Winners announced for Sony World Photography Awards 2022

Migrants © Adam Ferguson

Adam Ferguson has been named Photographer of the Year at the 2022 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards. His series, Migrantes, which also won in the Portraiture category, including self-portraits of – and by – people in Mexico waiting to cross the border to the US.

The series was conceived in early 2021, after Ferguson noticed a lack of photography from the perspective of migrants on the southern side of the US-Mexico border. The New York Times picked up his idea and greenlit the work, which was made in the Mexican border cities of Juárez and Reynosa in spring last year. There, along with Mexican journalists Ernesto Rodríguez, Silvia Cruz, Noe Gea Medina and Laura Monica Cruz Flores, he spent time with migrants staying in shelters over the course of 11 days. The people who participated in the self-portraits were handed a cable release and left to stage the photographs as they wished.

The shutter release as self-portraiture approach has been used by plenty of photographers over the years, though the resulting images often bear the trace of the overseeing photographer and can appear voyeuristic. In Migrantes, Ferguson really does feel as far removed from the self-portraits as is promised. Aside from setting up the medium format camera, the Australian photographer stepped back entirely.

“Through collaborating with migrants, this series of photographs was an attempt to make images that inspired empathy, rather than sympathy,” Ferguson said. “By surrendering the control of capture and giving each migrant agency in the process of their representation, I hoped to subvert the narrative of marginalization and create a story that felt more human, relatable and honest.”

Photograph showing the effects of climate change in Bangladesh by Shunta Kimura
Living in the Transition © Shunta Kimura

Among the winners of the professional categories is Japanese photographer Shunta Kimura, whose formally beautiful yet grave photo essay documents the effects of climate change in Gabura Union on the southwestern coast of Bangladesh.

Alnis Stakle won in the Creative category for his collage series Mellow Apocalypse, which links historic images pertaining to art, science and journalism with a contemporary context. In the Still Life category, Haruna Ogata – the only woman prizewinner across the entire awards – and Jean-Etienne Portail won first place for their geometric abstract image series, Constellation.

Image of a geometric set design forming a face by Haruna Ogata and Jean-Etienne Portail
Constellation © Haruna Ogata and Jean-Etienne Portal
Collage by Alnis Stakle in Sony World Photography Awards 2022
Mellow Apocalypse © Alnis Stakle

Elsewhere, Hugh Fox brought a sense of wit with his project reflecting on the strange solitude of the pandemic years, while Hungarian photographer Milan Radisics chartered the life of a young fox over eight months in his winning Wildlife and Nature series, The Fox’s Tale.

Tri Nguyen was named Youth Photographer of the Year for his portrait photograph, Under the Moonlight, exploring self-reflection and imperfections, while Ezra Böhm was awarded Student Photographer of the Year for his romanticized series shining a light on historic costumes and culture in Holland. The Open Photographer of the Year for 2022 was awarded to Scott Wilson for his dramatic black and white shot of a wild mustang stallion in Colorado.

Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky was the recipient of the Outstanding Contribution to Photography award, in recognition of his remarkable aerial images illustrating the effects of mass industrialism, human activity and the climate crisis.

A selection of work from his 40-year career will be on show at Somerset House, alongside the exhibition celebrating this year’s award winners and shortlisted entries, until May 2. The winning work can also be found in the virtual showcase.

Photograph by Milan Radisics of a young fox stood on a car windscreen at night
The Fox’s Tale © Milan Radisics
Photograph of Xingu peoples engaging in Huka huka during a ritual called Kuarup
Kuarup © Ricardo Teles
Photograph of frozen surface resembling a crater by Lorenzo Poli
Life on Earth © Lorenzo Poli
Photograph of a person stood under moonlight next to a mirror by Tri Nyugen
Under the Moonlight © Tri Nyugen
Black and white photograph of a mustang stallion kicking up dust by Scott Wilson
Anger Management © Scott Wilson
Photograph of people in a field wearing traditional Dutch costumes by Ezra Bohm
The Identity of Holland © Ezra Böhm

worldphoto.org/sony-world-photography-awards

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