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2024 Sony World Photography Awards: Student and Youth photography shortlist

2024 Sony World Photography Awards: Student and Youth photography shortlist
'Appleby'. Taken at Appleby horse fair, June 2023. "The English and Irish traveller communities face discrimination from many angles and are compelled to settle by the government. As a result, the nomadic lifestyle that has been a centuries-old part of their way of life is becoming more endangered than ever. There are, however, several events where the travellers can freely live out their traditions, including the horse fairs that are held each year at Ballinasloe, in County Galway, Ireland, and Appleby, England. In 2023 I photographed at both of these fairs, aiming to capture an intimate and authentic portrayal of the lives of the traveller communities. This project is set to continue for 18 months, and my goal is to highlight their rich cultural heritage, unique lifestyle and the challenges they face. Through my photographs I hope to shed light on the social importance of these communities and help foster an understanding and empathy among my audience." Image: © Frederik Rüegger, Germany, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

The Sony World Photography Awards returns to celebrate contemporary photography and the ways the arts reflect the world around us. Here is a selection of the images from this year's Student and Youth photography shortlist. The Student competition shortlist features work by students at higher education institutions in response to the brief 'Home', highlighting the photographers' diverse perspectives on place, community, identity and belonging. The Youth competition shortlist comprises the works of 10 photographers aged 19 and under, responding to the brief 'Through Your Eyes.'

‘Appleby’. Taken at Appleby horse fair, June 2023. “The English and Irish traveller communities face discrimination from many angles and are compelled to settle by the government. As a result, the nomadic lifestyle that has been a centuries-old part of their way of life is becoming more endangered than ever. There are, however, several events where the travellers can freely live out their traditions, including the horse fairs that are held each year at Ballinasloe, in County Galway, Ireland, and Appleby, England. In 2023 I photographed at both of these fairs, aiming to capture an intimate and authentic portrayal of the lives of the traveller communities. This project is set to continue for 18 months, and my goal is to highlight their rich cultural heritage, unique lifestyle and the challenges they face. Through my photographs I hope to shed light on the social importance of these communities and help foster an understanding and empathy among my audience.” Image: © Frederik Rüegger, Germany, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘The Urus stand, honoring the legacy of their ancestral way of life’. The disappearance of the lake put an end to the possibility of hunting and fishing for the indigenous Uru community. Now, only memories of their ancestral life remain, but they strive to keep alive the memory and essence of being Qotzuñi – ‘people of the lake’. “‘The lake was our mother and father, our home. Now, we are orphans,’ said Rufino Choque, whose words echo through the desolate, windswept salt flat that had once been the thriving shore of Lake Poopó, Bolivia. Rufino’s indigenous Uru community had lived in harmony with the waters of this ancient lake for generations, nurturing a profound bond that sustained their lives and preserved their unique cultural identity. Today, however, their way of life is marked by profound transformation, as climate change-induced droughts and industrial contamination caused Lake Poopó to disappear entirely by 2016. Prior to this, the Urus lived in floating houses and spent weeks on their boats in the lake; hunting and fishing was their main source of subsistence. By narrating the Uru community’s loss of their cherished home, my goal is to provoke reflection and raise awareness about the urgent need to address the consequences of climate change and contamination.” Image: © Gaston Zilberman, Argentina, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Home traditions’. Cipriana stands in front of her adobe home. The Uru community maintains a traditional way of life, although it has been heavily transformed by the loss of their source of livelihood. “‘The lake was our mother and father, our home. Now, we are orphans,’ said Rufino Choque, whose words echo through the desolate, windswept salt flat that had once been the thriving shore of Lake Poopó, Bolivia. Rufino’s indigenous Uru community had lived in harmony with the waters of this ancient lake for generations, nurturing a profound bond that sustained their lives and preserved their unique cultural identity. Today, however, their way of life is marked by profound transformation, as climate change-induced droughts and industrial contamination caused Lake Poopó to disappear entirely by 2016. Prior to this, the Urus lived in floating houses and spent weeks on their boats in the lake; hunting and fishing was their main source of subsistence. By narrating the Uru community’s loss of their cherished home, my goal is to provoke reflection and raise awareness about the urgent need to address the consequences of climate change and contamination.” Image: © Gaston Zilberman, Argentina, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Resting in unfamiliar places (IV)’. A side-by-side view of a negative and positive image of the same photograph, representing a new sense of clarity. “his series of pinhole photographs was taken for my Fine Arts degree in 2023. It speaks of the struggles and changes I faced in terms of my identity when leaving childhood and becoming a young adult. The series reflects my confusion with various aspects of myself, such as my faith, sexuality and place in the world, and my later acceptance of who I am.” Image: © Siphosethu Sanelisiwe Sikhosana, South Africa, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Resting in unfamiliar places (I)’. “This single pinhole photograph is composed of five negatives that together reflect both the confusion and acceptance of my identity. This series of pinhole photographs was taken for my Fine Arts degree in 2023. It speaks of the struggles and changes I faced in terms of my identity when leaving childhood and becoming a young adult. The series reflects my confusion with various aspects of myself, such as my faith, sexuality and place in the world, and my later acceptance of who I am.” Image: © Siphosethu Sanelisiwe Sikhosana, South Africa, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

