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Alpha Universe Story Detail
Sony World Photography Awards
2020 Winners 

Now in its 13th year, the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards are one of the most important fixtures on the global photographic calendar.

Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the objective of the Awards is to establish a platform for the continuous development of photographic culture. The Awards do this by recognising great contributions to photography in the past through the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize as well as finding new talents of the future and providing them with the opportunity to be promoted and exhibited around the world. This is achieved through the Awards program and by integrating a Student and Youth competition as well as Student and Professional Sony Grants. The latter further prove Sony’s commitment to photographic culture by extending their relationship with individual winners beyond the Awards to develop the individuals’ careers. 

The 2020 overall winners have been announced and we’re delighted to showcase them here. 

Photographer of the Year | Pablo Albarenga, Uruguay

Pablo Albarenga SWPA winner 2020

© Pablo Albarenga, Uruguay, Finalist, Professional, Creative, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Seeds of Resistance is a body of work that pairs photographs of landscapes and territories in danger from mining and agribusinesses with portraits of the activists fighting to conserve them. Pablo explores the bond between the defenders and their lands – a sacred area in which hundreds of generations of their ancestors rest. In the photographs, the main characters in the stories are seen from above, as though they are laying down their lives for their territory. 

Open Photographer of the Year | Tom Oldham, UK

Tom Oldham SWPA winner 202

© Tom Oldham, United Kingdom, Open Photographer of the Year, Open, Portraiture, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Black Francis is a black & white portrait of Pixies frontman Charles Thompson (aka Black Francis), originally taken for MOJO Magazine. Asked by Tom to acknowledge his frustration with photoshoots, Francis offered a perfect gesture of exasperation by digging his hands into his face. The result was an expressive photograph which ran as the lead image for the article.

Student Photographer of the Year | Ioanna Sakellaraki, Greece

Ioanna Sakellaraki SWPA winner 2020

© Ioanna Sakellaraki, Greece, Student Photographer of the Year, Student Competition, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Aeiforia presents night-time photographs of solar panels, wind turbines and battery farms used across the small island of Tilos in Greece which is the first in the Mediterranean to run almost entirely on renewable energy. Ioanna wins €30,000 of Sony digital imaging kit for her institution.

Alpha Female Award Winner | Lily Dawson-Punshon, UK

Lily Dawson Punshon SWPA winner 2020

© Lily Dawson-Punshon, United Kingdom, Winner, Alpha Female Award, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Lily’s portrait references historical paintings, particularly Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring, but she has brought in an 21st-century twist. Lily explains how her photograph aims to explore the relationship between the past and the present, and how both contrast and support each other. 

Youth Photographer of the Year | Hsien-Pang Hsieh, Taiwan, 19 years old

Hsien Pang Hsieh SWPA winner 2020

© Hsien-Pang Hsieh, Taiwan, Youth Photographer of the Year, Youth, Street photography, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

Hurry, features a street performer who is seemingly walking in a hurry but is in fact standing still. Inspired by his experience as a newly arrived student in Germany, Hsien-Pang sees the image as his comment on the intensive pace of life and a reminder others to slow down.

The 2020 exhibition can be viewed through the virtual gallery on the World Photography Organisation website.