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15 Apr, 2021

The World Photography Organisation is delighted to announce the overall winners in the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards 2021. The Photographer of the Year title and accompanying $25,000 (USD) cash prize and a range of Sony’s digital imaging kit is awarded to the esteemed documentarian Craig Easton (United Kingdom) for his series Bank Top. Also announced are the ten category winners alongside 2nd and 3rd place of the Professional competition as well as overall winners of the Open, Student and Youth competitions.

Winners are revealed in a celebratory announcement video hosted by CEO of the World Photography Organisation Scott Gray and TV and radio presenter and author Konnie Huq. The video features interviews, behind-the-scenes clips and reactions from winning photographers and is available to view via YouTube here.

Also unveiled today is a virtual exhibition of winning and finalists’ work; A Year in Photos from the Sony World Photography Awards 2021, a specially commissioned documentary feature hosted by art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar; and a free digital copy of the Sony World Photography 2021 book all available to view and download via worldphoto.org/announcement-2021

Bank Top, a collaboration with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafiz, examines the representation and misrepresentation of communities in northern England, focusing on the tightknit neighbourhood of Bank Top in Blackburn. The project forms part of Easton’s wider work in the region including Thatcher’s Children (2nd place, Documentary Projects, 2021 Professional competition,), an investigation into the chronic nature of poverty as experienced by three generations of one family; and Sixteen (shortlisted in the Portraiture category of the 2017 Awards), a look into the dreams, aspirations and fears of 16 year-olds from all walks of life.

Bank Top is a result of the Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery initiative Kick Down the Barriers, a project instigated in response to media reports portraying the town as the ‘the most segregated in Britain’. Seeking to challenge this narrative, the museum invited artists and writers to collaborate with residents of various neighbourhoods and create a robust and authentic representation of their communities.

Over the course of a year Easton and Hafiz worked closely with local inhabitants to explore their stories and experiences through a series of black & white portraits and accompanying texts. These highlight issues around social deprivation, housing, unemployment, immigration and representation, as well as the impact of past and present foreign policy. Their work counters simplistic generalisations and aims to provide context as to how these communities came together and a better understanding of how they thrive together now.

Mike Trow, Chair of the 2021 Professional competition says: “What is so impressive about this project is the intent, dedication and understanding Craig brings to it. He has worked closely with the writer Abdul Aziz Hafiz to create a complete piece, tacitly acknowledging that for a project as sensitive as this words matter. These are not people who necessarily asked to be photographed but Craig gained their trust. They look frankly to camera and we see a mutual understanding between documenter and subject. It is the moral weight behind this work that makes it so important and deserving of this prize.”

Commenting on his win Easton says: “I am delighted to have this work recognised by the Sony World Photography Awards. I photograph to learn, to try to understand and to document and share stories. It is a privilege to be able to do so and to challenge perceptions and stereotypes – something that is especially important to me. To have these stories from underrepresented or misrepresented communities in northern England where I live recognised and shared worldwide is wonderful. Thank you.”


Winning photographers in the Professional competition have been selected by a panel of expert judges for submitting an outstanding body of work of five to ten images, ranging from stories of local importance to issues of global significance, quiet moments of resilience to creative brilliance and playfulness. All category winners receive Sony’s digital imaging kit. This year’s winners are:


WINNER: Tomáš Vocelka (Czech Republic) for his series Eternal Hunting Grounds

Finalists: 2nd place Frank Machalowski (Germany); 3rd place Gu Guanghui (China Mainland)


WINNER: Mark Hamilton Gruchy (United Kingdom) for his series The Moon Revisited

Finalists: 2nd place Luigi Bussolati (Italy); 3rd place Sasha Bauer (Russian Federation)


WINNER: Vito Fusco (Italy) for his series The Killing Daisy

Finalists: 2nd place Craig Easton (United Kingdom); 3rd place Lorenzo Tugnoli (Italy)