After letting the paddy dry on the floor, the women do their housework. A chatal is a place where paddy (raw rice) is boiled, dried in the sun and threshed to be made into prepared rice – the staple food of Bangladesh. Families from different parts of the country work together in a chatal, which is also their place of residence. As many families from different cultures come together, the chatal becomes like a large house. Image: © Kazi Arifujjaman, Bangladesh, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

In this picture, the chatal workers are working and their sons and daughters are playing in the same place. A chatal is a place where paddy (raw rice) is boiled, dried in the sun and threshed to be made into prepared rice – the staple food of Bangladesh. Families from different parts of the country work together in a chatal, which is also their place of residence. As many families from different cultures come together, the chatal becomes like a large house. Image: © Kazi Arifujjaman, Bangladesh, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Don’t Trust Pretty Girls’. This aunt loves to sing karaoke, and often does during family gatherings. “This series explores my relationship with my in-laws, with the title referring to the tattoo on my partner’s grandfather’s left arm. I wanted to explore the tension between fiction and reality, guided by stories I was told, memories and my interpretations of both. The result is a play of possibilities that reflect and/or transcend reality. Thanks to the increasingly strong bond formed, I found a second home with my new family.” Image: © Kayin Luys, Belgium, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Don’t Trust Pretty Girls’. “I had a fascination with my partner’s grandfather’s tattoo, which reads ‘don’t trust pretty girls’. This series explores my relationship with my in-laws, with the title referring to the tattoo on my partner’s grandfather’s left arm. I wanted to explore the tension between fiction and reality, guided by stories I was told, memories and my interpretations of both. The result is a play of possibilities that reflect and/or transcend reality. Thanks to the increasingly strong bond formed, I found a second home with my new family.” Image: © Kayin Luys, Belgium, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Ubumbano’. “A collective embrace through the silent language of prayer. Thinking about these moments of quiet I realise that how I move in the world is intimately connected with the ease I feel at home. Soweto raised me. This series is in honour of my childhood home – the familiar faces and the streets that continue to shape how I move in the world. My childhood was immersed in the embrace of a tight-knit community where love and ambitious dreams thrived. Like the day I defied going home, facing my mother’s wrath and her looming belt. A neighbour intervened, guiding me back and turning my tumultuous action into a serene evening. Fezile, a steadfast friend, was always at the corner, and our quiet journey to school was a cherished routine; soggy bacon and eggs, bathed in tomato sauce and well-worn grease, awaited our return.” Image: © Makaziwe Radebe, South Africa, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Ta ii’. “Whom was a boxer when he was younger, and his living room is filled with many of his trophies. I took pictures of his family with their chosen outfits and treasured objects while my mother and brother helped hold the white background. Emdeni, Jun 2023. Soweto raised me. This series is in honour of my childhood home – the familiar faces and the streets that continue to shape how I move in the world. My childhood was immersed in the embrace of a tight-knit community where love and ambitious dreams thrived. Like the day I defied going home, facing my mother’s wrath and her looming belt. A neighbour intervened, guiding me back and turning my tumultuous action into a serene evening. Fezile, a steadfast friend, was always at the corner, and our quiet journey to school was a cherished routine; soggy bacon and eggs, bathed in tomato sauce and well-worn grease, awaited our return.” © Makaziwe Radebe, South Africa, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Middle Break’. “This