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Sony World Photography Awards 2020: Professional, Open, Student and Youth winners announced

Press release   •   Jun 09, 2020 01:00 CEST

The World Photography Organisation is delighted to announce the overall winners in the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards 2020. The Photographer of the Year title and accompanying $25,000 prize is awarded to Pablo Albarenga (Uruguay) for his series Seeds of Resistance. Also announced are the ten category winners of the Professional competition alongside 2nd and 3rd place as well as overall winners of the Open, Student and Youth competitions.

Seeds of Resistance is a body of work which pairs photographs of landscapes and territories in danger from mining and agribusinesses with portraits of the activists fighting to conserve them. In 2017, at least 207 leaders and environmentalists were killed while protecting their communities from projects threatening their territories. According to a 2018 report by Global Witness, most of these cases occurred in Brazil with 57 assassinations being recorded, of which 80% were against people defending the Amazon.

Albarenga’s series explores the bond between the defenders and their lands – a sacred area in which hundreds of generations of their ancestors rest. In the photographs, the main characters in the stories are seen from above, as though they are laying down their lives for their territory.

Mike Trow, Chair of the 2020 Professional competition says: “This year’s winner comes from the Creative category and is a brilliant set of images which offers a powerful visual record of how deforestation goes hand in hand with the destruction of communities and peoples. The judging process this year was challenging - there were a number of extraordinary stories and sets of images that could have won the overall title, but Seeds of Resistance really stood out. Pablo is from Uruguay and this project is deeply personal to him as a photographer. The effort required to envisage, produce and shoot this series is laudable in every way.”

Commenting on his win Albarenga says: “With this important award, I see two victories: first, the opportunity to tell the stories of the traditional communities of the Amazon by highlighting the people who are still fighting not only for their future, but for everyone's. We need to look beyond the trees, the oxygen and the "undiscovered" species of the rainforest. Secondly, that the photographer of the year award has landed in Latin America, a continent historically told through the eyes of foreigners. I hope that many more photographers from our region will continue to contribute with our voices, thus strengthening the amazing community of Latin American storytellers


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 personal subjects and observations to headline news and little known but critical issues . This year’s winners are:


WINNER: Sandra Herber (Canada) for her series Ice Fishing Huts, Lake Winnipeg

Finalists: 2ndplace Jonathan Walland (UK); 3rd place José De Rocco (Argentina)


WINNER: Pablo Albarenga (Uruguay) for his series Seeds of Resistance

Finalists: 2ndplaceDione Roach (Italy); 3rd place Luke Watson (UK)


WINNER: Maria Kokunova (Russian Federation) for her series The Cave

Finalists: 2nd place Hashem Shakeri (Islamic Republic of Iran); 3rd place Hugh Kinsella Cunningham (UK)


WINNER: Chung Ming Ko (Hong Kong SAR) for his series Wounds of Hong Kong

Finalists: 2nd place Didier Bizet (France); 3rd place Youqiong Zhang (Mainland China)


WINNER: Robin Hinsch (Germany) for his series Wahala

Finalists: 2nd place Álvaro Laiz (Spain); 3rd place Luca Locatelli (Italy)


WINNER: Ronny Behnert (Germany) for his series Torii

Finalists: 2nd place Florian Ruiz (France); 3rd place Chang Kyun Kim (South Korea)


WINNER: Brent Stirton (South Africa) for his series Pangolins in Crisis

Finalists: 2nd place Masahiro Hiroike (Japan); 3rd place Adalbert Mojrzisch (Germany)


WINNER: Cesar Dezfuli (Spain) for his series Passengers

Finalists: 2nd place Denis Rouvre (France); 3rd place Sasha Maslov (Ukraine)


WINNER: Ángel López Soto (Spain) for his series Senegalese Wrestlers

Finalists: 2nd place Lucas Barioulet (France); 3rd place Andrea Staccioli (Italy)


WINNER: Alessandro Gandolfi (Italy) for his series Immortality, Inc.

