Follow Sony Europe

Sony World Photography Awards 2012: Student Focus competition shortlist announced

Press release   •   Feb 07, 2012 01:01 CET

The shortlist for the 2012 Sony World Photography Awards Student Focus competition is announced today, 7 February 2012.

Student Focus has established itself as the world’s most high-profile student photography award and is open to universities worldwide that run a photography programme. The 2012 competition has attracted entries from over 200 institutions across six continents, having grown from just ten European universities in 2007, its inaugural year.

This year’s student competition brief was based on the philosophy of the haiku poem. The photographers were asked to take on a role similar to that of a haiku poet and create and submit one image that depicts a ‘fleeting moment’, or ‘the decisive moment’. This resulted in some of the most impressive and professional student images yet of a perfectly captured brief moment in time.

Ten burgeoning photographers from each of the shortlisted institutions have now been chosen to take part in the final competition with the winner announced at the Sony World Photography Awards ceremony at London’s Park Lane Hilton Hotel on 26 April 2012. All shortlisted photographers will also take part in World Photo, London at Somerset House, London. Students will receive lectures, talks and masterclasses led by industry figureheads and Academy members and their images will be exhibited as part of World Photo, London.

The ten shortlisted institutions are:


Russia, St Petersburg State University of Film and TV, Nikita Baranov

Denmark, Danish School of Media & Journalism, Nikolai Linares Larsen

Spain, Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya (I.E.F.C), Montse Balañá Verges

UK, London College of Communication, Thamyres Matarozzi

UK, Middlesex University, Asef Mohammad


New Zealand, AUT University, Ivan Liang

North America

USA, Rochester Institute of Technology, Jenny Magruder

South America

Argentina, Escuela Motivarte, Abente Lila Maia


China, The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Gong Zhe

Africa/Middle East

South Africa, Rhodes University, Nina Grindlay

The shortlist was selected by a prestigious judging panel comprising WPO Academy members including: Carl de Keyser (Belgium) Photographer and Co-Founder & Director of the XYZ Photography Gallery; Sarah Toplis (UK) Commissioning Editor for Young Tate and Virginia Morrison (US) Executive Director of the Society for Photographic Education.

The brief for the next stage of the competition is ‘Your world in colour’. This stage of the competition will be completed in the resident country of the ten finalists using the latest cameras from Sony. Using this brief, the ten shortlisted photographers will be asked to create a series in colour that must evoke emotion through the choice of colour. They have a month prior to the awards in April to submit their images before they and their tutors fly to London to compete for the 2012 title. The overall winner will be awarded approximately 45,000 Euros worth of Sony digital imaging equipment for their institution.

Virginia Morrison, judge, comments:

“It can be the slightest angle shift, or a huge, startling difference in approach, but it is no easy feat to make a photograph that is distinctive in today's onslaught of images. The finalists that I had the pleasure of reviewing succeeded in making their fleeting moments stand out in a crowd with such an array of interpretations of the theme. I was struck by the diversity of moments, so to speak, and the range of sensibilities. Thank you WPO, for this great opportunity to see excellent work from six continents!”

Ania Wadsworth, World Photography Organisation Student Focus Award Coordinator comments:

“The Student Focus programme continues to engage with hundreds of students of photography worldwide. Each year, we are continually surprised and delighted with the overwhelming response to the programme and the quality of the work submitted from around the globe.”


Student shortlist announcement

Tuesday 7 February

World Photography Festival London

Friday 27 April – Sunday 20 May

Student Focus winner’s announcement

Thursday 26 April