Read the latest issue here

Sony World Photography Awards 2020

Posted on Feb 13, 2020

The finalist and shortlisted photographers in the Professional competition of the Sony World Photography Awards 2020 have been announced, with some truly exceptional images between them.

The Professional competition has drawn many strong contenders over the course of its 13 years, and 2020 is certainly no exception. The awards have seen almost 350,000 entries, with over 130,000 of those falling within the Professional competition’s ten categories.

A new Environment category has been introduced this year in recognition of the growing importance of the subject, particularly within fine art and photojournalism. A full list of categories and finalists can be seen below.

Works by Professional competition finalists will go on display as part of the Sony World Photography Awards 2020 exhibition at Somerset House this April. The winner will be announced during a ceremony in London on 16 April.

Header image Songda Cai, China


Forms and textures are the focus of abstract photographs by José De Rocco, featuring vibrant building exteriors in Formalisms. The same can be said for Jonathan Walland’s Structures, a minimalist black & white series depicting modern constructions. Ice Fishing, Lake Winnipeg by Sandra Herber presents whimsical images of the colourful ice fishing huts that dot the frozen surface of the lake in winter.

Image Jose De Rocco, Argentina


In Seeds of Resistance, Pablo Albarenga pairs pictures of landscapes and territories in danger from mining and agribusinesses with portraits of the activists fighting to conserve them. Using shots of social media posts, chats and Skype or WhatsApp calls, Kill me with an overdose of tenderness by Dione Roche examines the way in which relationships and intimacy are lived and expressed online. Witness Objects by Luke Watson comprises images of pinhole cameras made using historical objects from the Bosnian War, alongside photographs taken with these makeshift cameras of meaningful locations around Sarajevo.

Image Ritsuko Matsushita, Japan


In Invisible Wounds, Hugh Kinsella Cunningham stains his images in red to communicate the suffering and distress caused by a viral Ebola outbreak in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo, while in The Cave, Maria Kokunova uses symbolism and allegory to examine personal trauma. Cast Out of Heaven by Hashem Shakeri looks at the lives of those forced to leave Tehran due to the economic downturn and move into inadequate state-funded housing projects.

Image Hashem Shakeri, Iran


Wahala by Robin Hinsch documents the devastating effects of continued oil spillage and natural gas flaring along the Niger delta river. In Atlas from the Edge, Álvaro Laiz explores the concept of ‘natural symmetry’ as practiced by the indigenous group, the Chukchi, whose traditional lifestyle evolved according to their mode of subsistence. In The Future of Farming, Luca Locatelli portrays high tech agrofarming systems from around the world, a possible solution to future food shortages.

Sony World Photography Awards 2020

Image Robin Hinsch, Germany 


Didier Bizet’s series Baby Boom examines the reborn phenomena, lifelike baby dolls collected by enthusiasts and used by adoptive parents in preparation and by elderly patients in need of companionship. Poignant portraits of people in Hong Kong injured during the protests are the focus of Chung Ming Ko’s project Wounds of Hong Kong, whereas Zhang Youqiong’s From ‘Made in China’ to ‘Made in Africa’ documents workers in the Chinese-funded venture, the Ethiopian Oriental Industrial Park, a key enterprise in China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ in Africa.

Image Chung Ko, Hong Kong


Torii by Haggard Benhert features photographs of Buddhist and Shinto temples across Japan, while New Home by Chang Kyun Kim comprises photographs of Japanese internment camps, in which thousands of US citizens and residents of Japanese ancestry were imprisoned during the Second World War. Project 596 by Florian Ruiz depicts the barren landscape of Lop Nor, a former salt lake in China previously used as a nuclear weapons test site.

Sony World Photography Awards 2020

Image Mauro Battistelli, Italy

Natural world & wildlife

Masahiro Hiroike captures the enchanting lights emitted by fireflies in the forests of Tottori, Japan in Himebotaru, and in Macro, Adalbert Mojrzisch uses macro lens technique to provide a close-up view of the intricate colours and patterns of insect and amphibian eyes. Pangolins in Crisis by Brent Striton looks at the illegal trade in, and rescue efforts for, pangolins, the world’s most extensively illegally-trafficked mammals.

Image Masahiro Hiroike, Japan


In Passengers, Cesar Dezfuli juxtaposes striking portraits of migrants taken in 2016 as they first arrived on European shores with more recent images that better convey their personalities and the transformations they’ve experienced. Unsung Heroes by Denis Rouvre presents the portraits and harrowing tales of women who have been victims of violence, and in Ukrainian Railroad Ladies, Sasha Maslov portrays the women who work as train station guards and explores their social role as a symbol of continuity in a country torn by war and political upheavals.

Sony World Photography Awards 2020

Image Denis Rouvre, France

Still life

Disassembled Memory is a catalogue of photographs depicting the disassembled parts of Fangbin Chen’s childhood bicycle in an attempt to recall and preserve his memories from that time, while in Plexus, Elena Helfrecht delves into her family’s archive to examine the effects of inherited trauma and collective memory. In IMMORTALITY, INC. Can man really live forever? Alessandro Gandolfi goes into research labs and institutions to document the processes and objects that represent modern science’s advancements in its pursuit to overcome death.

Image Fangbin Chen, China


Wrestling has become the number one sport in Senegal and is also a means of social ascendance steeped in tradition and ritual. In Senegalese Wrestlers, Angel Lopez Soto explores these practices through images of young wrestlers in training. In Dives, Andrea Staccioli presents poetic portraits of athletes in mid-dive at the Gwangju Diving World Championships. Lucas Barioulet’s The long and difficult path of the Mauritanian national women’s football team looks at the challenges and cultural tensions faced by the female players in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.

Sony World Photography Awards 2020

Image Lucas Barioulet, France

For more information, please visit The World Photography Organisation website.

Food Photographer of the Year 2023 Winne...

May 23rd, 2023

The Candy Man of Mumbai puts on a stunning display of juxtaposition to take...

Cowabunga, Dude! Surf Photography Winner

December 21st, 2022

Sean Michael Pritchard wiped out the competition in the waves to take home Surf...

World Sports Photography Awards 2022

October 27th, 2022

Naomi Osaka and her butterfly friend get the gold and we take a look...

Pink Lady Food POTY

September 14th, 2021

The tenth anniversary of the exhibition unites people with tales of food, drink and...

Sign up to the newsletter!

Subscribe to the Photography News newsletter to get the latest issue of the magazine, news, special offers, occasional surveys and carefully selected partner offerings delivered direct to your inbox.

You may opt-out at any time. Terms and conditions and Privacy Policy.