Finalists: 2nd place Elena Helfrecht (Germany); 3rd place Fangbin Chen (Mainland China)

To find out more about this year’s winning and finalist projects please visit the World Photography Organisations online winners galleries


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. Selected from ten Open category winners Tom Oldham (UK)is named Open Photographer of the Year 2020 and receives the $5,000 prize for Black Francis.

The photograph is a black & white portrait of Pixies front-man Charles Thompson (aka Black Francis), originally taken for MOJO Magazine. Asked by Oldham to acknowledge his frustration with photoshoots, Francis offered a perfect gesture of exasperation by digging his hands into his face. The result was an expressive photograph which ran as the lead image for the article

Speaking of his win Oldham says: ‘It’s an incredible compliment to be chosen for this as I’m still buzzing to have made the shortlist alongside so much world class talent. I never dreamt I could get anywhere in the Open competition as the standard is so high and this award will really take some time to realise. I thank Mojo Magazine for the commission, my brilliant team and of course Charles for offering up such a moment. I’m astonished and delighted.


Greek Student Ioanna Sakellaraki was chosen as Student Photographer of the Year 2020 for her series Aeiforia, created in response to the brief Sustainability Now which asked students to produce a body of work connected to environmental sustainability. In her series, Sakellaraki presents night-time photographs of solar panels, wind turbines and battery farms used across the small island of Tilos in Greece which is the first in the Mediterranean to run almost entirely on renewable energy.

Sakellaraki represents the Royal College of Art in the UK and has won €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for her institution. Commenting on her win she says: “I am honoured to have been awarded the title of the Student Photographer of the Year. My series Aeiforia enabled me to share a positive story on the theme of sustainability by capturing the landscape as a passage into the night ambiance of the Greek island of Tilos. I hope that this honourable recognition will give me the opportunity to work on many more assignments of this kind. I am also thankful on behalf of The Royal College of Art for receiving the excellent equipment Sony generously offers as it will help other students to realise new projects with it.”


Selected from seven category winners, Hsien-Pang Hsieh(Taiwan Region, 19 years old) has won Youth Photographer of the Year 2020 for his image Hurry, featuring a street performer who is seemingly walking in a hurry but is in fact standing still. Inspired by his experience as a newly arrived student in Germany, Hsien-Pang sees the image as his comment on the intensive pace of life and a reminder others to slow down.


This year’s Outstanding Contribution to Photography has been awarded to printer and publisher Gerhard Steidl. This is the first time in the Awards’ history that the Outstanding Contribution to Photography has been presented to someone other than a photographer. Established in 1968, Steidl’s publishing house launched its own photobook programme in 1996 and within a few years grew it to what is today; the largest list for contemporary photography worldwide. His remarkable catalogue of photobooks features renowned practitioners including Joel Sternfeld, Nan Goldin, Bruce Davidson, Robert Frank, Berenice Abbott, Robert Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Karl Lagerfeld and Juergen Teller, to name a few. His publications encompass the entire history of photography, from early masters to today’s leading photographers, and represent the diverse spectrum of photographic expression – from art and fashion to documentary and street photography.

Winning photographers will be celebrated across the World Photography Organisation’s online channels and platforms using dedicated content including videos, presentations and live Q&As. A digital showcase of this year’s winning and finalist projects and images is available via the On Screen page.

Discussing this year’s Awards Scott Gray, Founder and CEO of the World Photography Organisation said:

“The Sony World Photography Awards was established to help get photographers the recognition they deserve with the exhibition providing an important platform to share their work with new audiences. Due to current restrictions with the global pandemic we were unable to hold this year’s exhibition however we are still dedicated to promoting winning images and projects and ensure the Awards provide awareness and appreciation for the photographers’ work. We are immensely lucky that we are able to work with Sony on this activation. Sony share our commitment to this medium and to the individual photographers and together we will continue to celebrate their work and raise the profile of photography as art.”


Category Winner: Sandra Herber, Canada

Second place: Jonathan Walland, United Kingdom

Third place: José De Rocco, Argentina


Swen Bernitz, Germany

Liang Chen, China Mainland

Jeoffrey Guillemard, France

Marcin Płonka, Poland

Fyodor Savintsev, Russian Federation

Laurin Schmid, Germany

Alexander Tatarenko, Russian Federation

Overall Winner: Pablo Albarenga, Uruguay

Second place: Dione Roach, Italy

Third place: Luke Watson, United Kingdom


Michel Le Belhomme, France

Nicoletta Cerasomma, Italy

Joseph Ford, United Kingdom

Ritsuko Matsushita, Japan

Serge Varaxin, Russian Federation

Reuben Wu, United Kingdom

Category Winner: Maria Kokunova, Russian Federation

Second place: Hashem Shakeri, Iran

Third place: Hugh Kinsella Cunningham, United Kingdom


Diogo Baptista, Portugal

Emmanuelle Firman, France

Adrian Francis, USA

Massimo Gurrieri, Italy

Thomas Hänisch, Germany

Edward Kaprov, Israel

Murat Yazar, Turkey

Category Winner: Chung Ming Ko, Hong Kong

Second place: Didier Bizet, France

Third place: Youqiong Zhang, China Mainland


Nicholas Moir, Australia

Patrick Wack, France

Eddy van Wessel, Netherlands

Ian Willms, Canada

Category Winner: Robin Hinsch, Germany

Second place: Álvaro Laiz, Spain

Third place: Luca Locatelli, Italy


Jenny Evans, Australia

Marco Garofalo, Italy

Eddo Hartmann, Netherlands

Maximilian Mann, Germany

Pierpaolo Mittica, Italy

Carolina Rapezzi, Italy

Kristof Vrancken, Belgium

Category Winner: Ronny Behnert, Germany

Second place: Florian Ruiz, France

Third place:Chang Kyun Kim, South Korea


Mauro Battistelli, Italy

Jeroen van Dam, Netherlands

Andrius Grigalaitis, Lithuania

Sybren Vanoverberghe, Belgium

Peixia Xie, China Mainland

Category Winner: Brent Stirton, South Africa

Second place: Masahiro Hiroike, Japan

Third place: Adalbert Mojrzisch, Germany


Pierre Anquet, France

Songda Cai, China Mainland

Marko Dimitrijevic, Switzerland

Tobias Friedrich, Germany

Joan de la Malla, Spain

Yevhen Samuchenko, Ukraine

Category Winner: Cesar Dezfuli, Spain

Second place: Denis Rouvre, France

Third place: Sasha Maslov, Ukraine


Richard Ansett, United Kingdom

Raul Ariano, Italy

Jon Enoch, UK

Adam Ferguson, Australia

Adrián Markis, Argentina

Magdalena Stengel, Germany

Tomáš Vrana, Czech Republic

Category Winner: Ángel López Soto, Spain

Second place: Lucas Barioulet, France

Third place: Andrea Staccioli, Italy


Giuliano Berti, Italy

Anton Dotsenko, USA

Frédéric Duhayer, France

Mikhail Kapychka, Belarus

Sarah Sasani, Iran

Federico Tardito, Italy

Category Winner: Alessandro Gandolfi, Italy

Second place: Elena Helfrecht, Germany

Third place:Fangbin Chen, China Mainland


Sabina Candusso, Italy

Emilia Cocking, United Kingdom

Sandrine Dippa, France

Paul Fuentes, Mexico

Molly Percy, United Kingdom

Yelena Strokin, Russian Federation

Cecilia Manzanares Vargas, Mexico


Category Winner: Rosaria Sabrina Pantano, Italy


Justin Chui, Hong Kong

Massimo Crivellari, Italy

Paul Crudgington, United Kingdom

Marcin Giba, Poland

Iraklis Kougemitros, Greece

Alexandre B. Lampron, Canada

Peter Li, United Kingdom

Wen Lu, China Mainland

Liliana Ochoa, Colombia

Peter Plorin, Germany

Eleni Rimantonaki, Greece

Franco Tessarolo, Switzerland

Eng Tong Tan, Malaysia

Stephen Tomlinson, United Kingdom

Category Winner: Suxing Zhang, China Mainland


Lucia Benavento, Argentina

