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Photo Contest Insider Blog

2013 Sony World Photography Awards Winners

April 26, 2013

Thirty-two year-old Norwegian photographer Andrea Gjestvang was last night announced as the L’Iris d’Or/Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year. Andrea Gjestvang beat more than 122,000 entries from 170 countries, and she collected her award plus Sony digital imaging equipment and $25,000 (USD) prize money at a gala ceremony held in London.

The judges voted unanimously for Gjestvang’s powerful series of portraits of children and youths who survived the July 2011 massacre on the island of Utoeya, outside Oslo. Titled ‘One day in history’ the series captures the young survivors with immense sensitivity and honesty and are an enduring testament to the resolve of these young people in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.


© Andrea Gjestvang/Moment Agency, Norway, Winner, People, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – “I bear my scares with dignity, because I got them standing for something I believe in, – said Ylva Schwenke (15) from Troms, – I hid by a path called “The love path””. She was shot in the shoulder, stomach and in both of her thighs.


© Andrea Gjestvang/Moment Agency, Norway, Winner, People, Professionl Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – “In the period after Utøya I had a really hard time sleeping. I was afraid of the dark and suffered from dreadful nightmares. My mom and I decided that getting a dog might help me, so I got Athene. Now she sleeps on top of my stomach every night.” Iselin Rose Borch (15) from Grong was hiding behind a rock by the pump house on the island. She was rescued by tourists in a boat.



Professional category winners and finalists

The winners plus the 2nd and 3rd placed photographers of the Professional competition were also revealed at the awards ceremony. All 15 Professional winners – from Australia to Peru – were flown to London to collect their award and received a Sony α99 camera.

The winning series of works showcase the very best in international contemporary photography, from stunning black and white portraits of the Matterhorn mountain to a witty set shot in the back of an Argentinian limousine to a wry look at the secret life of the people of North Korea. The winners are:


© Roman Pyatkovka, Ukraine, Winner, Conceptual, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – Soviet photo – is the whole epoch, which is gone irrevocably. On one hand these images are from the odious magazine "Soviet Photo", filled with communist propaganda. On the other hand these are the pictures of underground photographers of those times, which could be imprisoned for their imagery. To merge these images in one today means reconsider that time. The time of ephemeral ideals and bitter disappointments. We need to rethink it in order to understand what to do now.


© Nenad Saljic, Croatia, Winner, Landscape, Professional Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – When I was young, I had long fantasized about climbing the Matterhorn but I never really had the chance. The Matterhorn was the last great Alpine peak to be conquered and its first ascent in 1865 marked the end of the golden age of alpinism. Its North Face, which is on all images, is among the "Three Great Problems" in the Alps and was not climbed until 1931. I have been around Zermatt countless times, the village nestled at the foot of the Matterhorn, looking toward the mountains and trying to capture the exquisiteness of this magical peak and its endless state of change; to compress the passing of time, the beauty of the wind and the clouds dancing around the mountain. This portfolio is a kind of memento to all climbers who dared to go there and for those who never returned.


© Myriam Meloni, Italy,1st place, Arts and Culture,Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – A luxury emblem used to transport politicians and rock stars in the 80's, nowadays the limousine turned into an icon of the Argentinean popular culture. Brides in their white dresses, television starlets, fifteen years old celebrating their birthdays and future husbands, – they all share the same sensation of sitting one night on an electric blue Ford Fairlane from 1972. "The limousine" explores a limited space in which many diverse things can happen. Between drunken, striptease, tears and laughter, the limousine is transformed into the scenario of ordinary people that use the dark tinted windows to release their fantasies and their transgression, under the curiosity of passers by.


© Jens Juul, Denmark, Winner, Portraiture, Professional, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – Six degrees of Copenhagen; Taking its point of departure in the idea that every person on Earth is connected in the sixth degree, this series of photos depicts human connections through the city of Copenhagen. The set up is that I portray random people that I engage with in the streets, and that these chance meetings end up with me taking highly personal photos of these people, who then each send me on to another person in their network, who I can portray, who then gives me the name of another person



© Ilya Pitalev/RIA Novosti_Russia_Winner_Current Affairs_Professional Competition_2013 Sony World Photography Awards – In 2012, the people of North Korea celebrated the centennial birthday of the founder of their state, Kim Il Sung. Kim Jong Il, who had continued the policy of his father for many years, passed away in 2011. Because of the policies of Kim Jong Il, North Korea remained the most closed country for many years. There has never been any complete and reliable information about developments in North Korea. Kim Jong Un, the grandson of Kim Il Sung, now rules the country. According to the opinion of the readers of "Time" magazine he received a title "Person of the Year 2012". Will the new ruler break the nearly 100-year-long silence? Will the third monument appear on the central square of Pyongyang?


© Gali Tibbon, Israel, Winner, Travel, Professional Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – Every year, just before Christmas day (Julian calendar) thousands of pious Christian orthodox worshipers make pilgrimage to Lalibela, a small town in Ethiopia's highlands, known as Jerusalem of Africa or Black Jerusalem. Lalibela is famous for its 13th century monolithic churches, carved out of the living rock and one of the world's great wonders.