photo was taken at midday one day. The sun was shining on these children’s clothes hanging on the clothesline. In that moment I felt a sense of calm, neutrality and peace. The Intermission project began with a spring sunset casting a soft glow on the clothes drying on my family’s rooftop, transporting me back to childhood evenings at my grandmother’s home. This nostalgia inspired me to capture the essence of everyday traditions in our fast-paced world. My work focuses on these commonplace scenes in my hometown, particularly the airing of linens and garments at noon, symbolising a pause in our daily hustle. Through my lens, I explore how these moments become tranquil intermissions in urban life, offering glimpses of simplicity and continuity. This project represents a reflection on time, a respect for the past, and a hope for the future. Each photo weaves a story of deep familial connections and traditions, aiming to resonate with shared emotions and memories about home.” Image: © Yufei Ma, China Mainland, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘High Noon’. “This photo was taken in a neighbourhood built on a deck next to my house. On their side near the road, they also have a platform for drying sheets. The contrast between the tall buildings and this neighbourhood reminded me of the ways that city life differs from traditional living habits. The Intermission project began with a spring sunset casting a soft glow on the clothes drying on my family’s rooftop, transporting me back to childhood evenings at my grandmother’s home. This nostalgia inspired me to capture the essence of everyday traditions in our fast-paced world. My work focuses on these commonplace scenes in my hometown, particularly the airing of linens and garments at noon, symbolising a pause in our daily hustle. Through my lens, I explore how these moments become tranquil intermissions in urban life, offering glimpses of simplicity and continuity. This project represents a reflection on time, a respect for the past, and a hope for the future. Each photo weaves a story of deep familial connections and traditions, aiming to resonate with shared emotions and memories about home.” Image: © Yufei Ma, China Mainland, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Peers’. “My cousin, who returned with me, is about the same age and we share the same employment concerns. During the pandemic, time seemed to stand still. When I returned to my hometown, I shared the same worries with my peers who had likewise returned. The streets were filled with elderly people and children. In the backyard of my hometown, the orange trees my father planted had dropped their oranges to the ground. Image: © Gaoge Ouchen, China Mainland, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘The Orange Tree’. “The orange trees in my grandmother’s home, which my father and mother diligently planted, dropped oranges all over the ground.” Image: © Gaoge Ouchen, China Mainland, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘My mother’. “My mother sits alone. Just before I pressed the shutter button I asked: ‘What are you thinking about?’ Her response was simply ‘home’. Twenty-six years ago my parents immigrated to the United States. As a child, I would imagine my parents’ odyssey in rudimentary terms: walking, loving and being bold. Through the years, however, I’ve managed to contextualise the reality of our situation and now use words such as treacherous, lonely and fearful. When asked, my father replays the moment his group lay flat on their stomachs, hiding from an oblivious ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officer who sat nearby. My mother recalls trekking through knee-high mud in an Arizona desert, thousands of miles away from her home in Acapulco, Mexico. My sister, on the other hand, can’t remember much – she was only five years old at the time. This project navigates this complicated history, highlighting how this experience isn’t wholly unique to my family. The photographs were all taken within our home, because of its function as a place of refuge for undocumented immigrants across the nation. Image: © Brayan Enriquez, United States, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

’20 Years of service’. They sit in the uniforms of the only job they could get: Steak ‘n Shake. Her name tag reads ‘Gloria Salinas, 20 years of service’. “Twenty-six years ago my parents immigrated to the United States. As a child, I would imagine my parents’ odyssey in rudimentary terms: walking, loving and being bold. Through the years, however, I’ve managed to contextualise the reality of our situation and now use words such as treacherous, lonely and fearful. When asked, my father replays the moment his group lay flat on their stomachs, hiding from an oblivious ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officer who sat nearby. My mother recalls trekking through knee-high mud in an Arizona desert, thousands of miles away from her home in Acapulco, Mexico. My sister, on the other hand, can’t remember much – she was only five years old at the time. This project navigates this complicated history, highlighting how this experience isn’t wholly unique to my family. The photographs were all taken within our home, because of its function as a place of refuge for undocumented immigrants across the nation.” Image: © Brayan Enriquez, United States, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘This is not the freedom they promised us’. Supposedly, our entire system is meant to defend freedom, but only for those who can pay for it.
Series Description: The photographs in this series were all taken on August 10, 2023, in the Andes tenement in the city of Medellín, Colombia, a space inhabited by homeless people. The tenement is likened to a prison because in its rooms you can feel a sense of confinement: the people who live there look for bread each day, living with deep uncertainties about the future as even their dreams have been taken away. © Juan David Aguirre, Colombia, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Childhood is rough’. Children living in the tenement tend to grow up faster than others, as they experience harsh conditions from a young age. The photographs in this series were all taken on August 10, 2023, in the Andes tenement in the city of Medellín, Colombia, a space inhabited by homeless people. The tenement is likened to a prison because in its rooms you can feel a sense of confinement: the people who live there look for bread each day, living with deep uncertainties about the future as even their dreams have been taken away. Image: © Juan David Aguirre, Colombia, Shortlist, Student Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Self-portrait’. “In June 2023, I took this self-portrait in a photo studio. I was in an introspective mood, grappling with an inner turmoil, torn between my connection to Chinese culture and tradition, and my hope to liberate myself from self-imposed constraints linked to my heritage. This image represents a quest for belonging, adaptation, and identity in unfamiliar lands.” Image: © Joyce Xu, Australia, Shortlist, Youth Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Snow Mountain at Sunset’. “This photo was taken at the beginning of the year, when the sun slowly set and the sunset hit the snow mountain of Yala. It looked so holy, so I took this photo.” Image: © Chengchen Wang, China Mainland, Shortlist, Youth Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘63.4057° N, 19.0716° W’. Basalt columns on a black beach in low visibility. Image: © Isaac Friend, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Youth Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘The Beginning Hours of the Sourdough Fire’. “This was taken during the first hours of the Sourdough Fire, a fierce wildfire in the North Cascades National Park, which was started by a lightning strike. While returning from a nearby backpacking trip in the woods we came upon this fire. Completely surprised, I took out my camera and took this shot. A firefighting helicopter carrying water can be seen in the top right.” Image: © River Lewis-Gosch, United States, Shortlist, Youth Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Tea-Portrait’. “For my image titled ‘Tea-Portrait,’ I took a self-portrait, printed the image, and cut it into tea bag-sized pieces. I then transferred the cut pieces onto tea bags using Modge Podge, and reattached the tea bag strings. Finally, I laid out the bags and pieced them together to create my image.” Image: © Shayna Cuenca, United States, Shortlist, Youth Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

The traditional weapon known as a ‘keris’ is expertly made by the master craftsman. Image: © Afiq Sharkawi, Malaysia, Shortlist, Youth Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Keep Me Awake’. “This image is about light pollution. As a young artist interested in nature and stars, I became aware that light pollution is a major factor affecting the sky’s clarity. I live in Belgium, a small country with a large population living in the countryside, so there is light pollution everywhere you go. The red light in this image is coming from a street lantern, the blue light from a nearby city.” Image: © Kas Christiaens, Belgium, Shortlist, Youth Competiton, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Comet Falls to Earth’. This image is of comet C/2023 P1 (Nishimura), which, close to the horizon like the Sun at dawn, appears to be falling onto Earth. This photo was taken on the morning of 8 September, shortly before sunrise, from a rooftop. Image: © Sebastián Fernández Lora, Spain, Shortlist, Youth Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Flock of Magic’. “This is an image inspired by the photographer Trent Parke. My image consists of two ICM shots of a flying flock of doves I photographed on 19 May in my backyard, then blended together in an editing software. Though not taken with the same process as Parke’s, it still has the same goal that he is known for, to ‘turn the ordinary into the magical using light.’” Image: © Zy Grei Zander Esperanza, Philippines, Shortlist, Youth Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Lonely Surfer’. “I took this picture in Newquay, Cornwall, at the start of summer to capture the figure on the beach. I felt that this moment summed up Cornwall quite nicely in one picture.” © Daniel Murray, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Youth Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2024 DM

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