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These 25 Shortlisted Pictures From Sony World Photography Award Are Mind-Numbingly Good

Sony-World-PhotographyThey say a picture is worth a millions words and it stands true if you have an eye for art. One of the world’s largest and most extensive photography competition, 2017 Sony World Photography Awards, has released the shortlisted entries out of the 227,596 images it received. And, in no way am I exaggerating, they are superb shots, each worthy of winning.
Open to the world, this year the producers i.e World Photography Organisation, have seen participation from as many as 49 countries, which are represented on the shortlist. Divided into four categories – Professional, Open, Student and Youth competitions – the motto to shine “a spotlight on the medium of photography and the beauty of its art” is pretty clear.

Here, take a look at our best 25 picks from the shortlisted entries.

1. “Mourning Ceremony” by Emrah Karakoç


This is a picture in Iran from Muharrem ceremony (in İran)
A photo taken at the events of the Iran people’s mourning ceremony.
Shot date 11 October 2016/16:40


2. “Georgian Baptism” by Beniamino Pisati


An infant is baptized according to the Orthodox rite in a church in Tbilisi, Georgia. July 2016


3. “Far from gravity” by Alex Andriesi


Girl in weightlessness holding a ball, among many others. The child represents gentleness and fragility. Associated with the ball, expressing the lightness, it is the word innocence that is symbolized. For this image, time would be synonymous with gravity. In Grenoble South-East of France, April 9, 2016.


4. “Moody” by Ann Ric


DNF, Fujisan Marathon


5. “Diamond-Dust” by Masayasu Sakuma


This picture was taken in February in Nagano-ken at an altitude of about 1,700 m. In Japan, February is the coldest season in a year. Diamond dust can be seen only a few times during cold season. So, it took 4 years to make this work since I started taking diamond dust. Orange circle is diamond dust. Diamond dust usually looks white, but it turns into orange just for the morning sunrise. I expressed the diamond dust as a silent forest fairy. Adjusting contrast and tilt to get closer to my image.


6. “Buffaloes and stars” by Andreas Hemb


Sitting in a hide in the pitch black african night. All of a sudden a herd of cape buffaloes comes in to the water hole to get a drink. Image created through In camera multiple exposure creating one raw file. Taken on tripod with first exposure focused and lit for buffaloes and without changing camera position second exposure without light and focused on the stars instead of the buffaloes. Taken at Zimanga Private Game Reserve, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa


7. “Algo casual 2” by Carloman Macidiano Céspedes Riojas


This image is a criticism of modern relationships and the distance between human beings in their daily interactions


8. “Metropolis” by Tavepong Pratoomwong


The reflection of the tree on the woman hair in the mid town.


9. “Lady in Red” by Placido Faranda


I shot this picture with my drone, during a summer vacation. My wife and I spent several days in Montenegro, on the Adriatic Coast, and this shot is from the cove Veslo, located at the eastern part of Luštica peninsula. This is a perfect spot where you get the feelings of coziness, privacy and relaxation, and this is what I wanted to be reflected in my work. Unspoilt and rugged at the same time, but also a beautiful and authentic landscape is what I found here, and I hope this is what transcends through this image.
Model: Nevena Mirković


10. “We are taking no prisoners” by Alessio Romenzi


The offensive to liberate Sirte, self-proclaimed capital of the so-called Islamic State in Libya, was launched in May. It took seven months of fighting, five hundred American airstrikes, seven hundred soldiers dead and more than three thousand injured in the Libyan army ranks, to declare the city finally free. The offensive has been slow and fierce. The Libyan soldiers were mostly civilians with no military training. The leaders of the operation also considered their priority to save the civilians (women and children) trapped in Sirte. But in the last weeks of the war the distinction between civilians and militants have become more vague: some women, allegedly Isis militants’ wives, blew themselves up while Libyan soldiers were trying to save them. Today Sirte is a ghostly place. No one knows exactly how many Isis militants were in Sirte at the beginning of the offensive, nor how many of them have been killed. What is certain is that the Libyan soldiers have not made prisoners. And today in Sirte there are dozens of corpses buried in the rubble.


