The World Photography Organization has made public the overall winners list of the prestigious 2021 Sony World Photography Awards. Distinguished documentary photographer Craig Easton (UK) was awarded the title of Photographer of the Year for his series titled Bank Top, and was awarded a cash prize of $ 25 as well as an equipment kit consisting of Sony's digital imaging products.
The winners were announced in a ceremonial video hosted by World Photography Organization CEO Scott Gray and TV and radio host and writer Konnie Hug.
In addition, a virtual exhibition with the winning and finalist works; A specially prepared documentary presented by art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar and the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards book were also shared with the public. Created in collaboration with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafız, Bank Top focuses on the tightly-knit Bank Top neighborhood in Blackburn, focusing on the ways in which communities living in northern England are presented and misrepresented. Project; Thatcher's Children, an investigation into the chronic nature of poverty experienced by three generations of a family, and the dreams, aspirations, and fears of 2-year-olds from all walks of life. It forms part of his extensive work, including Sixteen (which was shortlisted in the Portrait category of the 2021 Awards), which is a glimpse.
Bank Top is one of the results of the project called Kick Down the Barriers, initiated by the Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery in response to media reports portraying the neighborhood as “Britain's most isolated neighborhood”. In its quest to challenge this narrative, the museum invited artists and writers to collaborate with residents of various neighborhoods to create a truly authentic representation of these communities.
Easton and Hafez worked closely with residents for a year, exploring their stories and experiences through a series of black & white portraits and accompanying texts. These portraits and texts highlight issues related to social deprivation, housing, unemployment, migration and representation, as well as the impact of past and current foreign policies. Easton's and Hafiz's work challenges simple generalizations and aims to provide a context for how these communities come together and provide a deeper insight into how they evolve together today.
"The most impressive thing about this project is the intention, the determination and the insight Craig has put forward," said Mike Trow, 2021 Professional Competition President. Knowing that words are also important in such a delicate project, they worked closely with writer Abdul Aziz Hafız and formed the parts of a whole together. The people involved here aren't people who specifically want their pictures taken, but Craig has built their trust. These people look at the camera sincerely, and we can see that there is an agreement between the documentary photographer and his subject. What makes this work so important and worthy of reward is the moral burden it carries. "
Easton comments on the winner: “I am delighted that this work was recognized by the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards. I take pictures to learn, try to understand, and document and share stories. It is a privilege to be able to do this, to challenge perceptions and stereotypes; this is of special importance to me. It's amazing how stories of under or misrepresented communities in northern England, where I live, are becoming known and shared around the world. Thank you."
PROFESSIONAL COMPETITION CATEGORY WINNERS
Photographers who won the professional competition; They were selected by a panel of expert judges for presenting a superb set of five to ten photographs that ranged from stories of local significance to issues of global value, from moments of quiet resistance to moments of creative glamor and joy. All category winners are gifted with Sony's digital imaging kit.
This year's winners are:
WINNER: Tomáš Vocelka (Czech Republic) in his series Eternal Hunting Grounds
Finalists: 2nd Frank Machalowski (Germany); 3rd Gu Guanghui (China)
- WINNER: Mark Hamilton Gruchy (UK) in his series titled The Moon Revisited
- Finalists: 2nd Luigi Bussolati (Italy); 3rd Sasha Bauer (Russian Federation)
- WINNER: Vito Fusco (Italy) in his series titled The Killing Daisy
- Finalists: 2nd Craig Easton (UK); 3rd Lorenzo Tugnoli (Italy)
- WINNER: Simone Tramonte (Italy) with the series titled Net-zero Transition
- Finalists: 2nd Mohammad Madadi (Islamic Republic of Iran); 3rd Antonio Pérez (Spain)
- WINNER: Majid Hojjati (Islamic Republic of Iran) in the series titled Silent Neighborhoods
- Finalists: 2nd Andrea Ferro (Italy); 3rd Fyodor Savintsev (Russian Federation)
- WINNER: Laura Pannack (UK) with Portfolio Overview
- Finalists: 2nd Brais Lorenzo (Spain); 3rd Loli Laboureau (Argentina)
- WINNER: Craig Easton (UK) in his series titled Bank Top
- Finalists: 2nd Julia Fullerton-Batten (UK); 3rd Jane Hilton (UK)
- WINNER: Sport and Fun Instead of War and Fear (Anas Alkharboutli (Syrian Arab Republic)
- Finalists: 2nd Patrick Meinhardt (Spain); 3rd Farzam Saleh (Islamic Republic of Iran)
- WINNER: Peter Eleveld (Netherlands) with his series titled Still Life Composition, Shot on Wet Plate.
