Amazing Winning Images From Sony’s Open Photo Competition

Stella McDaniel

The World Photography Organisation has announced the category winners and shortlisted images in the Open competition of the Sony World Photography Awards 2022, recognizing the best single photos from 2021.

More than 170,000 images were entered in this year’s Open competition, as 100-plus photographers from around the world were shortlisted in addition to the ten category winners.

Each winner receives digital imaging equipment from Sony and will advance to compete for the prestigious Open Photographer of the Year title and a $5,000 prize.

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The overall winner of the Open competition will be announced on April 12 and select photos by winners and shortlisted entries will be exhibited as part of the Sony World Photography Awards at Somerset House, London, from April 13 – May 2, 2022.

The prestigious, free to enter international competition, now celebrating its 15th year, is a global voice for contemporary photography spanning a large array of photographic styles and subjects, from wildlife and natural landscapes to surreal street photography.

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The categories in the Open competition include portraiture, travel, natural world and wildlife, lifestyle, landscape. architecture, creative, motion, object and street photography.

“Creativity and originality were very important in choosing a winning image and it was terrific to see the excitement and joy of the photographers when they captured the moment,” said Hideko Kataoka, who piloted the judging panel. “The photographs in this competition each make a coherent visual statement about a situation or particular circumstance in an elegant visual way. As can be seen in many images in the shortlist this year, black and white photography holds a special place in the hearts of many photographers. The simplicity of black and white has the power to distil the content of an image, and direct the viewer’s attention to the subject.’”

Animals And People

A wild mustang stallion kicks up a dust storm in northwestern Colorado.

A murmuration of starlings over Lough Ennell in County Westmeath, Ireland.


A portrait of 16-year-old surfer Simone Gentile. Corallini captures Simone fresh from the sea, with beads of water running down his cheeks.

Travel And Landscapes

A young woman making a traditional Burmese parasols in Mandalay, Myanmar.

A field of wilted sunflowers dried out by the beating sun in Spain offers an evocative landscape that could almost pass at first glance for portraiture. The photographer’s imagination was caught by the proud stature of the flowers, recalling for him the rural past of Spain and the women who worked the arid fields of Castilla.

“I encountered this field of sunflowers in Castilla and León,” he said. “Sunflowers seek the sun on its route. These ones, although withered, stood up proudly. When I grabbed my camera to shoot, I no longer saw sunflowers but women walking the dry fields, wearing ancestral garments. An army of spirits – the inexorable exodus of the rural Spanish.”

A winter sunset in Krkonose National Park, Czech Republic

Architecture And Human Activity

In an industrial district in Hong Kong, surrounded by a mix of old and new developments, this shot depicts the chaotic façade of a weathered industrial complex, juxtaposed with the stylish front entrance of a skyscraper.

The image highlights a clash between the past and the present in Hong Kong by contrasting the co-existence of old and new developments.

The shadow and light accentuate the overall monochromatic effect of the city’s architecture.

Great Britain’s ‘Three Graces’ — the Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building — on Liverpool’s Pier Head, shot from the Albert Dock.

The honey collectors collect in winter. They place the bees’ nests near the mustard field because they produce more honey that way. This is a common scene in the Bangladeshi countryside.

“The waves were the biggest I’ve ever seen in the evening in The Hague, Netherlands,” Nurk recalled. “The waves and the pouring rain created quite a unique atmosphere.”

Macaws in early morning fly above Caracas, Venezuela.

The photograph shows a split-second moment as a child runs across a street in Havana, Cuba, turning to look behind him at a car blocking the road.

The black and white format, crumbling building facades and vintage car give the image the appearance of a classic street scene from another era.

“This is the third picture of thousands taken over a month-long trip to Havana, Cuba, and it is my favorite,” Souchon said. “There is something happening here, some kind of tension: The car looks like it is drifting in the middle of the street, and the kid looks like he is running away from something.”

The photographer documents her mother’s experiences with chronic vertigo and dizziness. In this portrait, Salmon explores the senses, shooting her mother with her eyes closed in a stark red light, head tilted as if trying to find balance.

“A still life of things thrown away, that might be useful for someone else – or could, hopefully, become art,” Reyes comments.

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