Sony World Photos 2013


One Day in History

Portraits of children and youths who survived the massacre on the island of Utoeya outside Oslo (NO) on 22nd of July 2011.

“I bear my scares with dignity, because I got them standing for something I believe in.”

Ylva Schwenke (15) from Tromsø hid by a path called “The love path”. She was shot in the shoulder, her stomach and in both of her thighs.

Photo: Andrea Gjestvang/Moment

The Sony World Photography competition has recently been displayed at Somerset House in London and I was lucky enough to get a guided tour from Sony WPO’s Ania last week.

There is a wide range of what the photos show and the competition is divided into the professional section and then the open and student categories.

The professional winner this year is Andrea Gjestvang, a young photographer from Norway who made a sobering series about the teenage survivors of the summer camp massacre at Utoeya Island. Apparently this was a unanimous decision by all the judges based on the understated and dignified way that Gjestvang has portrayed her subjects. It is very moving to see the quiet, calm images of a girl sitting in the woods remembering her dead friends, or the young guy in a hoodie looking so like every other teen in a hoodie, or the best friends who go to parties, or the girls with terrible physical scars who bear them with dignity because they stood up for what was right and tried to save others. At first glance these teenagers look like any other, but there is a sadness in their eyes and the series is a fitting memorial to a tragedy that nevertheless shows that these young people still have futures.

Campaign Campaign for the shoe brand Jim RickeyAdvertising campaign for the shoe brand Jim Rickey.
Project: Honkey Kong – a 2d platform game perspective of the city. Shot on location in Hong Kong.
Photographer and Creative Director: Christian Aslund
Project Manager: Metecman
Photo Assistent: Loa Bie

On a lighter note, some of my favourite images were the ones by Christian Aslund that mimic the flatness of computer games like Mario. The photographer has captured images of the ground and floors from above and had placed figures in the scenes “running” or “sitting” sideways on these floors to make them appear to be doing some crazy parkour. The guy must go round looking at the ground for markings that resemble 2D computer games. These photos were part of a campaign for Jim Rickey shoes and won the Campaign category of the photo competition. You can see more of them here on the World Photography Organisation’s own website.

Below: Hoang Hiep Nguyen, Vietnam, open photographer of the year 2013 cmyk.jpg  StormOpen Photographer of the Year

One of the most engaging images from the show looks more like an illustration than a photo and it was taken by someone who hadn’t really used a camera much before creating this image. The soft effect of Hoang Hiep Nguyen’s photo is haunting and beautiful, emphasising the swirling wind and giving a kind of expectant poignancy of a storm.

A Portrait of the MatterhornWhen 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 amongst 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.

Nenad Saljic, Croatia, 1st place landscape professional competition 2013

Opposite in sharpness is the monotone image of the Matterhorn in the Alps. One image from this crisp set showed a ghostly white pall blowing around the sharp tip of the mountain.

I also liked the graphic-like Russian Constructivist images that were montone photos overlaid with Russian typography. It might have read “Keep off the Grass” but it looked dynamic as if it said “Brace! Incoming Utopia!” And another graphic was the (coffin) surfboard laid in a muddy grave to raise awareness for the Surfers Against Sewage campaign.

And though I cannot show you here on the blog, I saw some of the most three dimensional 3D I’ve ever seen! It was more 3D than the real world! Popping on a pair of rather not-fetching glasses turned photographic  images of people in their rooms into large dolls houses where it seemed you could just reach in a move the tiny furniture. Amazing. The 3D room also housed a range of desirable Sony cameras. Only yesterday I read a professional photographer’s comment that you don’t need smart equipment to be a good image-maker…..but I wouldn’t have minded one of those cameras!

Sony also sponsor the student focus part of the competition, with opportunities for educational establishments to win Sony cameras and for students to take part in photo projects all over the world. Get your school or university’s photo department to check out the WPO website for more information.

I love a good browse through amazing photos! Anything that transports me emotionally to strange and distant places or helps me “meet” some of this planet’s diverse characters is always welcome. It’s almost as good as travelling and I don’t care whether it is photos or other images such as paintings or illustrations that take me off on a journey. Inspiration abounds!

You can see more of the photos at the WPO’s website here. Many thanks to Ania Wadsworthand Giulia Messina of WPO.



Above Ernest Goh, Singapore, 2nd place nature wildlife professional competition 2013, cmyk

Above: Krasimir Matarov, Bulgaria, winner nature wildlife open competition, 2013, cmyk.jpg


Above: MannyFajutag, Philippines, winner travel open competition 2013,cmyk

Niger Delta

In the Niger Delta a child waits to unload black market oil. Many children do this kind of work instead of going to school. S J, Niger Delta


Above: Yannic Bartolozzi, Switzerland shortlist architecture professional competition 2013 cmyk.jpg


All images courtesy of  Sony World Photography Competition via

1 reply

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