WINNER: Simone Tramonte (Italy) for his series Net-zero Transition

Finalists: 2nd place Mohammad Madadi (Islamic Republic of Iran); 3rd place Antonio Pérez (Spain)


WINNER: Majid Hojjati (Islamic Republic of Iran) for his series Silent Neighborhoods

Finalists: 2nd place Andrea Ferro (Italy); 3rd place Fyodor Savintsev (Russian Federation)


WINNER: Laura Pannack (United Kingdom)for her submission Portfolio Overview

Finalists: 2nd place Brais Lorenzo (Spain); 3rd place Loli Laboureau (Argentina)


WINNER: Craig Easton (United Kingdom) for his series Bank Top

Finalists: 2nd place Julia Fullerton-Batten (United Kingdom); 3rd place Jane Hilton (United Kingdom)


WINNER: Anas Alkharboutli (Syrian Arab Republic) for his series Sport and Fun Instead of War and Fear

Finalists: 2nd place Patrick Meinhardt (Spain); 3rd place Farzam Saleh (Islamic Republic Of Iran)


WINNER: Peter Eleveld (Netherlands) for his series Still Life Composition, Shot on Wet Plate

Finalists: 2nd place Alessandro Pollio (Italy); 3rd place Paloma Rincon (Spain)


WINNER: Luis Tato (Spain) for his series Locust Invasion in East Africa

Finalists: 2nd place Graeme Purdy (United Kingdom); 3rd place Angel Fitor (Spain)

To find out more about this year’s winning and finalist projects please visit our online winners galleries


The Open competition celebrates the power of single images. Winning photographs are selected for their ability to communicate a remarkable visual narrative combined with technical excellence. Chosen from ten Open category winners, Tamary Kudita (Zimbabwe)is Open Photographer of the Year 2021 and the recipient of the $5,000 (USD) cash prize, Sony’s digital imaging equipment and global exposure.

Kudita won for her outstanding portrait African Victorian submitted to the Creative category. The photograph depicts a young black woman dressed in a Victorian dress and holding traditional Shona cooking utensils. The image probes at stereotypical contextualising of the black female body and offers an alternative visual language through which a multifaceted African identity is presented.

Speaking of her win Kudita says: ‘African Victorian pays tribute to the contemporary being who is also rooted in history. I am deeply honoured to have been chosen as the winner of the Open competition. This award is a testament to the role we play as creators in shaping visual culture. A central notion in my work is the importance of African representation and I am thankful to have received the opportunity to put Zimbabwean art on the map.


Coenraad Heinz Torlage (South Africa) of the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography has been awarded Student Photographer of the Year 2021, winning €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for his institution. Torlage was chosen for his series Young Farmers, created in response to the brief Our Time which asked students to depict the way they and their contemporaries see the world and how they plan to change it for the better. In Young Farmers Torlage, who grew up on a farm himself, set out to photograph the next generation of farmers as they face challenges concerning severe droughts, safety and debates around land ownership alongside their contributions towards a fairer and more equitable future of sustainability and food security.

Commenting on his win Torlage says: “I have been through an experience that is almost impossible to describe. I often dreamt of winning and prayed that I could share my country and the amazing people in it with the world. I believe in the young farmers of South Africa which this country needs in terms of food sustainability and ecological awareness. Winning is a dream made possible by the amazing people that I photographed and everyone who helped and supported me. I believe in hard work, family and most of all the grace of God. I am truly humbled that my images could even be considered for such a prestigious competition.


Selected from six category winners, Pubarun Basu (India, 19 years-old) has won Youth Photographer of the Year 2021for his image No Escape from Reality. In the photograph the shadows of railings projected onto curtains create the illusion of cage bars from behind which a pair of hands is seen as if trying to break through. The illusion of shadows and hands gesture convey a sense of entrapment shared by so many across the world this past year. For his win Basu receives Sony’s digital imaging kit and global exposure.

