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'Survivors' Andrea Gjestvang

Portraits of Norway massacre survivors win Sony World Photo Award

The overall winner scooped top prize for her portraits of survivors from the Norwegian Utoya Island massacre.

THIS YEAR’S SONY World Photo Awards show many different sides to life on this planet – from the aftermath of the Norwegian massacre in Utoya to Romanian celebrations where men dress in bear suits.

Norwegian photographer Andrea Gjestvang (32) was named the L’Iris d’Or/Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year, beating over 122,000 entries from 170 countries. The photographer won her award plus Sony digital imaging equipment and $25,000 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 Utoya, outside Oslo.

The series, ‘One day in history’ “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”, said the award organisers.

Gjestvang – who has been published in Newsweek, M Le Monde, Stern and D Republica – said of her win:

I feel so honoured, grateful and proud to receive this fantastic recognition and prize. I am grateful the important stories of these young people are reaching out and moving people the way they move me.

Hoang Hiep Nguyen, Vietnam, was named Open Photographer of the Year – and it transpired he only bought his first digital camera one year ago. He won for his creative and stunning image of a girl in a storm and his prize was a Sony a77 camera plus $5,000.

In total, there were 15 professional winners from around the world.

The Student Focus Photographer of the Year was named as Natalia Wiernik from Poland and the Youth Photographer of the year was Alecsandra Dragoi.

An Outstanding Contribution to Photography award was given to iconic photographer William Eggleston.

Portraits of Norway massacre survivors win Sony World Photo Award
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  • Andrea Gjestvang, Norway

  • Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi, Romania

  • Hoang Hiep Nguyen, Vietnam

  • William Eggleston, USA

  • Natalia Wiernik, Poland

  • Natalia Wiernik, Poland

  • Berta Vicente, Spain

  • Xu Wei Shou, Taiwan

  • Hisatomi Tadahiko, Japan

  • Matías Gálvez, Chile

Read: Is this the coolest photography in Ireland?>

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