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10 stunning photos from Sony World Photography Awards' Open competition

The categories include Natural World, Portraiture, Landscape and Architecture.

THE WINNING SINGLE images of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards’ Open competition have been released this week.

Selected from a record-breaking number of entries from 195 countries and territories, they judges have rewarded 10 exceptional single images that each fit the brief of the diverse categories. 

The winning photographers come from a broad range of countries and backgrounds and include full-time professional photographers, photographers who have recently converted from other careers,  and enthusiasts alike.  

The winners will now go on to compete for the Open Photographer of the Year, winning $5,000 (€4390). This photographer, along with the professional categories’ winners, will be announced at an awards’ ceremony in London on 17 April. 

Here are the winners: 


Philippe Sarfati, French with the image Heatwave

4497_12641_PhilippeSarfati_France_Open_ArchitectureOpencompetition_2019 Source: Philippe Sarfati/Sony World Photography Awards' Open competition

The 21st century museum’s staff waters the lawn during a summer afternoon. Kanazawa, Japan, July 2018

Culture (supported by Culture Trip)

Pan Jianhua, China Mainland with the image Shadow Puppetry

Capture Source: Pan Jianhua/Sony World Photography Awards' Open competition

Shadow Puppetry is an ancient folk art with a history of more than 2000 years in China. The village shadow Puppets performers perform for the local villagers in the courtyard of a stone house.


Martin Stranka, Czech, with the image Dreamers and Warriors

4493_12633_MartinStranka_CzechRepublicRepublic_Open_CreativeOpencompetition_2019 Source: Martin Stranka/Sony World Photography Awards' Open competition

“Whether you are physically male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy – all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside. We should never stop following our dreams, fighting for our ideals and protecting our visions which are all symbolised by the animals captured in this series & Dreamers and Warriors.”


 Christy Lee Rogers, American with the image Harmony

4501_12643_ChristyLeeRogers_UnitedStatesofAmerica_Open_MotionOpencompetition_2019 Source: Christy Lee Rogers/Sony World Photography Awards' Open competition

Shot underwater in Hawaii, this image is part of my Muses Collection. What started to work best for me was having a perspective from outside of the water, looking in and using the surface of a pool as a canvas, utilizing natural effects like the refraction of light with movement to bend reality, and shooting at night so I could really control my light.


Hal Gage, American with the image Stumps, Alder Lake, Nisqually River, Oregon

4503_12645_HalGage_UnitedStatesofAmerica_Open_LandscapeOpenCompetition_2019 Source: Hal Gage/Sony World Photography Awards' Open competition

Stumps exposed from the water levels on the manmade Alder lake on the Nisqually River Dam, Washington.

Natural World and Wildlife

Tracey Lund, British with the image Underwater Gannets

Underwater Gannets Source: Tracey Lund/Sony World Photography Awards' Open competition

Whilst on a trip to Shetland, the biggest thing I wanted to do was photograph the gannets as they feed underwater. The photography takes place at sea around some of Shetland’s remotest headlands. Dead bait is used, using fish the Gannets would normally eat, locally sourced around Shetland. To be able to capture what goes on under the water was an unbelievable experience and one I will never forget.

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Richard Ansett,  British with the image Grayson Perry – Birth

aftertheattack Source: Richard Ansett/Sony World Photography Awards' Open competition

I have been working closely with Grayson Perry for 5 years developing conceptual campaigns for his social documentary films. This ‘Birth’ concept is designed and inspired by the inexhaustible mother and child motif brought upto date for the 21st century and all shot ‘in camera’ at a studio near his home. Baby Dylan was supplied by the client’s press officer recently on maternity leave. We thought it would be a great early memory.

Still Life

Rachel Yee Laam Lai, Hong Kong SAR with the image Peony and Leaves

4487_12591_RachelYeeLamLai_HongKongChina_Open_StillLifeOpencompetition_2019 Source: Rachel Yee Lam Lai/Sony World Photography Awards' Open competition

Although the peony is beautiful, it depends entirely on help from the green leaves. (Chinese proverb) However brilliant you may be, you can’t do anything without support from others.

Street Photography

Carole Pariat, French with the image Open-Air Toilet

4507_12649_CarolePariat_France_Open_StreetPhotographyOpencompetition_2019 Source: Carole Pariat/Sony World Photography Awards' Open competition

This stony forest, situated in the South of China, is composed of many stone peaks which were sculptured gradually by the process of erosion due to rain and wind. On the background, the mountain, shaped also during millions of years. And between the 2, these skyscrapers erected in no time at all in China contrast with this magic landscape without age. Nevertheless, in the similarity of their form, the stony constructions rising of the ground, seem to begin a silent dialogue, with the maze of high buildings drawn by the hand of the men. Picture taken last May.

Travel (supported by Eurostar)

Nicolas Boyer, French with the image Woman Wearing a Wedding Dress

JAPAN - WOMAN WEARING A WEDDING DRESS Source: Nicolas Boyer/Sony World Photography Awards' Open competition

Woman wearing the shiromuku dress (made of the kanjis shiro (白) “white” and muku (無垢) “purity” that the bride wears during a traditional Shinto wedding in Tokyo.

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