The winners of the annual Sony World Photography Awards have been announced this morning following a virtual ceremony. Winners were crowned across both the professional and open competition, in categories such as landscape, portrait, creative and motion.

Winners in the professional competition include three UK-based photographers across different categories:

Creative Winner: Mark Hamilton Gruchy (United Kingdom) for his series The Moon Revisited
Portfolio Winner: Laura Pannack (United Kingdom) for her submission Portfolio Overview
Portraiture Winner: Craig Easton (United Kingdom) for his series Bank To.

Easton was also named The Photographer of the Year title and accompanying $25,000 cash prize, plus a range of Sony’s digital imaging kit

Bank Top, a collaboration with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafiz, examines the representation (and misrepresentation) of communities in northern England, focusing on the neighbourhood of Bank Top in Blackburn.

The project forms part of Easton’s wider work in the region including Thatcher’s Children (2nd place, Documentary Projects, 2021 Professional competition,), an investigation into the chronic nature of poverty as experienced by three generations of one family; and Sixteen (shortlisted in the Portraiture category of the 2017 Awards), a look into the dreams, aspirations and fears of 16 year-olds from all walks of life.

Over the course of a year Easton and Hafiz worked closely with local inhabitants to explore their stories and experiences through a series of black & white portraits and accompanying texts. These highlight issues around social deprivation, housing, unemployment, immigration and representation, as well as the impact of past and present foreign policy.

Their work counters simplistic generalisations and aims to provide context as to how these communities came together and a better understanding of how they thrive together now.

“These are not people who necessarily asked to be photographed but Craig gained their trust,” said Mike Trow, Chair of the 2021 Professional competition says. “They look frankly to camera and we see a mutual understanding between documenter and subject. It is the moral weight behind this work that makes it so important and deserving of this prize.”

Professional category winners

Architecture and design
Tomáš Vocelka (Czech Republic) for his series Eternal Hunting Grounds

Mark Hamilton Gruchy (United Kingdom) for his series The Moon Revisited

Documentary projects
Vito Fusco (Italy) for his series The Killing Daisy

Simone Tramonte (Italy) for his series Net-zero Transition

Majid Hojjati (Islamic Republic of Iran) for his series Silent Neighborhoods

Laura Pannack (United Kingdom) for her submission Portfolio Overview

from the series ‘BANK TOP’

Craig Easton (United Kingdom) for his series Bank Top

Anas Alkharboutli (Syrian Arab Republic) for his series Sport and Fun Instead of War and Fear

Still Life
Peter Eleveld (Netherlands) for his series Still Life Composition, Shot on Wet Plate

Wildlife and nature
Luis Tato (Spain) for his series Locust Invasion in East Africa

To find out more about this year’s winning and finalist projects please visit the online winners galleries

The Open Competition
The Open competition, which celebrates the power of single images, was won by Tamary Kudita, from Zimbabwe. Kudita won for her outstanding portrait African Victorian submitted to the Creative category. The photograph depicts a young black woman dressed in a Victorian dress and holding traditional Shona cooking utensils. The image probes at stereotypical contextualising of the black female body and offers an alternative visual language through which a multifaceted African identity is presented.  Tamary is the first African winner of the Open competition.

African Victorian, by Tamary Kudita of Zimbabwe

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