Commenting on his win Basu says: “I am incredibly humbled to have been announced as the Youth Photographer of the Year. Participating in this competition has given me a fresh perspective on my art. I have seen some extraordinary photographs by my fellow youth photographers from around the world, and I take immense pride in the fact that my generation has such brilliant minds. I aspire to improve myself as an artist and would like to express my gratitude to my friends and family for always encouraging me to go the extra mile.”


This year’s Outstanding Contribution to Photography has been awarded to the acclaimed Mexican photographic artist Graciela Iturbide. Widely recognised as Latin America’s greatest living photographer, Iturbide’s work offers a photographic account of Mexico since the late 1970s and is celebrated for its defining contribution to the country’s visual identity. In images of everyday life and its culture alongside those of ritual and religion, Iturbide’s work explores her country’s many complexities and contradictions, questioning its inequalities and highlighting the tensions between the urban and rural, modern and indigenous. Her photographs go beyond straight documentary narratives and aim to provide a poetic vision of their subjects informed by the photographer’s personal experiences and journey.



ARCHITECTURE: Category Winner: Tomáš Vocelka, Czech Republic

2nd place: Frank Machalowski, Germany

3rd place: Gu Guanghui, China Mainland


Leonardo Costa Braga, Brazil

Peter Franck, Germany

Arvind Jayashankar, Belgium

Luca Locatelli, Italy

Karin Nützi-Weisz, Switzerland


Category Winner:

Mark Hamilton Gruchy, United Kingdom

2nd place: Luigi Bussolati, Italy

3rd place: Sasha Bauer, Russian Federation


Andrea Alkalay, Argentina

Delphine Blast, France

Ilka & Franz, Germany

Julia Keil, Germany

Kyung-Hoon Kim, South Korea

Niloofar Mahmoudian, Islamic Republic of Iran

Michelle Watt, United States


Category Winner:Vito Fusco, Italy

2nd place: Craig Easton, United Kingdom

3rd place: Lorenzo Tugnoli, Italy


Marcos Azulay, Argentina

Ingmar Björn Nolting, Germany

Justyna Gorniak, Poland

Tomasz Lazar, Poland

Jose Manuel Lopez, Spain

Agnieszka Maruszczyk, Poland

Alexey Pavlov, Russian Federation


Category Winner:

Simone Tramonte, Italy

2nd place: Mohammad Madadi, Islamic Republic of Iran

3rd place: Antonio Pérez, Spain


Felipe Fittipaldi, Brazil

Antonio Faccilongo, Italy

Alessandro Gandolfi, Italy

Li Wentao, China Mainland


Category Winner:

Majid Hojjati, Islamic Republic of Iran

2nd place: Andrea Ferro, Italy

3rd place: Fyodor Savintsev, Russian Federation


Niklas Eschenmoser, Switzerland

Mehrdad Fathi, Islamic Republic of Iran

Samad Ghorbanzadeh, Islamic Republic of Iran

Carol Graham, United Kingdom

Marvin Grey, Philippines

Marc Hennige, Germany


Overall Winner:

Craig Easton, United Kingdom

2nd place: Julia Fullerton-Batten, United Kingdom

3rd place: Jane Hilton, United Kingdom


Richard Ansett, United Kingdom

Theo Gould, United Kingdom

Christian Lee, United States

John Millar, United Kingdom

Agnese Morganti, Italy

Luca Rotondo, Italy

PORTFOLIO: Category Winner: Laura Pannack, United Kingdom

2nd place: Brais Lorenzo, Spain

3rd place: Loli Laboureau, Argentina


Sergio Aparicio – Okobé, Spain

Jacob Ehrbahn, Denmark

Alessandro Gandolfi, Italy

Ilka & Franz, Germany

Peter Franck, Germany

Kayode Moyosade, Nigeria

Marylise Vigneau, France

SPORT: Category Winner: Anas Alkharboutli, Syria

2nd place: Patrick Meinhardt, Spain

3rd place: Farzam Saleh, Islamic Republic of Iran


Anton Dotsenko, United States

Florian Gruet, France

Michael Hanke, Czech Republic

Carlos López, Spain

Barbora Reichova, Czech Republic

Antonio Aragón Renuncio, Spain


Category Winner:

