The World Photography Organisation announced the winners of the 2020 edition of the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards on June 9. Due to restrictions imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic, the awards ceremony and exhibition of the winning photographs have been replaced by a virtual exhibition, to be followed by a series of online events and initiatives promoting the work of the contest winners and finalists. The annual awards were assigned to the top three professional photographers in each of the ten contest categories (Architecture, Creative, Discovery, Documentary, Environment, Landscape, Natural World & Wildlife, Portraiture, Sport, Still Life). Awards were also presented in the Open, Student and Youth categories, and an overall winner was named "Photographer of the Year" for 2020. The top honour went to photographer Pablo Albarenga for his series entitled "Seeds of Resistance", a body of work pairing photographs of endangered landscapes and territories with photographs of the activists who are fighting to save them. The Uruguyan photographer’s challenging and deeply personal project helps draw international attention to the difficult position of the peoples of the Amazon who are still fighting for the future of their forest, and therefore of all of us.
The winner in the Architecture category is Canadian photographer Sandra Herber for her series "Ice Fishing Huts, Lake Winnipeg", a photographic study of the temporary constructions built for ice fishing in the winter months in Manitoba, Canada. An expression of a simple local form of architecture, ice fishing huts are built on the frozen surface of lakes; the ones she photographed were built on Lake Winnipeg, where they serve as portable structures for sheltering fishermen from the weather while allowing them to fish through the ice.
These are the essential requirements every ice fishing hut must meet, but this doesn’t prevent their owners from expressing their personality through the form, structure and decoration of their huts. Photographer Sandra Herber portrays all the huts in the same light, in a minimalist style that does away with all elements that could distract the viewer and seeks to grasp the huts’ essential features. Her purpose is to underline the features they all share and those that make each one of them unique, interpreting these utilitarian structures as beautiful works of art.
The 2nd prize in the Architecture category went to photographer Jonathan Walland, who presented “Structures” a series of images of contemporary architecture, such as the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Arena Tower and Richard Seifert & Partners’ Centre Point. The British photographer documents how light interacts with the structure of each building, eliminating what he considers distractions to present to the viewer the purest elements of a photograph, such as form, light, texture and the way they are all amalgamated.
"Formalism I" is the title of the work presented by Argentinian photographer José De Rocco which placed third in the Architecture category. His photographs feature bold shapes, colours and contrasts: images captured primarily in the streets of Argentina which reveal the photographer’s interest in the graphic arts.
Images courtesy of World Photography Organisation, photo by:
01-02: Pablo Albarenga Seeds of Resistance
03-04: Sandra Herber Ice Fishing Huts, Lake Winnipeg
05-06: Jonathan Walland Structures
07-08: José De Rocco Formalism I