Cristina Coral, Italy

Henry Oude Egberink, Netherlands

Julian Fabiolato , United States

Katie Farr, United Kingdom

Erica de Haas, Netherlands

Martina Holmberg, Sweden

Marek Juras, Czech Republic

Stanislav Stankovskiy, Russian

David Swindler, United States

John White, United Kingdom

Category Winner: Antoine Veling, Australia


Ignacio Alvarez Barutell, Spain

Diana Buzoianu, Romania

Kinyas Bostanci, Turkey

Sergio Carrasco, Mexico

Satheesh Chandran, India

Gil Kreslavsky, Israel

Ted Lau, United Kingdom

Mahesh Lonkar, India

Antonino Maurizio Clemenza, Italy

Category Winner: Craig McGowan, Australia


Or Adar, Israel

Hong Chen, Hong Kong

Marcin Giba, Poland

Kai Hornung, Germany

Stanley Lin, Taiwan

Marco Minischetti, Italy

Viktor Einar Vilhelmsson, Iceland

Hsiang Hui (Sylvester) Wong, Malaysia

Category Winner: Alec Connah, United Kingdom


Jessica Chappe, United States

Roberto Corinaldesi, Italy

Marc Le Cornu, United Kingdom

Lloyd Lane, United Kingdom

Peter Svoboda, Slovakia

Jonathan Taylor, United States

Muriel Vekemans, Belgium

Emma Williams, United Kingdom

Lior Yaakobi, Israel

Category Winner: Guofei Li, China Mainland


Filippo Borghi, Italy

Rachel Brooks, United Kingdom

Marleen Van Eijk, Netherlands

Michael Faint, United Kingdom

Anastasia Kaminskaya, Russian Federation

David Keep, United Kingdom

Alex Kydd, Australia

Shivansh Mathur, India

Caroline Paux, France

Adam Stevenson, Australia

Domenico Tripodi, Italy

Will Venter, South Africa

Marcus Westberg, Sweden

Julia Wimmerlin, Ukraine

Category Winner: Tom Oldham, United Kingdom


Frederic Aranda, United Kingdom

Will Bolsover, United Kingdom

Laurent Caitucoli, France

Gareth Cattermole, Ireland

Lorena Zschaber Guimarães, Brazil

Katinka Herbert, United Kingdom

Justin Keene, United Kingdom

Ottavio Marino, Italy

Sawamaru Pokiru, Japan

David Ridgway, United Kingdom

Ulana Switucha, Canada

Dmitrii Tulmentev, Russian Federation

Greg Turner, United Kingdom

Tales Yuan, China Mainland

Category Winner: Jorge Reynal, Argentina


Javier De Benito, Spain

Simone Bramante, Italy

Antonio Coelho, Portugal

Kunkun Liu, China Mainland

Ian Knaggs, United Kingdom

Igor Kryukov, Russian Federation

Arnaud Montagard, France

Chris Patterson, United Kingdom

Kihyoung You, Republic of Korea

Category Winner: Santiago Mesa, Colombia


Indranil Aditya, India

Peter Brooks, United Kingdom

Jaime Diaz, Spain

Daniel Heilig, Hungary

Misha Japaridze, Russian Federation

Tim Johnston, United Kingdom

Jon Liu, China Mainland

Joaquín Luna, Spain

Bülent Suberk, Turkey

Xun Yuan, China Mainland

Category Winner: Adrian Guerin, Australia


Kendall Greene, United States

Trung Pham Huy, Viet Nam

Chen Jun, China Mainland

Kaitlyn Kamperschroer, United States

Veliko Karachiviev, Bulgaria

Hu Qing, China Mainland

Michael Paramonti, Germany

José María Pérez, Argentina

Jonathan Rogers, United Kingdo

James Rushforth, United Kingdom

Tran Tuan, Vietnam

Manfred Voss, Germany

Milosz Wilczynski, Poland

Manfred Voss, Germany

Milosz Wilczynski, Poland

Overall Winner: Hsien-Pang Hsieh, Taiwan Region


Jason Chen, United States

Dita Suci Putri Rahmawati, Indonesia

Bruce Bai, China Mainland

Ram Kaushalyan, India

Kolton Almany, United States

Liam Moynihan, United States

Overall Winner: Ioanna Sakellaraki, Greece (Royal College of Art UK)