© Fabrice Fouillet, France, Winner, Architecture, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – Through the series "Corpus Christi", I wished to highlight the architectural aesthetic of the new places of worship and their hymn to minimalism, which has represented a genuine creative inspiration in modern religious architecture. Being a part of a movement initiated in the 1920s and perpetuated by great architects such as Guillaume Gillet, Gottfried Boehn and Auguste Perret, most of these churches were built in the 1950-60s. Scattered throughout Europe and the world, they reveal a new conception of the sacred, a representation of the divine imbued with modernity, thus triggering a debate and a rejection from some architects and members of the clergy. I have chosen to capture this break with centuries of architectural tradition.


© Christian Åslund, Sweden, Winner, Campaign, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – Project Honkey Kong – a 2d platform game tribute. Shot on location in Hong Kong. Images were shot from skyscrapers toward the ground, using a telephoto lens to make the image as flat as possible to make it look like a platform game.


© Adam Pretty/Getty Images, Australia, Winner, Sport, Professional Competition,2013 Sony World Photography Awards – Olympic Journey 2012


© Alice Caputo, Italy, Winner, Lifestyle, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – This is really my story. Wonderful.


© Klaus Thymann/Adamsky, Denmark, Winner, Fashion & Beauty, Professional Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – The story was photographed in the remote east coast of Iceland, on and around the glacier lake of Vatnajokull named Jokulsarlon. Under temperamental weather and light conditions Klaus Thymann let fashion and nature merge together in a bright and beautiful way.



© Vanessa Colareta, Peru, Winner, Still Life,Professional Competition,2013 Sony World Photography Awards – "Through the analysis of food in different cultures one can find socially relevant cultural historical evidence" Elisabeth Hartung, "The Art of Eating". "Migrant" uses still life to talk about a current event: the migration of women in Spain. This work is inspired by the symbolism of the still life of Spanish Golden Age to photographically represent hybrid social processes such as globalization and migration.


©Valerio Bispuri/Echo Press Agency, Italy, Winner, Contemporary Issues_Professional Competition_2013 Sony World Photography Awards – I spent 10 years travelling for South-America jails. A different and complex world in which violence and abuse are part of convicts life. I saw how the convicts try to find a space similar to that one they had outside jails. They try to preserve their dignity. The necessity to recreate their space is the only way to defend them. They hardly try to maintain their habits in a human boundary condition and overcrowding status. Violence and power management inside the jails are direct consequences of these conditions. I went around for 74 male and female jails in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia e Venezuela. I got in contact with prisoners and guards, with fear and anger, with hope and diffidence. Some convicts considered me a distraction, others looked at me with envy, others again with contempt because they thought that I was there only for taking pictures to sell of their confined life.


©Satoru Kondo_Japan, Winner, Professional competition, Nature and Wildlife 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – A flower is not a flower. Its like a woman. Flower's life is transient, but beautiful.


Open Photographer of the Year – Hoang Hiep Nguyen, Vietnam 1192

Twenty-one year old amateur photographer from Hanoi, Vietnam, who incredibly only bought his first digital camera one year ago, was announced as the Open Photographer of the Year.

Hoang Hiep Nguyen was presented with a Sony α77 camera plus $5,000 (USD) for his winning image of a young girl in a storm. The photograph beat entries from around the world in a competition that sought to find the world’s single best image taken by an amateur photographer or photography enthusiast

© Nguyen Hoang Hiep, Vietnam, Open Photographer of the Year, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – That girl stand firm in the 'storm', When confronting challenges, she will never give up.


Student Focus Photographer of the Year – Natalia Wiernik, Poland 1496

In a programme that now includes over 230 universities worldwide, the Student Focus award is the largest of its kind. Polish photographer Natalia Wiernik, who competed for the Student Focus Photographer of the Year title on behalf of her university, the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts, Krakow, Poland, was announced as the winner and presented with €35,000 worth of Sony digital imaging equipment for her university.


©Natalia Wiernik, Poland, Student Focus Photographer of the Year, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – In the same way as the boundaries of tolerance grow, the notion of family escapes the limitations of one simple definition.More and more frequently, relations are formed not on the basis of blood ties but based on similarities. These can stem from corresponding experience, shared values or emotional closeness. Paradoxically, similarities may even draw on oddity and peculiarity. It is then that the eccentricity of the individuals that meet becomes a keystone that allows for the formation of a certain community-family.The protagonists of my pictures are taken out of the context of place and time. They share visual kinship which is further emphasized by the scenery among which they are placed. We can only wonder what their relationships out of the frame are and whether the community they have formed in front of the eye of the camera really exists. It is entirely up to us to decide what conclusions we will draw and whether we will resist the temptation to classify and judge quickly.


Youth Photographer of the Year – Alecsandra Dragoi, Romania 1448

A striking image of a New Year festival in Romania won nineteen year-old Alecsandra Dragoi the title of Youth Photographer of the Year. From Romania and currently at university in the UK, Dragoi image was chosen as the single best photograph taken by a photographer under the age of 20.


© Alecsandra Dragoi, Romania, Youth Photographer of the Year, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards – New Year's eve traditions in Romania

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