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Photo Contest Insider Blog

Sony World Photography Awards 2011

February 22, 2011

Student Focus competition shortlist announced.

Student Focus has established itself as the world’s most high-profile student photography award and is open to universities worldwide that hold a photography programme.  The 2011 competition attracted entries from over 200 institutions across six continents, increased from 120 in 2010 and grown from just ten European universities  in 2007, its inaugural year.

Created in partnership with the Young Tate Online, Tate’s digital programme for young creatives, this year’s student competition brief was based on the critically acclaimed photographic exhibition EXPOSED at Tate Modern, London. The 2010 Student Focus partnership project represents Tate’s aim to reach beyond the walls of the Tate galleries, working across platforms to engage audiences in new and innovative ways. Students were asked to submit images drawn on themes explored within the exhibition, resulting in a highly impressive shortlist.

Ten burgeoning photographers from each of the shortlisted institutions have now been chosen to take part in the final competition with the winner being announced at an awards ceremony in London on 27 April 2011.  All shortlisted photographers will take part in the World Photography Festival at Somerset House, London.  Students will receive lectures, talks and master classes led by, industry figureheads and Academy members.

Their winning and shortlisted images will also be exhibited as part of the World Photography Festival London.

The ten shortlisted institutions are:


Finland, Novia University of Applied Sciences, Linda Varoma

France, École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie, Juliette Martin

France, Ecole Nationale Superieure Louis Lumiere, Louis Boulet 

Russia, St Petersburg State University of Film and TV, Nadya Gorodetskaya

UK, London College of Fashion, Nicol Vizioli     


Australia, RMIT, Rory Gardiner             

North America

New York, Tisch School of Art, New York University, Jonno Rattman

South America

Argentina, Motivarte, Escuela de Fotografía, Juan Troncoso


Bangladesh, Pathshala South Asian Media Academy, Tushikur Rahman

Africa/Middle East

South Africa, Tshwane University of Technology, Frank Marshall

The shortlist was selected by a prestigious judging panel from the photographic community including:  Deborah Willis – Chair and Professor of Photography and Imaging at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University; Eder Chiodetto, Curator of  Photography at the Museum of Modern Art of Sao Paulo; Roger Tooth, Head of Photography of The Guardian, The Observer and; Simon Norfolk, winner of the Foreign Press Club of America Award and Le Prix Dialogue at Les Rencontres d’Arles and Shizuka Yokomizo, photographer known for her portrait series Strangers and exhibited worldwide.

The brief for the next stage of the competition is ‘Actions speak louder than words’.  The ten shortlisted photographers will be asked to produce a series of images on the subject of actions and movement with Sony Alpha cameras.  They have a month prior to the awards in April to submit their images before they and their tutors fly to London to compete for the 2011 title.  The overall winner will be announced at the Sony World Photography Awards ceremony in London’s Leicester Square Odeon on 27 April where they will be awarded approximately 45,000 Euros worth of Sony digital imaging equipment.

Deborah Willis, judge, comments: “Over the last ten years, I have had the opportunity to imagine notions about the camera experience and the photographic moment through the eyes of student photographers. The opportunity to look at works by students throughout the world was indeed a pleasure and enlightening.  What it means to be Exposed is explored and realized in the finalists category; we see spectacle and the body; pleasure and sexuality represented in studio portraits and street life.  We also image being looked at on subways and through open windows.  Hidden behind these wonderful young photographers works is how fantasy is realized and implied as well as the effects of voyeurism has had on art and journalism.  The pose is revealed as expressive and performative, collapsing ideas about being seen, being looked at and the return of the gaze.  The Student Focus explores everyday life and the imaginary in compelling ways and it was indeed a pleasure to view all of the entries and to identify what it means to be Exposed!”

Ania Wadsworth, World Photography Organisation Student Focus Award Coordinator comments: “The student focus programme continues to engage with hundreds of students of photography worldwide.  Each year, we are continually surprised and delighted with the overwhelming response to the programme and the quality of the work submitted from around the globe.  The international platform for Student Focus is ever expanding, this year we welcome an extra four commended schools to the Festival, alongside the usual six student winners, to further broaden the experience of the students involved and enabling the further reach of communication between the international students, tutors and schools”

Key Dates

World Photography Festival London

Tuesday 26 April – Sunday 1 May

Student Focus winner’s announcement

Wednesday 27 April

The World Photography Organisation