11. “Caught in the Crossfire” by Ivor Prickett


As the fight for Mosul enters its fourth month, thousands of civilians remain caught between Iraqi and coalition forces on one side, and Islamic State group fighters on the other.
Over 800,000 people are still trapped in Mosul, according to estimates from the United Nations. Tens of thousands are sheltering in neighbourhoods declared liberated by Iraqi forces and many more remain in parts of the city under ISIS control. Humanitarian organisations continue to fear mass displacement and civilian casualties.
Many have already made the harrowing decision to flee their homes, in some cases leaving behind the bodies of loved ones who died as the fighting came to their area and had to be buried in front gardens.
The majority of the more than 130,000 people who have fled are still living in temporary camps in Iraq’s Kurdish region. Some say they are waiting for the security situation to improve, others are waiting for their homes to be rebuilt. Although well organised and supported by international organisations, the camps are isolated and winter weather has made life there very difficult for people who already endured two years of harsh rule under ISIS.
While other areas of the country were largely devoid of civilians when they were finally wrested from ISIS control, the battle for Mosul is different because so many people have been told to remain inside. As a result, progress has been slow and civilian casualties, although lower than expected, are still mounting.


12. “Pumping Iron in Russia” by Eduard  Korniyenko


In the Soviet era, the sport of bodybuilding was not welcomed by official institutions, as opposed to weight lifting, which was judged acceptable and included in the Olympic program. But people everywhere, from small towns in the far North-East to Siberia, Moscow and even the foot of the Caucasus Mountains, persisted in going to the “sweat box” gyms in cellars, to “build a body.”
Western magazines crammed with images of unrealistically muscled male and female bodies passed from hand to hand and an additional impetus to this semi-legal sport came with the growth of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s popularity. Today, with the ban lifted, bodybuilding’s popularity has not diminished. The only difference is that some of the clubs have moved from their old basements into modern fitness centres, although the basement scene remains.
A couple of times a year the participants climb the podium during various amateur and even professional tournaments. Here you can meet anyone; tax inspectors and businessmen, housewives and popular TV presenters. Regardless of social status, or whether you live in a small town in the centre of Siberia, or in a big city, the only important thing for these people is making their bodies look perfect, and being admired by others.


13. “Li Hang could not help eating delicious food” by Li Song


In November 2016, Li Hang, an eleven-year-old boy from Harbin, arrived at Changchun weight loss centre determined to lose weight. He had been diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome when he was 3 years old, and on admission, his weight had reached 155 kilograms.
Prader-Willi Syndrome is a disease related to an abnormality in chromosome 15, and in around 70% of patients is inherited from their father. It occurs in 1 in 15000 people.
Li Hang was being treated with traditional Chinese medicine every day, including massage, acupuncture, fire treatment and cupping therapy. Aside from medical techniques, Li Hang also did a great deal of exercise daily with the fitness instructor. From his initial fear, and throughout the process, Li Hang has been greatly tormented, but he is supported by his faith in doing what is necessary to live a normal person’s life.


14. “Urban Symmetry” by Zsolt Hlinka


Urban Symmetry presents buildings on the banks of the River Danube, which are emphasized out of their surroundings and put into soundproof, homogeneous space cleaned off the whole exterior information. However, the series cannot be considered as a dry study, because it does not depict the raw reality: if you get a closer view of the photographs, you may discover that none of the pictures show the building in its full form, but only its reflected part. After all, these fictitious buildings coming into existence perfectly grab and condense their original character into themselves, as if you could see human faces and different personalities on the building portraits.


