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2024 Sony World Photography Awards: Professional Portraiture and Portfolio

2024 Sony World Photography Awards: Professional Portraiture and Portfolio
Friends. "My photography is always about people; their emotions and their histories." Image: © Paweł Bojarski, Poland, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portfolio, 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 the Professional competition in the portfolio and portraiture categories.

‘Cynthia’. “This portrait was taken in Cape Town, South Africa, as part of my ongoing project about parenthood. The nucleus of one’s existence is rooted in family; each person inherently has parents. In our contemporary society, the concept of family has evolved and now integrates and embraces both traditional and new forms. No longer confined to a mere group of individuals sharing blood ties, I believe that family is increasingly becoming a feeling rather than a particular manifestation of form. My photographic exploration examines the myriad forms that a modern-day family can take, uniting them under common and universally sought human emotions: a sense of belonging, love and emotional intimacy.” Image: © Angelika Kollin, Estonia, Finalist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Ongeziwe’. Image: © Angelika Kollin, Estonia, Finalist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Ashlee, Billie and Frankie’. “I took this photograph of triplets Ashlee, Billie and Frankie on a warm autumn day in London. Their beautiful connection with each other and their surroundings reminded me of my own childhood and how lucky I am to have grown up in such a safe place. After experiencing the narrow concepts of beauty in the photography industry, I embarked on a journey to capture what truly matters to me – stories of self-love, acceptance and resilience. I am working towards figuring out how to make viewers see strength in vulnerability and rawness in imperfection; I want my work to be a bold and beautiful statement of rebellion against the confines of beauty standards. With intimate warmth, The Beauty of Humanity II continues my previous work on this subject and shows the beauty of diversity and what being human actually looks like.” Image: © Anna Neubauer, Austria, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Liv’. I took this photograph of Liv and her pony on a cold winter’s day. Her family’s farm was busy, but in this suspended instance, time seems to stand still. Liv has many jobs throughout the day and came to rest on her pony, their bond evident in the quiet understanding that exists between them.” Image: © Anna Neubauer, Austria, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Portrait, Kazakhstan’. A portrait of an old Kazakh man in traditional dress. Due to globalisation, young Kazakh people no longer wear these clothes. “These images are part of various personal projects, some of which detach from the main body and function as independent pieces. My focus is on sincerity and authenticity, inviting the viewer to delve into the intimate stories of the protagonists. Additionally, some of my projects take place outdoors, providing sociological contexts that enrich the visual narrative. My goal is to create projects that shed light on the lives of people from minority groups, whether they are ethnic, religious or gender-related. Through my images, I aim to raise awareness and promote inclusion, offering a reflective perspective on human diversity. Within this collection are works belonging to an ongoing project that explores the ‘intermediate landscape’; environments situated between the urban and the natural, usually located on the outskirts of cities. These strips of territory typically appear ambiguous or undefined.” Image: © Jorge Mónaco, Argentina, Finalist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Alas’. Like many trans women living in small towns and cities around the world, Alas suffers from discrimination. Image: © Jorge Mónaco, Argentina, Finalist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

A local boy playing with his brother on the streets of Dezzak village, Baluchistan, Iran. “This series was produced while I was travelling in Iran. Each environment describes the story hidden behind the subject.” Image: © Mojtaba Radmanesh, Iran, Islamic Republic Of, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

Gas smugglers on the Iran-Pakistan border. Image: © Mojtaba Radmanesh, Iran, Islamic Republic Of, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