Reyad Abedin, Bangladesh (Counter Foto – A Center for Visual Art)

Robin Ansart, France (Ecole Nationale Supérieure Louis-Lumière)

Micaela Del Sol Angulo, Peru (Centro de la Imagen)

Fangbin Chen, China Mainland (Qilu University of Technology)

Amy Davis, South Africa (CityVarsity Cape Town)

Tobia Faverio, Italy (NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti)

Arantza Sánchez Reyes, Mexico (LCI Monterrey)

Chip Skingley, United Kingdom (University of the West of England)

Ashley Tofa, New Zealand (The University of Aukland)



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 13th 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 and Nadav Kander. The Awards showcase the works of winning and shortlisted photographers at a prestigious annual exhibition at Somerset House, London. To find out more please visit

2020 JUDGES :

Professional competition: Claudi Carreras Guillén, Independent curator, editor, and cultural manager; Touria El Glaoui, Founding Director of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair; Katie Hollander, Director, Annenberg Space for Photography; Gwen Lee, Director, Singapore International Photography Festival; Brent Lewis, Photo Editor, The New York Times / Co-Founder, Diversify Photo; and Chair and exhibition curator Mike Trow, picture editor and consultant.

Open & Youth competitions: Gisela Kayser, Managing Director and Artistic Director, Freundeskreis Willy-Brandt-Haus e.V., Berlin

Student competition: Tim Clark, curator, writer and Editor in Chief 1000 Words.


Pablo Albarenga is a documentary photographer and visual storyteller, exploring Human Rights issues in Latin America. As a photographer, Pablo has dedicated his work to investigating, studying, and photographing the colonization process that still affects traditional populations in Latin America. These communities are being threatened by huge development projects who aim to exploit natural resources available in their territories such as minerals, woods and extensive agriculture. Albarenga is also a National Geographic Explorer, a Pulitzer Center grantee. www,


Tom Oldham is a London based portrait photographer, specialising in shooting the great and good of sports and music for editorial and commercial clients worldwide. He has exhibited several of his personal projects, including his work from the Palm Tree pub in East London entitled The Last of The Crooners, which won the 2018 Sony World Photography Award for Portraits in the Professional Category.


Ioanna Sakellaraki (b.1989) is a graduate of journalism, photography and culture. She was recently awarded with The Royal Photographic Society Postgraduate Bursary Award and nominated for the Inge Morath Award by Magnum Foundation, the Prix HSBC, the Prix Voies Off and the Prix Levallois. After obtaining an MA in European Urban and Cultural Studies, Ioanna currently completes an MA in Photography at the Royal College of Art in London. Recent shows include: International Photography Exhibition, Royal Photographic Society, Bristol (2020), Festival Circulations, 104, Paris (2020), Les Recontres de la Photographie, Palais El Badi, Marrakech (2019), The Truth in Disguise, GESTE Paris (2019), La nouvelle génération documente, Galerie Le Réverbère, Lyon (2019), The Photography Prize, Argentea Gallery, Birmingham (2019), Photo Israel, Azrieli Sarona, Tel Aviv (2019), Athens Photo Festival, Benaki Museum, Athens (2018), Kolga Tbilisi Photo, Artarea Gallery, Tbilisi (2018).


The World Photography Organisation is a global platform for photography initiatives. Working across up to 180 countries, our aim is to raise the level of conversation around photography by celebrating the best imagery and photographers on the planet. We pride ourselves on building lasting relationships with both individual photographers as well as our industry-leading partners around the world. The World Photography Organisation hosts a year-round portfolio of events including the Sony World Photography Awards, one of the world’s leading photography competitions, and PHOTOFAIRS, leading international art fairs dedicated to photography. For more details see Follow the World Photography Organisation on Instagram (@worldphotoorg), Twitter (@WorldPhotoOrg) and LinkedIn/Facebook (World Photography Organisation). Our hashtags to follow are #sonyworldphotographyawards #swpa.

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