15. “Lonely Tree” by Tom Jacobi


God’s son was wearing grey, the colour of undyed wool, worn by peasants and the poor. Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) never had the intention to paint only with grey, but he gave in: “In the course of my work I have eliminated one colour after another and what has remained is grey, grey, grey!” In 2014 the English newspaper The Guardian declared grey as the “Colour of the Decade”. The world from dusk to dawn has been fascinating the human being from the very beginning. Since the figure of the biped appeared in prehistoric darkness, it was drawn to the purity and spirituality of that colourless world. Colours simply are reflected light, individually put together in our brain, a place also called “Grey Matter.” No light, no colours. By photographing our colourful world at times & places, where there is no colour, the illusion of a colourful reality is being unmasked. For two years Tom Jacobi travelled to six continents, searching for archaic landscapes – mystical places that had been shaped over thousands of years by nature, yet they seem timeless, even modern. The landscapes unfold their strength and spirituality in front of the beholder. Through the absence of the “Juggler Colour” the planet seems to find peace, just like it might have done long time before our existence.


16. “A country doctor and her calling” by Ioana Moldovan


“Good day, doctor! Good evening, doctor”, voices of people of all ages greet her kindly as Floarea Ciupitu walks around the village. At 61 she has been a family doctor serving Gangiova, a village in south-west Romania for the past three decades. Ciupitu oversees roughly 1700 registered patients. On week days she sleeps above her practice in a tiny room, on an old hospital bed. At night, a tiny flashlight guides her way one store up to her modest accommodation, no electricity on the staircase. Romania has a population of almost 20 million. Doctors in rural areas are outnumbered by peers in cities two to one, while half of the population lives in the countryside. The healthcare sector is overrun with crises and never ending problems. In 27 years since the anticommunist revolution of 1989 the country has had at least 25 health ministers take office. Doctors, especially younger ones, are fleeing the country in search of better work conditions and career opportunities. The Romanian Health Ministry states there is a severe doctors shortage. While things may look a little better in the city, Romania’s villages are plagued with a lack of access to healthcare. Family doctors are often overworked having to care for a larger number of patients than the recommended average. Ciupitu is living proof that, despite all the difficulties and the problems in a flawed system, there still are doctors who commit to their patients. She stands to help remember that being a doctor is a calling.


17. “The Little Bullfighters of Mexico” by Christina Simons


Two 6-year-old boys, Salvador and Tadeo attend Matador training school in Mexico City. Since the age of 5 they have been “toreros”, or trainee bullfighters, training for four hours each Saturday and Sunday morning to learning the craft of bullfighting
Tuition begins with a set of horns used to emulate the movement of a bull. Whilst learning how to evade contact, they must respond with the grace and style that is both customary and traditional. In time, they will work with small cows before ascending to fight smaller bulls. The bullfighting pre-season, called the Corrida de Novillos, is a proving ground for young fighters aspiring to attain the title of Matador de Toros; Both boys obsessively hope and pray to one day become professional matadors.
The tremendously talented and promising Cristobal, aged 10, has been training for 2 years. He has since been invited by the famous bullfighter “El Juli” to train with some of the greatest bullfighters in Spain.


18. “Oceti Sakowin” by Amber Bracken


For nearly ten months, members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their allies have been camped in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline crossing their land and water. The estimated $3.78 bill project is nearly complete, crossing almost 1,172 miles. But the resistance has stalled development at the Missouri River. Although on its face, the issue is the pipeline, the conflict runs much deeper and is steeped in generations of violent history. These are the people of the Battle of Little Big Horn and of Wounded Knee, who were driven to starvation by the loss of the buffalo and away from their sacred Black Hills. Police treatment of water protectors hasn’t been out of step with this history. In military vehicles and body armour, police have indiscriminately used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, percussion grenades and water cannons in sub-zero temperature. Despite all of this, the pipeline is still unresolved and water protectors are still on the land. But whether the pipeline is completed or not, the groundswell created for this resistance will certainly have reverberations for industry and indigenous people alike. I spent a month and a half, over three trips with the people in the camps.