- Finalists: 2nd Alessandro Pollio (Italy); 3rd Paloma Rincon (Spain)
WILD LIFE & NATURE:
- WINNER: Luis Tato (Spain) for his series titled Locust Invasion in East Africa
- Finalists: 2nd place Graeme Purdy (UK); 3rd Angel Fitor (Spain)
FREE DALDA PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
The Competition in Freelance section has been set up to appreciate the power of a single photograph. The winning photos are selected for their ability to express a remarkable visual narrative combined with technical excellence. Tamary Kudita (Zimbabwe), selected among the 10 Free Branch Competition winners, became the 2021 Freestyle Photographer and was deemed worthy of a $ 5 cash prize, as well as Sony's digital imaging equipment and global promotion.
Kudita won this win with his extraordinary portrait, African Victorian, which is in the Creativity category. The photograph depicts a young black woman dressed in Victorian clothing, holding traditional Shona cooking utensils. The photograph questions the stereotypical depiction of the black female body and proposes an alternative visual language in which a multifaceted African identity is represented.
Regarding the first place he achieved, Kudita says: 'The African Victorian is an homage to present-day existence, whose roots also date back to history. It is a great honor to be selected as the winner of the Freelance Competition section. This award proves the role we play as creative content producers in shaping visual culture. The key idea in my work is the importance of how the African is represented. I am grateful to be given the opportunity to put Zimbabwean art on the map. '
STUDENT PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography, Coenraad Heinz Torlage (South Africa), was selected as the Student Photographer of the Year 2021 and earned 30 Euros worth of photography equipment on behalf of his school. Torlage was chosen for the Young Farmers series she created in response to a mission statement entitled Our Time, which asked students to describe the way they and their peers see the world and how they plan to change it for the better. Growing up on a farm himself, Torlage aimed at Young Farmers to photograph the next generation of farmers who are facing challenging questions such as severe drought, security and land ownership debates, as well as sustainability and food security, and how they can contribute to a more just and equitable future.
Torlage comments on his win as follows: “I had an experience that was almost impossible to describe. Many times I dreamed of winning and prayed to be able to share my country, the wonderful people of this country, with the whole world. I believe in the young farmers of South Africa that this country needs in terms of food, sustainability and ecological awareness. Winning is a dream come true thanks to the amazing people I photograph and everyone who helped and supported me. I believe in work, in the family, and above all in the grace of God. It is a great honor for me that my photographs have been accepted for such a prestigious competition. "
YOUNG PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR
Pubarun Basu (India, 19 years old), selected among six category winners, became the Young Photographer of the Year 2021 with his photograph titled No Escape from Reality. In the photograph, the shadows of the railing reflected on the screen create the illusion of the railing bars of a cage, while a pair of hands appear behind them as if trying to escape. The shadow illusion and hand gesture reveal the pinched feeling shared by so many people around the world over the past year.
Basu comments on his win as follows: “I am honored to be named Young Photographer of the Year. Participating in this competition gave me a fresh perspective on my art. I've seen some extraordinary photos taken by young photographers around the world, and I was tremendously proud to have such brilliant minds in my generation. I aspire to develop myself as an artist and express my gratitude to my friends and family for always encouraging me. ”
SUPERIOR CONTRIBUTION TO PHOTOGRAPHY
This year's award for Outstanding Contribution to Photography was awarded to the famous Mexican artist Graciela Iturbide. Considered the most important living photographer in Latin America, Iturbide's work has been depicting Mexico in photographs since the late 1970s and has been appreciated for his contribution to the country's visual identity. In photographs on ritual and religion, Iturbide's work explores the diverse complex aspects and contradictions of his country, questions its inequalities, and reveals the tensions between the city and rural, modern and established culture. Iturbide goes beyond plain documentary narratives in her photographs and aims to present photographic subjects with a poetic vision illuminated by the photographer's personal experiences and journey.