Girl and dog. Image: © Paweł Bojarski, Poland, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘The Student’. Daydreams of a maths student. A staged photography series – the set is made up like a theatre stage. Analogue thinking and feeling are combined with real lighting to create the final photographs. Image: © Horst Kistner, Germany, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘L’Accalmie’. Melancholy at sea. Image: © Horst Kistner, Germany, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Filling the Space’. “A photograph of Saddam Hussien smoking a cigarette, alongside a passing man with a cigarette of his own. I included myself in the car’s wing mirror, which satisfied my obsession with filling spaces. As a freelance photographer I try to be ready for my next assignment, keeping my eyes open and my reflexes fast. Nothing is better for this than practising street photography. My routine is to walk along the streets of Cairo, documenting life as it unfolds around me, without any specific goal. My aim is to create a cohesive body of work from my explorations on the street, and I am particularly drawn to the interplay of colours, shapes and reflections. My fascination with people and the streets fuels my work.” Image: © Aly Hazzaa, Egypt, Finalist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Traffic Jam’. “Just as the traffic stalled in a street in Old Cairo, the reflection of a person appeared on a car window. I only had one chance to take this photograph before the cars started to move again.” Image: © Aly Hazzaa, Egypt, Finalist, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Father and Son’. In a world that is already growing apart, holding hands becomes a silent prayer – a way to come together again. While posing, fathers and sons hold hands for the first time in years, sometimes decades. It’s a powerful moment, often filled with hesitation or even resistance. This act of intimacy became the project’s main purpose, the photographs being just a mere testament to the long-unspoken love between the men. Spanning cultures, reaching corners of Bulgaria, Georgia, Turkey, Armenia, Serbia and Greece, this project has become a beacon of emotional expression and cultural preservation. It serves as a global stage, encouraging fathers and sons from around the world to join the act. By leaving the narratives behind, these portraits become open to interpretation and I invite viewers to add their own layers of meaning, making us all contributors to this evolving story of humanity. Image: © Valery Poshtarov, Bulgaria, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Father and Son’. Image: © Valery Poshtarov, Bulgaria, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Donghai Island People’. A girl by the Red Star Reservoir. Donghai Island, in Guangdong Province, is the fifth largest island in China. Over the past decade it has been developed into a heavily industrialised area, and due to the expropriation of land, demolition and other reasons, many of the original residents have moved away. As a result, the traditional culture and lifestyle on Donghai Island faces new challenges, as does the island’s air and environment in the face of industrialisation. I went back to my childhood hometown – East Island village – and used a film camera to record the friendly faces of the people. I want to keep them, and to keep these memories I miss. Image: © Liang Chen, China Mainland, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Donghai Island People’. Two teenagers picking up snails on the beach. Image: © Liang Chen, China Mainland, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

Keni Titus (20) and Victoria Davidoff (21) sit in the back of Lily Abbitt’s Volvo in Santa Paula, California. “Growing up in Los Angeles, some of my earliest memories were made in the car. Specifically, my dad’s vintage 1980s Mercedes – which he converted to run on vegetable oil – acted as my respite. The hum of the engine, the tears in the leather interior and the sound of his burned CD’s accompanied my earliest understanding of L.A. I remember the sense of privacy that the car provided me, and how it enabled my looking. In 2022, I was commissioned by The New York Times to photograph my friends in their first cars. Having spent my final teenage years in isolation due to the pandemic, the car provided me with a space to come back into touch with my community and with L.A. The article, entitled Magic of Your First Car, was published in February 2023, and exhibited internationally at Les Rencontres d’Arles and the Museum of Warsaw in July 2023.” Image: © Adali Schell, United States, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

