Culture Inspirations Photography

Get Inspired by Winning Images From the Sony World Photography Awards 2020

Winners and shortlisted entries have been announced in the Open competition of the Sony World Photography Awards 2020 and, as in previous years, there is some truly outstanding work on show.

The free to enter competition was open to all levels of photographer and was designed to reward exceptional standalone images. To be eligible, images had to have been taken during 2019 and were invited in 10 categories: Architecture, Culture, Creative, Motion, Landscape, Natural World & Wildlife, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography and Travel. 

The overall winner of the Open Photographer of the Year will be announced online on June 9. Individual category winners have already received Sony digital kit, while the overall winner will also receive $5000. 

As over 100 images were shortlisted, we don’t have space to show you them all, but we’ve picked a selection of our favourites and included comments from the photographers who took them. Prepare to be inspired!

© Liu Jon, China, Shortlist, Open, Street Photography, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Shortlisted – Street Photography
Title: Back Home
Photographer: Liu Jon, China

‘After a downpour, there is often a moment of beauty. Here, a zebra crossing, an umbrella and a lone figure combine to make a colourful composition.’

© Guofei Li, China, Winner, Open, Natural World & Wildlife, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Winner – Natural World & Wildlife
Title: Tai Chi Diagram
Photographer: Guofei Li, China

‘These cheetahs had just eaten an antelope, and were licking the bloodstains off each other’s faces. It’s a very rare posture, and one that reminded me of the traditional Chinese Tai Chi diagram. The picture was taken in Botswana in January 2019.’

© Manfred Voss, Germany, Shortlist, Open, Travel, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Shortlisted – Travel
Title: Graceful
Photographer: Manfred Voss

‘The small fishing village of Reine in Norway delivers one of the most beautiful views in the Lofoten archipelago. The balance between the cool light of blue hour and the warmth of the well-lit houses was perfect on this particular morning. It was almost windless, resulting in a beautiful reflection of the mountain in the water. I opted for an exposure that balanced the blue hour with the slightly illuminated mountains and the nice light from the houses.’

© David Keep, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Open, Natural World & Wildlife, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Shortlisted – Natural World & Wildlife
Title: Saltwater Crocodile, Mangroves of Cuba
Photographer: David Keep, UK

‘The Jardines de la Reina in Cuba – an archipelago comprising 250 islands and islets – is home to the saltwater crocodile. I was in the water for around an hour with this particular animal, and I must admit I never felt really relaxed. Looking back, it was more reputation than reality that caused my unease. It was an awesome experience, and I think this image sums up the feeling I had of being watched intently!’

© Gil Kreslavsky, Israel, Shortlist, Open, Culture, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Shortlisted – Culture
Title: The Girl With the Lantern
Photographer: Gil Kreslavsky, Israel

‘The colourful walls of Harar in Ethiopia attract photographers from all around the world. I was lucky enough to visit and photograph a local girl against the colourful backdrop.’

© Antoine Veling, Australia, Winner, Open, Culture, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Winner – Culture
Title: Mark 5:28
Photographer: Antoine Veling, Australia

‘When audience members were invited on stage to dance at an Iggy Pop concert in Sydney Opera House, Australia, on 17 April 2019, it showed the warm welcome Aussies extend to overseas artists who travel long distances to reach them.       

‘A woman’s outstretched arm lunges to touch Iggy. He seems unaware of her approach as the crowd presses around him. One of Iggy’s assistants, Jos (in the grey checked shirt) tries to make some space around Iggy. The scene is reminiscent of a passage from the Bible: ‘Because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”’ (Mark 5:25-34, line 28). The image has been likened to religious paintings by Caravaggio, and his chiaroscuro technique. It went crazy on social media, making 40,000 people, including Iggy Pop, very happy.’

© Muriel Vekemans, Belgium, Shortlist, Open, Motion, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Shortlisted – Motion
Title: End of the Race
Photographer: Muriel Vekemans, Belgium

‘This greyhound was training for a race. As it headed to the finish, I was waiting for it with my face in the sand.’

© Tom Oldham, United Kingdom, Category Winner, Open, Portraiture, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Winner – Portraiture
Title: Black Francis
Photographer: Tom Oldham, UK

‘Photographers for MOJO Magazine enjoy a rare degree of freedom and trust with what is usually an open brief. This allows us to capture our own experience with very high profile musicians. However, when photographing famous singers, we are often painfully aware of how many times the sitter has, well, sat. I like to acknowledge this and asked Charles (aka Black Francis) to show me the level of frustration photoshoots can generate. He offered up this perfect gesture of exasperation, and the image ran as the lead portrait for the feature.’

Want more inspiration? Take a look at the shortlisted and winning entries for both the Open and other competitions here: