2018 Sony World Photography Award Winners Announced
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2018 Sony World Photography Award Winners Announced

After first revealing the shortlist and later the Open category and National Award winners, the World Photo Organization has finally unveiled the overall winners of the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. This includes the coveted Photographer of the Year, Open Photographer of the Year, Youth Photographer of the Year, and Student photographer of the year awards, as well as the 10 winners of the Professional categories.

This year's winners vary greatly in both style and substance: from stark portraiture, to dreamy landscapes, to an ecologically-minded photo project that sheds light on the problem plastic pollution.

The overall winner and 2018 Photographer of the Year accolade goes to British photographer Alys Tomlinson, whose project Ex-Voto:

The winning work encompasses formal portraiture, large format landscape and small, detailed still life images of the ‘ex- votos’ (offerings of religious devotion) found at pilgrimage sites of Lourdes (France), Ballyvourney (Ireland) and Grabarka (Poland).

Tomlinson's project was selected as the best from the 10 Professional category winners, where she also took home top prize in the Discovery category. The title comes with $25,000 worth of prize money.

Open Photographer of the Year was awarded to IT specialist and self-taught photographer Vaselin Atanasov for his photograph Early Autumn; Youth Photographer of the Year was earned by 16-year-old Megan Johnson for her image Still; and Student Photographer of the Year went to Canadian student Samuel Bolduc for his series The Burden, shot on behalf of College de Matane, Quebec.

Scroll through the slideshow to see the Overall, Open, Youth, Student, and all 9 remaining Professional category winners, then head over to the World Photo Organization website to see all of the 2018 winners and runners-up.

Press Release

Overall winners revealed for 2018 Sony World Photography Awards

  • British artist Alys Tomlinson named Photographer of the Year
  • 10 Professional category winners and finalists revealed
  • Overall Open, Youth and Student winners announced

London, April 19, 2018 – The World Photography Organisation today names the overall winners of the prestigious 2018 Sony World Photography Awards at a London ceremony.

The coveted Photographer of the Year title was presented to British artist Alys Tomlinson for her series Ex-Voto, winning the photographer $25,000 (USD). The work was praised by the jury for its beautiful production, technical excellence and sensitive illustration of pilgrimage as a journey of discovery and sacrifice to a greater power.

Tomlinson was selected from the 10 category winners of the Professional competition who were announced today alongside those in 2nd and 3rd place in each Professional category. The overall winners of the Awards’ Open (best single image), Youth and Student Focus competitions were also revealed.

All winners were flown to the London awards ceremony and received Sony digital imaging equipment, publication in the winners’ book and their work will be shown as part of the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London.

Outstanding Contribution to Photography recipient Candida Höfer was also at the ceremony to collect her prize.

Produced by the World Photography Organization, the Sony World Photography Awards is the world’s most diverse photography competition. The 11th edition saw a record breaking 320,000 submissions by photographers from more than 200 countries and territories, presenting some of the world’s finest contemporary photography captured over the past year.

The Awards' annual London exhibition brings together the best established and emerging talent from around the world, providing winning and shortlisted photographers the opportunity to showcase their work on an international stage.

Photographer of the Year - Alys Tomlinson, British

Ex-Voto is a personal project by London-based photographer Tomlinson (age 43). The winning work encompasses formal portraiture, large format landscape and small, detailed still life images of the ‘ex- votos’ (offerings of religious devotion) found at pilgrimage sites of Lourdes (France), Ballyvourney (Ireland) and Grabarka (Poland).

The photographer mainly explores themes of environment, belonging and identity. She recently completed an MA (Distinction) in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage and has been recognized by a number of photography prizes.

Open Photographer of the Year – Vaselin Atanasov, Bulgaria

Selected from 10 category winners as the best single image in the world, Atanasov is recognized for his work Early Autumn and receives a $5,000 (USD) prize. An IT specialist, Atanasov is a self-taught photographer who began shooting in 2014. The winning photograph captures autumn in the Central Balkan National Park.

Professional Category Winners and Finalists

From insightful documentation of worldwide cultural and political events to showcasing the natural world, the photographers below were selected by judges as the best series of photographs in the world.

  • Architecture: Gianmaria Gava, Italian with Buildings
    2nd Edgar Martins, Portuguese / 3rd Corentin Fohlen, French
  • Contemporary Issues: Fredrik Lerneryd, Swedish with Slum Ballet
    2nd Margaret Mitchell, British / 3rd Alfio Tommasini, Swiss
  • Current Affairs & News: Mohd Samsul Mohd Said, Malaysian with Life Inside the Refugee Camp
    2nd Luis Henry Agudelo Cano, Colombian / 3rd Rasmus Flindt Pedersen, Danish
  • Discovery: Alys Tomlinson, British with Ex-Voto
    2nd Antonio Gibotta, Italian / 3rd Maria Petrenko, Ukranian
  • Landscape: Luca Locatelli, Italian with White Gold
    2nd Rohan Reilly, Irish / 3rd Tomasz Padlo, Polish
  • Natural World & Wildlife: Roselena Ramistella, Italian with Deep Land
    2nd Mitch Dobrowner, American / 3rd Andrew Quilty, Australian
  • Sport: Balazs Gardi, Hungarian with Buzkashi
    2nd Behnam Sahvi, Iranian / 3rd Matteo Armellini, Italian
  • Still Life: Edgar Martins, Portuguese with Siloquies and Sililoquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes
    2nd Tristan Spinski, American / 3rd Werner Anderson, Norwegian

Youth Photographer of the Year – Megan Johnson, American, Age 16

Open to photographers aged 12-19, Johnson was awarded for her image Still.. Shot on the cliffs near her house in Connecticut, the black and white image captures the complex and intricate solitude the photographer faces in everyday life.

Student Photographer of the Year – Samuel Bolduc, Canadian, Age 20

Bolduc was chosen by the judges from students worldwide for his photographic series The Burden. The work beautifully illustrates the physical burden of plastic waste in the environment to highlight the urgent need to half plastic pollution. Bolduc represented College de Matane, Quebec and has won 30,000 Euros worth of Sony photography equipment for the institution.

Outsanding Contribution to Photography – Candida Höfer

As one of the world's foremost contemporary photographers, German artist Candida Höfer is renowned for her precise methodology and technique. Her powerful portraits of vast, empty interiors are held in collections around the world. The Awards recognize the artist for her contribution to the medium.

The news of the overall winners joins the March announcement of 2018's 10 Open competition category winners and 63 National Awards winners, to complete the announcement of 2018's awards. All winning, shortlisted and commended images can be seen at the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London from April 20 - May 6th www.worldphoto.org/2018exhibition.

Sony World Photography Awards

The objective of the Sony World Photography Awards is to establish a platform for the continuous development of photographic culture. The Awards do this by recognizing great advancements in photography through the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize as well as finding and promoting new talents of the future, whether this be in the Professional, Open, Youth or Student Focus competitions. Sony is committed to supporting global photography. This is demonstrated not only via the Awards, but also by its significant grant program which offers winners of the student competition $3,500 USD and professional competition $7,000 USD to develop personal projects.

The 2019 Sony World Photography Awards opens for entries 1 June, 2018. All entries are free at www.worldphoto.org.