Lily Abbitt (19) and Zane Burrows (20) embrace on the side of the road in Topanga Canyon, California. Image: © Adali Schell, United States, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Beau and Everett’. Beau (12) was diagnosed with Lyme disease at the age of nine and now shows symptoms of Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), including tics, anxiety, depression, rage, OCD and sleep disorders. His brother, Everett (8), hasn’t received a Lyme diagnosis, but shows symptoms suggestive of the disease, as do his two younger siblings, aged six and three. Financial limitations and high treatment costs prevent the family from accessing proper care. Nowhere Land sheds light on the Lyme community in the United States. For a long time this community remained invisible to the public eye and endured mistreatment, yet according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) around 476,000 people in the United States are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease annually. Besides coping with their invisible symptoms, individuals with chronic Lyme disease often have to deal with the inability to work or attend school, isolation from family and friends, trauma from medical abuse and tremendous financial pressure, as the CDC does not acknowledge the existence of chronic Lyme. Countless chronic Lyme patients are dismissed and blamed, their pain invalidated and their suffering deemed to be in their heads. Through intimate narratives I aim to capture the silent suffering and emotional isolation endured by those living with this invisible and debilitating disease. Image: © Jiatong Lu, China Mainland, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Syd’. Syd (24) surrounded by daily home treatment supplies. Syd faced sudden Tourette-like symptoms in 2015: body shaking, verbal outbursts and head swings. Initially misdiagnosed, Lyme disease was confirmed one year later. Despite brief progress with intravenous antibiotics, insurance halted coverage, leaving the $5,000 weekly cost unaffordable. Oral antibiotics led to vomiting, malnutrition and failed improvement; now, weight gain is her primary focus. Image: © Jiatong Lu, China Mainland, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Austin Morris, Descendant of Frederick Douglass’. A recreation of the Civil War portrait of Lewis Douglass, with a descendant of Frederick Douglass, the anti-slavery campaigner. This was a 15-second exposure with the model held in place with a neck brace. This series recreates photographs of black American Civil War combatants with their descendants. The project was three years in the making, following comprehensive searches of archives for photographs of black American Civil War soldiers, where the identity of the person in the photograph could be verified. Working with genealogists from Wikitree’s U.S. Black Heritage Project, we traced the descendants of the Civil War combatants and brought them together from all over the United States to be photographed using a period 5×7-inch tintype process in an authentic daylight studio. The sitters had to stay perfectly still, which often meant using a neck brace for exposures of up to 40 seconds. The sitters wore custom, handmade costumes and sets were built especially; some of the props used were authentic Civil War items. Image: © Drew Gardner, United Kingdom, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Deanne Stanford Walz, Descendant of Harriet Tubman’. This a recreation of an original photograph of Harriet Tubman with her great niece, Deanne Stanford Walz. Her costume was made specially for the shoot and was painstakingly recreated. Image: © Drew Gardner, United Kingdom, Finalist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Haley Hemorrhoid with the American Flag’. Haley Hemorrhoid, the winner of the 2022 Cumberland Pride Crown, poses with an American flag. ‘This is us, babe. This is who we are.’ Referring to the Pride festival she says, ‘Could you believe the size of the crowd today? No one thought this was possible 20 years ago, but it’s happening, even with the pushback that we’ve been getting.’ Cumberland now hosts the largest Pride festival in the region. Cumberland, Maryland, was once ‘The Queen City’, a hub of industry and culture in Appalachia, a region known for its Bible Belt conservatism and Rust Belt work ethic. The story of Cumberland parallels that of many once-great cities throughout the Appalachian region, with the gradual departure of industry and, with it, a slow descent into economic stagnation and cultural decline. But even here, flowers are growing in the cracked pavement. The queer community has banded together to create a thriving drag scene, and – against all odds – built the largest Pride movement in the region, even as a growing backlash against drag queens has emerged across the United States. The Queens of Queen City is a documentary and portraiture project exploring the courage, risks and repercussions of openly expressing LGBTQ identities in rural America. Image: © Michael O. Snyder, United States, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Lady Lowrider’. A female lowrider sits in her car at the Hoopty cruise in downtown L.A. In the mid-to-late 1940s a new subculture in America emerged, as Mexican-American youths started to place sandbags in their custom vehicles so the body of their car would ride close to the road. The lowriding scene became more technologically advanced as hydraulics replaced sandbags, and the vehicles and bikes were decorated to show political statements and images representing the Mexican-American culture from which it was born. By the start of the twenty-first century, lowriding culture had become extremely popular, and was often seen in music videos, as the scene was embraced by cultures around the world. I went to Los Angeles – the spiritual home of lowriding – to document the individuals who make the subculture what it is today. Image: © Owen Harvey, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024

‘Erik’. Erik standing on top of his lowrider outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Image: © Owen Harvey, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2024 DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Andre Swart says:

    Nothing ‘normal’ in the photos?

    Obessed with the weird and abnormal?

    Glorification of the weird and abnormal is toxic and a betrayal of regular society!

  • Mary Contrary says:

    I think these are amazing – thank you, DM. I am especially moved by the photos of the young Lyme disease sufferers. The way the US treats its poor and ill is appalling.

  • EK SÊ says:

    DM, the photos you share enlightens my mornings. Thank you!
    Your photos beats those from the Sony Photography Awards everyday!!!!

  • Peter Oosthuizen says:

    Without the commentary few of these images mean anything. They would fit stories in National Geographic or Look (if it still existed) but very show the story.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

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