kingdom
Theo Gould, United Kingdom
Christian Lee, United States
John Millar, United Kingdom
Agnese Morganti, Italy
Luca Rotondo, Italy

Category Winner:
Laura Pannack, United Kingdom
2nd place: Brais Lorenzo, Spain
3rd place: Loli Laboureau, Argentina
Sergio Aparicio – OKOBÉ, Spain
Jacob Ehrbahn, Denmark
Alessandro Gandolfi, Italy
Ilka & Franz, Germany
Peter Franck, Germany
Kayode Moyosade, Nigeria
Marylise Vigneau, France

Category Winner:
Anas Alkharboutli, Syria
2nd place: Patrick Meinhardt, Spain
3rd place: Farzam Saleh, Islamic Republic of Iran
Anton Dotsenko, United States
Florian Gruet, France
Michael Hanke, Czech Republic
Carlos López, Spain
Barbora Reichova, Czech Republic
Antonio Aragón Renuncio, Spain

Category Winner:
Peter Eleveld, The Netherlands
2nd place: Alessandro Pollio, Italy
3rd place: Paloma Rincon, Spain
Wesley Dombrecht, Belgium
Igor Kryukov, Russian Federation
Maryna Masel, Ukraine
Lorenzo Pennati, Italy
Jan Prengel, Germany
Berenice Riu, Spain

Category Winner:
Luis Tato, Spain
2nd place: Graeme Purdy, United Kingdom
3rd place: Angel Fitor, Spain
Levon Biss, United Kingdom
Will Burrard-Lucas, United Kingdom
Aleksander Nordahl, Norway
Brent Stirton, South Africa

Simone Tramonte Italy Professional Environment 2021
Simone Tramonte Italy Professional Environment 2021

Category Winner:
Klaus Lenzen, Germany
Farshid Ahmadpour, Islamic Republic of Iran
Abdulla Al-Mushaifri, Oman
Steffen Ebert, Germany
Simone Hutsch, Germany
Vytenis Jankūnas, United States
Klaus Lenzen, Germany
Kunkun Liu, China Mainland
Aleksandr Lefler, Russian Federation
Jordan McChesney, Canada
Vitaly Medvedev, Russian Federation
Da Miane, Georgia
Jose Pessoa Neto, Portugal
Holger Ostwald, Germany
Ashwani Sarda, India

Overall Winner:
Tamary Kudita, Zimbabwe
Edita Bízová, Czech Republic
Tatenda Chidora, Zimbabwe
Maximilien Diaz, France
Vyacheslav Ivanov, Russian Federation
Ali Jamshidi, Islamic Republic of Iran
Joosep Kivimäe, Estonia
Angiolo Manetti, Italy
Jarod Mauws, Belgium
Alireza Movahedi, Islamic Republic of Iran
Hoije Nuuter, Estonia
Nara O’Neil, Australia
Jing Shen, China Mainland
Georgе Shpuntov, Russian Federation
Kylli Sparre, Estonia

Category Winner:
Juan López Ruiz, Spain
Luca Donegani, Italy
Kevin Frank, Switzerland
Jinjing Lyu, China Mainland
Joaquin Marco, Spain
Andrea Ortiz Diaz, Colombia
Mehdi Parsaeian, Islamic Republic of Iran
Lorenzo Poli, Italy
Scott Portelli, Australia
James Rushforth, United Kingdom
Hans Kristian Strand, Norway
Markus Wiedmann, Germany
Parker Yost, United States


Category Winner:
Mariano Belmar, Spain
Antonino Barone, Italy
Isabela Teresa Basilio Neri, Brazil
Gemma Brunton, United Kingdom
Holger Bücker, Germany
Stefano Butturini, Italy
Aimee Glucina, New Zealand
Michail Karagiannis, Greece
Hamed Rahmati, Islamic Republic of Iran
Alexey Tsiler, Russian Federation
Brad Walls, Australia

Luigi Bussolati Italy Professional Creative 2021
Luigi Bussolati Italy Professional Creative 2021