Peter Eleveld, The Netherlands

2nd place: Alessandro Pollio, Italy

3rd place: Paloma Rincon, Spain


Wesley Dombrecht, Belgium

Igor Kryukov, Russian Federation

Maryna Masel, Ukraine

Lorenzo Pennati, Italy

Jan Prengel, Germany

Berenice Riu, Spain


Category Winner:

Luis Tato, Spain

2nd place: Graeme Purdy, United Kingdom

3rd place: Angel Fitor, Spain


Levon Biss, United Kingdom

Will Burrard-Lucas, United Kingdom

Aleksander Nordahl, Norway

Brent Stirton, South Africa



Category Winner:

Klaus Lenzen, Germany


Farshid Ahmadpour, Islamic Republic of Iran

Abdulla Al-Mushaifri, Oman

Steffen Ebert, Germany

Simone Hutsch, Germany

Vytenis Jankūnas, United States

Klaus Lenzen, Germany

Kunkun Liu, China Mainland

Aleksandr Lefler, Russian Federation

Jordan McChesney, Canada

Vitaly Medvedev, Russian Federation

Da Miane, Georgia

Jose Pessoa Neto, Portugal

Holger Ostwald, Germany

Ashwani Sarda, India

CREATIVE:Overall Winner:

Tamary Kudita, Zimbabwe


Edita Bízová, Czech Republic

Tatenda Chidora, Zimbabwe

Maximilien Diaz, France

Vyacheslav Ivanov, Russian Federation

Ali Jamshidi, Islamic Republic of Iran

Joosep Kivimäe, Estonia

Angiolo Manetti, Italy

Jarod Mauws, Belgium

Alireza Movahedi, Islamic Republic of Iran

Hoije Nuuter, Estonia

Nara O’Neil, Australia

Jing Shen, China Mainland

Georgе Shpuntov, Russian Federation

Kylli Sparre, Estonia


Category Winner

Marijo Maduna, Croatia


Sandi Bertoncelj, Slovenia

Hersley-Ven Casero, The Philippines

Serkan Çolak, Turkey

Tadiwanashe Murowe, Zimbabwe

Mary Nhoileen Maypa, The Philippines

Ruud Peters, The Netherlands

Daniel Portch, United Kingdom

Zdeněk Vošický, Czech Republic

Brad Walls, Australia

Xianshe Ye, China Mainland


Category Winner:

Kata Zih, Hungary


Steve Chandler, United Kingdom

Christian Holz, Argentina

Uwe Langmann, Germany

Klaus Lenzen, Germany

Agata Mroczek, Poland

Paolo Paccagnella, Italy

Stefan Pankow, United Kingdom

Ann Petruckevitch, United Kingdom

Manuel Schmidt, Germany

Masumi Shiohara, Japan


Category Winner:

Khanh Phan, Vietnam


Marios Forsos, Greece

Alexis Guevara, Mexico

Graeme Haunholter, Canada

Martina Lo Casto, Italy

Rune Mattsson, Norway

Hiroki Nose, Japan

Yukihito Ono, Japan

Franz Sußbauer, Germany

F.Dilek Uyar, Turkey

Min Min Zaw, Myanmar

LANDSCAPE:Category Winner:

Juan López Ruiz, Spain


Luca Donegani, Italy

Kevin Frank, Switzerland

Jinjing Lyu, China Mainland

Joaquin Marco, Spain

Andrea Ortiz Diaz, Colombia

Mehdi Parsaeian, Islamic Republic of Iran

Lorenzo Poli, Italy

Scott Portelli, Australia

James Rushforth, United Kingdom

Hans Kristian Strand, Norway

Markus Wiedmann, Germany

Parker Yost, United States


Category Winner:

