The Sony World Photography Awards

I visited the exhibition of these awards on 4th May, a few days before the exhibition was about to close. Unfortunately due to other commitments during my day in London, my visit was limited to just over one hour. I could easily have stayed much longer.

The exhibition was held at Somerset House in London, and was split into two separate galleries. Most of the photographs were displayed in plain white or black frames, but some were unframed.

The exhibition was split into various sections, relating to the sections of the awards themselves. Some of the images were very striking, some very sad, and others very picturesque. There was a wide range of subjects by photographers from all over the world.

One series which impressed me was very simple. It was by Sabine Cattaneo of Switzerland, and was awarded first prize in the conceptual category. It was about the Swiss law allowing people to legally commit suicide when they have received a bad prognosis for a fatal disease. The series was set in a line on one wall, and each image represented a place where some people had made the decision to die. There were obvious places such as their own bedroom and a hospital bed, but there were other unusual options such as a hotel room or a caravan. The whole series was accompanied by text and ended with a plain white sheet as the last image. Although none of the pictures was particularly special in itself, the whole series along with the words made for a very poignant study.

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Cattaneo S. (2017)

In the Current Affairs and News category, Alessio Romenzi was awarded first prize for a series of photographs about the fight against ISIS in Syria. I had already seen one of his photographs in the newspaper but seeing them on the wall at a large size had made very different impression on me.

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Romenzi A. (2017)

The Photographer of the Year, had been awarded to Frederik Buyckz of Belgium. His series Whiteout was a set of images taken in the winter when the whole landscape is covered by snow, They were taken in remote places where animals and people have to cope with severe winter weather without modern conveniences. One in particular showed horse which had collapsed attempting to move during a powerful snowstorm.

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Buyckx F. (2017)

The second gallery was largely dedicated to the national winners of the competition, and also held a large collection of images by Martin Parr. The exhibition covered his photographs from the 1970s when he took black and white pictures of old cars rotting away in Ireland, up to the present day with his bright colour photographs of life around the world.

I really wish that I had had more time to peruse this exhibition, but I bought the related book to enable to examine the images later at my leisure.


  • World Photography Organisation. (2017). Sony World Photography Awards 2017. 1st Ed. [S.l.]: World Photography Organisation.

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