Category Winner:
Lyudmila Sabanina, Russian Federation
Frederic Aranda, United Kingdom
Shirsendu Banerjee, India
Paul Benns, United Kingdom
Bella von Einsiedel, Germany
Reinis Fjodorovs, Latvia
Sabbir Hossen, Bangladesh
Zeng Jinwen, China Mainland
Heun Jung Kim, South Korea
Justin Keene, United Kingdom
King Mtambisi, Zimbabwe
Rhianna Payne, United Kingdom
Jose Pessoa Neto, Portugal
Elif Öztürk, Turkey
Mireia Vilaplana, Spain

Category Winner
Marijo Maduna, Croatia
Sandi Bertoncelj, Slovenia
Hersley-Ven Casero, The Philippines
Serkan Çolak, Turkey
Tadiwanashe Murowe, Zimbabwe
Mary Nhoileen Maypa, The Philippines
Ruud Peters, The Netherlands
Daniel Portch, United Kingdom
Zdeněk Vošický, Czech Republic
Brad Walls, Australia
Xianshe Ye, China Mainland

Category Winner:
Kata Zih, Hungary
Steve Chandler, United Kingdom
Christian Holz, Argentina
Uwe Langmann, Germany
Klaus Lenzen, Germany
Agata Mroczek, Poland
Paolo Paccagnella, Italy
Stefan Pankow, United Kingdom
Ann Petruckevitch, United Kingdom
Manuel Schmidt, Germany
Masumi Shiohara, Japan

Category Winner:
Khanh Phan, Vietnam
Marios Forsos, Greece
Alexis Guevara, Mexico
Graeme Haunholter, Canada
Martina Lo Casto, Italy
Rune Mattsson, Norway
Hiroki Nose, Japan
Yukihito Ono, Japan
Franz Sußbauer, Germany
F.Dilek Uyar, Turkey
Min Min Zaw, Myanmar

Category Winner:
Cristo Pihlamäe, Estonia
Hin Man Au, Hong Kong
Amish Chhagan, Zambia
Yuta Doto, Japan
Arturo de Frias, Spain
Tatyana Nemova, Russian Federation
Alex Pansier, The Netherlands
Alexandre Pietra, Switzerland
Mati Puum, Estonia
Inger Rønnenfelt, Denmark
Koki Shinoda, Japan
Andrew Suryono, Indonesia
Iakovos Thoedoros, Greece

Lorenzo Tugnoli Italy Professional Documentary Projects 2021
Lorenzo Tugnoli Italy Professional Documentary Projects 2021

Category Winner:
F.Dilek Uyar, Turkey
Dina Alfasi, Israel
Dimpy Bhalotia, India
David Keith Brown, United States
Gary Cummins, Ireland
Ramunas Danisevicius, Lithuania
Basu Deb, India
Tommaso Galli, Italy
Vytenis Jankūnas, United States
Ares Jonekson, Indonesia
Bartlomiej Jurecki, Poland
Tomasz Kowalski, Poland
Francesco Lopazio, Italy
Zhang Weijian, China Mainland Soemyint Winn, Myanmar

Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards is one of the most important fixtures in the global photographic calendar. Now in its 14th year, the free-to-enter Awards are a global voice for photography and provide a vital insight into contemporary photography today. For both established and emerging artists, the Awards offer world-class opportunities for exposure of their work. The Awards additionally recognise the world’s most influential artists working in the medium through the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Awards; previous recipients include Martin Parr, William Eggleston, Mary Ellen Mark, Candida Hofer and Nadav Kander.

Juan Lopez Ruiz Spain Open Landscape 2021
Juan Lopez Ruiz Spain Open Landscape 2021

2021 JUDGES :
Professional competition: Natasha Egan, Executive Director, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Sunyoung Kim, Curator, Museum of Photography Seoul, South Korea; Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director, African Artists’ Foundation and Lagos

Photo Festival; Lindsay Taylor, Curator, University of Salford Art Collection; Hannah Watson, Director, Trolley Books; and Mike Trow, Independent Curator and Photo Editor, Chair of the Jury.

Open & Youth competitions: Gastón Deleau, Director, FOLA, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Student competition: Kate Simpson, Associate Editor, Aesthetica Magazine.

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