Cristo Pihlamäe, Estonia


Hin Man Au, Hong Kong

Amish Chhagan, Zambia

Yuta Doto, Japan

Arturo de Frias, Spain

Tatyana Nemova, Russian Federation

Alex Pansier, The Netherlands

Alexandre Pietra, Switzerland

Mati Puum, Estonia

Inger Rønnenfelt, Denmark

Koki Shinoda, Japan

Andrew Suryono, Indonesia

Iakovos Thoedoros, Greece


Category Winner:

F.Dilek Uyar, Turkey


Dina Alfasi, Israel

Dimpy Bhalotia, India

David Keith Brown, United States

Gary Cummins, Ireland

Ramunas Danisevicius, Lithuania

Basu Deb, India

Tommaso Galli, Italy

Vytenis Jankūnas, United States

Ares Jonekson, Indonesia

Bartlomiej Jurecki, Poland

Tomasz Kowalski, Poland

Francesco Lopazio, Italy

Zhang Weijian, China Mainland
Soemyint Winn, Myanmar

LIFESTYLE:Category Winner:

Mariano Belmar, Spain


Antonino Barone, Italy

Isabela Teresa Basilio Neri, Brazil

Gemma Brunton, United Kingdom

Holger Bücker, Germany

Stefano Butturini, Italy

Aimee Glucina, New Zealand

Michail Karagiannis, Greece

Hamed Rahmati, Islamic Republic of Iran

Alexey Tsiler, Russian Federation

Brad Walls, Australia


Category Winner:

Lyudmila Sabanina, Russian Federation


Frederic Aranda, United Kingdom

Shirsendu Banerjee, India

Paul Benns, United Kingdom

Bella von Einsiedel, Germany

Reinis Fjodorovs, Latvia

Sabbir Hossen, Bangladesh

Zeng Jinwen, China Mainland

Heun Jung Kim, South Korea

Justin Keene, United Kingdom

King Mtambisi, Zimbabwe

Rhianna Payne, United Kingdom

Jose Pessoa Neto, Portugal

Elif Öztürk, Turkey

Mireia Vilaplana, Spain

Overall Winner: Pubarun Basu, India
Shortlist:Zak Elley, UKEmil Holthausen, GermanyRam Kaushalyan, IndiaConnor Lothian, UK

Tianyang Wang, China Mainland

Overall Winner: Coenraad Heinz Torlage, South AfricaStellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography


Claudia Mauderer, South Africa

Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography

Yanan Li, China Mainland

University of Science and Technology of China

Matías Alejandro Acuña, Argentina


Thomas Hengge, USA

New York University

Irene Facoetti, Italy

Cfp Bauer

Tayla Nebesky, USA

University of the West of England

Hannah Davey, New Zealand

Elam School of Fine Arts

Matias Garcia Paez, Ecuador

Ravensbourne University London





Inbal Mizrahi on press@worldphoto.org



Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards is one of the most important fixtures in the global photographic calendar. Now in its 14th year, the free-to-enter Awards are a global voice for photography and provide a vital insight into contemporary photography today. For both established and emerging artists, the Awards offer world-class opportunities for exposure of their work. The Awards additionally recognise the world’s most influential artists working in the medium through the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Awards; previous recipients include Martin Parr, William Eggleston, Mary Ellen Mark, Candida Hofer and Nadav Kander. www.worldphoto.org/sony-world-photography-awards

2021 JUDGES :

Professional competition: Natasha Egan, Executive Director, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Sunyoung Kim, Curator, Museum of Photography Seoul, South Korea; Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director, African Artists’ Foundation and LagosPhoto Festival; Lindsay Taylor, Curator, University of Salford Art Collection; Hannah Watson, Director, Trolley Books; and Mike Trow, Independent Curator and Photo Editor, Chair of the Jury.

Open & Youth competitions: Gastón Deleau, Director, FOLA, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Student competition: Kate Simpson, Associate Editor, Aesthetica Magazine.