19. “Pandas Gone Wild” by Ami Vitale


Seen by few, but beloved by billions, the giant panda is one of the most recognised animals on the planet. It’s hard to imagine, but these animals, who roamed the earth for eight million years, were only discovered in the last century; Unknown, and hidden from the western world for millions of years, even today they are seen by few but known by most everyone.
So secretive and mysterious was its solitary life, lived in the thickest of bamboo, in the highest of mountains, in mist and rain, governed and guided by smell rather than sight, that the giant panda has eluded easy answers, even while making its way into everyone’s heart.
Giant pandas have a secret life governed by their nose, and their daily diet and breeding behaviours have made them vulnerable in today’s world. With a diet almost entirely composed of the leaves, stems and shoots of various bamboo species, their reliance on bamboo left them vulnerable to any loss of habitat. Found only in central China, the entire species came dangerously close to extinction. Scientists considered the giant panda a relic species; shy, and difficult to breed in captivity.
But now there is a glimmer of hope, as years of research are finally paying off. In a region where bad environmental news is common, China cracked the code and is on its way to successfully saving its most famous ambassador. The giant panda was recently taken off the endangered species list!


20. “Egg and Soldiers” by Grant Hegedus


This series shows what happens when you take the names of meals in a literal sense. It shows you what happens when you begin to look at the language surrounding food in a comedic way, therefore transforming what the names of the meals and foods are in to what they literally describe and making them come alive as a physical form.


21. “7 Euchroma gigantea” by Felicity McCabe


A survey of specimens held in London’s Natural History Museum.
The series was made in June 2016 within the conservation rooms of the museum and was published in FT Weekend Magazine.


22. “Jacks at Cabo Pulmo” by Christian Vizl


Ever since I was a kid, as far back as I can remember, I was attracted to the sea. I dreamt about what lay beneath the waves, and how would it look if suddenly all the water vanished, leaving all the animals and living creatures in stasis. In this way, I could walk within the ocean and see them all, suspended for a moment in time and space.
To this day I carry within me that dream; and very gratefully realise it through my photography. Each image is a visualisation of that sublime moment whereupon the beautiful marine life around me is frozen majestically in its natural environment. My intention is to capture the essence of being immersed in the experience and presence of the animal or habitat I am photographing, and to share with others their splendour and soul. I hope the images I capture contribute to the existing corpus of underwater photography in a way that energises each of us to form our own dream of preserving and creating a better world where we value and care for all expressions of life.
Ultimately our understanding and celebration of the sheer beauty and poetry of life is intrinsically linked to how we communicate and bond with the myriad configurations of life energy surrounding us. In my case, it is the ocean and its marine inhabitants which inform my observance and joy for life. I in turn communicate this through my photography of the underwater realm.


23. “Inhabitants of the Empty” by Yulia Grigoryants


In 1988, a 7.0 Richter-scale earthquake struck northern Armenia. The quake killed at least 25,000 people in the region. Thousands more were maimed and hundreds of thousands left homeless. Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city bore much of the damage. Large-scale war by the early 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet Union, an energy shortage, and a blockade that left landlocked Armenia with just two open borders contributed to exacerbating the region’s already prevalent social and economic problems. A quarter of a century later, Gyumri has the country’s highest poverty rate at 47.7%. The city has lost nearly half of its population since 1988, due in part to the migration of the labor force. A few thousand families are still living in makeshift shelters, waiting for help. Many of them are not eligible for new housing, since they are not considered to be direct victims of the earthquake. 25 years later, they are still waiting for urgently needed improvements to their dwellings. During the Soviet era, these huge twin dormitory buildings on the outskirts of Gyumri accommodated around 60 families each. Today there are just four families living here, among decaying walls and corridors.


24. “Present and past” by Anisleidy Martínez Fonseca


Carmen Sajeras, is an 85 years old lady who was born in Cuba, from an Spanish emigrant family although she feels 100% percent Cuban, she stills live in a nostalgic of the years before the Revolution and imagining how hers family used to live in Spain.


25. “The Cub” by Tim Topple


My daughter at home (mid 2016), oblivious and lost in a dream-moment. It’s one of the more serene images from an ongoing project where I aim to capture the fleeting micro-events that form a part of family life.

The shortlisted photographers now compete for the latest Sony digital imaging equipment and inclusion in the 2017 awards’ book and cash prizes. All winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on April 20, 2017 and the winning, shortlisted and commended images will all be exhibited as part of the Sony World Photography Awards at Somerset House, London.

All photographs have been taken after due permission from Sony World Photography Awards

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