Presented by British art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar, A Year in Photos from the Sony World Photography Awards 2021 celebrates the work of the top winners in one of the world’s biggest photography competitions. Including interviews and behind-the-scenes footage with distinguished photographers, rising talents and industry leading experts, this one hour feature takes viewers on a journey across the globe to explore powerful contemporary stories and artistic excellence.

From a locust infestation in East Africa to a centuries old photo-making technique in the Netherlands and moving portraits of resilience in Syria, the film offers insight into practices and projects by some of the most interesting photographic chroniclers, interprets and artists working internationally today.

This new specially commissioned documentary is available to watch from 5pm BST/ 6pm CET via www.worldphoto.org/yearinphotos


Photographer of the Year

Craig Easton is an international multi award-winning photographer whose work is deeply rooted in the documentary tradition. He shoots long-term documentary projects exploring issues around social policy, identity and a sense of place. His work mixes portraiture, landscape and reportage approaches to storytelling, often working collaboratively with others to incorporate words, pictures and audio in a research-based practice that weaves a narrative between contemporary experience and history. www.craigeaston.com


Open Photographer of the Year

A product of dual heritage, Tamary Kudita was born in Zimbabwe whilst her ancestry can be traced back to Orange Free State, historical Boer state in Southern Africa. She chose to study fine art at Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. There, she graduated in 2017 with a bachelor of fine arts. Subsequently, she established herself in fine art photography. She maintains an active studio practice and has exhibited in Zimbabwe and outside the country. www.instagram.com/africatotheworldzw


Student Photographer of the Year

Currently in his final year of studies at the Stellenbosch Academy, Coenraad Heinz Torlage aspires to share South African perspectives within a global sensibility. The South African narrative is visually strong, culturally complex and Torlage sees it as his mission to tell these stories truthfully through the lens of his camera. www.torlages.co.za


Youth Photographer of the Year

Pubarun Basu first started taking pictures at the age 4 and has since continued to nurture his love for the visual and performing arts. It was only at the age of 15 that he finally received his father’s permission to use his full frame DSLR and have never spent a day not clicking or editing pictures since. He aspires to tell stories from around the globe though his art. www.instagram.com/pubarun.basu


Outstanding Contribution to Photography

Graciela Iturbide was born in Mexico City. In 1969 she enrolled to the Film Center of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico but she was soon drawn to the art of still photography as practiced by the Mexican modernist master Manuel Alvarez Bravo who was her teacher. From 1970-71 she worked as Bravo’s assistant accompanying him on his various photographic journeys throughout Mexico. Graciela Iturbide has had exhibitions at most important museums in Mexico, USA and Europe. She has received international awards such as, W. Eugene Smith Prize; the first prize for the Mois de la Photographie in Paris; the Hugo-Erfurth in Leverkusen, Germany; the First Prize in Hokkaido, Japan; The Prize from the City of Arles, France; the Guggenheim Fellowship; the Hasselblad Award in 2008; the National Prize of Sciences and Arts in Mexico in 2009; and the Infinity given by the International Center of Photography in 2015. Many books of her work have been published in different countries. www.gracielaiturbide.org


The World Photography Organisation is a global platform for photography initiatives. Working across up to 220 countries, our aim is to raise the level of conversation around photography by celebrating the best imagery and photographers on the planet. We pride ourselves on building lasting relationships with both individual photographers as well as our industry-leading partners around the globe. The World Photography Organisation hosts a year-round portfolio of events including the Sony World Photography Awards, one of the world’s leading photography competitions, and PHOTOFAIRS, leading international art fairs dedicated to photography. For more details see worldphoto.org. Follow the World Photography Organisation on Instagram (@worldphotoorg), Twitter (@WorldPhotoOrg) and LinkedIn/Facebook (World Photography Organisation). Our hashtags to follow are #sonyworldphotographyawards #swpa #swpanews.


© Craig Easton, United Kingdom, Photographer of the Year, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

About Sony Corporation

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