Sony World Photography Awards Announce 2016 Shortlist

See 24 of our favorite frames from the massive shortlist

Category: Professional, Staged I want to explore how self portraiture for many people has become an obsession, and how presence in a self portrait situation is absent, or becomes a peculiar part of the selfie act. This can develop absurd situations, and my project is a play around such situations. © Kristoffer Eliassen

The Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s largest photography competition, has announced their shortlist for 2016. This year the competition, which is run by the World Photography Organisation, received a record-breaking 230,103 entries from photographers in 186 countries—the most in the awards’ history. Of those thousands, 270 were selected for the shortlist. Check out the gallery below to see 24 of our favorites.

Photographers who submitted work to the Professional category now compete for a $25,000 prize and a chance to be named Photographer of the Year. Open The winning and all shortlisted images will go on view at London’s Somerset House on April 22. See work from all of the shortlisted photographers here.

Category: Open, Split Second Taken in Bali during Melasti Festival. This Festival is conducted once a year in conjunction with Nyepi or Silent Day. These young girls were waiting for their turn to perform. They looked stunning with their bright colored costumes and heavy make-up on, however the expression on each of the girls’ face especially the yawning girl gives this image an extra ‘oomph’. © Khairel Anuar Che Ani
Category: Open, Architecture Home of 40 thousand Buddhist monks in Sichuan province. © Attila Balogh
Category: Professional, Campaign When the world learned in late July 2015 about the death of Cecil the Lion, a beloved resident of a national park in Zimbabwe who had been lured away by hunters, then killed and beheaded for a trophy, outrage came swiftly. Walter James Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil, became the target of online death threats. Investigations were launched on two continents; big airlines rushed to announce they would no longer fly the trophies on their planes. But while Cecil put a new focus on illegal poaching, other hunters continued to pursue their own trophies from animals bred in captivity specifically to meet this demand. There are now more captive Lions in South Africa than wild ones; approx. 8000 compared to 2000 living in the wild. Many of these animals are reared specifically to be shot and owned by wealthy tourists from Europe and North America. In 2011 the South African government effectively banned the practice of ‘canned hunting’ by requiring an animal to roam free for two years before it could be hunted, severely restricting breeders and hunters’ profitability. But lion breeders challenged the policy in South Africa’s courts and a high court judge eventually ruled that such restrictions were ‘not rational’. The number of trophy hunted animals has since soared. Demand from the Far East is also driving profits for lion breeders. The legal export of lion bones and whole carcasses has also soared. Breeders argue it is better that hunters shoot a captive-bred lion than further endanger the wild populations, but conservationists and animal welfare groups dispute this. Wild populations of lions have declined by 80% in 20 years, so the rise of lion farms and canned hunting has not protected wild lions. Trophy-hunters who begin with a captive-bred lion may then graduate to the real, wild thing. Perhaps what’s so hard to understand about trophy hunters is not the thousands of dollars they spend to kill wildlife nor their intense desire to destroy what is rare, big and beautiful. It’s that so many trophy hunters do seem to genuinely love animals. Certainly they know a great deal about the animals they kill and speak in tones of reverent awe when describing their beauty. Many if not most trophy hunters have a favorite animal. It’s just that a trophy hunter’s favorite is very often the same animal they most want to kill. © David Chancellor
Category: Professional, Conceptual Beached humans on unknown shores. © Alejandro Beltran
Category: Open, Nature and Wildlife Bering sea. Commander islands, baby fur seal. © Andrey Narchuk
Cateory: Professional, Campaign The story of a big unload. In France we throw away approximately 365kg of waste per person, per year. Although, it is difficult to know the actual quantity when our waste is being collected every week. #365, Unpacked is the result of a four years work during which the photographer has stopped throwing away his recycled waste, and has collected it instead. 70m3 of packaging has been collected to create the base of the project, which has been invading the daily life of the protagonists of this photographic series. This “waste bank” includes 1600 milk bottles, 4800 toilet rolls, and even 800kg of newspapers. The photographer has decided to sort all the collected waste to photograph it separately and by category. Each photo of this series has been set up within a live installation and has been created in real conditions without any photo editing software. Beyond the graphic dimension, the accumulation of waste accentuates the gap between the human and his environment. If today we can witness an evolution of the consciousness, our strongest argument is economic as the cost of this packaging is two-fold. Firstly, the cost is covered by the consumer during the purchase and secondly, it will be the same consumer who will pay for the collection and the treatment of the packaging once used. Between making us question ecology and our way of consuming, #365, Unpacked reminds us that the best waste is the waste that we, as humans don’t produce. © Antoine Repessé
Category: Professional, Daily Life There are more than 300 people that with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus blue unit, representing 25 different countries and speaking everything from Russian to Arabic to Guarani. A few travel in cars and trailers, but a majority, 270, live on the trains. Most come from multi-generation circus families, to the extent that collectively, the circus staff represents thousands of years of circus history. The men and women all say that only circus people like them can understand the lifestyle. They spend 44 weeks of the year traveling an average of 20,000 miles from coast to coast on a train that is 61 cars long. It is a life of close quarters and rigorous training, a life that many of the performers began in childhood. Their job is to convince the world that the circus still matters. © Stephanie Sinclair
Category: Professional, Staged In this project, Alberto Alicata, traces the history of photography, image iconic realized by the great masters, resorting to the use of a symbol of contemporary Western culture: Barbie. Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin, David Lachapelle, Mario Testino are some of the names which Alicata honours, studying carefully chosen shots and recreating a set to measure Barbie rebuilt in detail the limits of the obsessive precision, the original that inspired it, in order to strengthen the authenticity and strength of timeless images, now become part of our visual memory and intended to be timeless. Intuition playful operate this simulation, using one of the most imitated, idolized, collected and studied which is renewed in every historical period, this production puts in a dimension in the making, is intended to be enriched with new images, and more opportunity to quote unexpected suggestions. © Alberto Alicata
Category: Professional, Candid In Paris, when the sun is back, the ‘bronzeur’ goes along the Seine. Wearing clothes or almost naked, he is looking for the perfect spot to enjoy the sun. Specifically, he is looking for a bench that will allow the best conditions. Usually he has brought a towel to avoid contact between him and the bench. It’s in the early afternoon that the bronzeur settles. It’s the perfect moment to get a perfect tan. They are very relaxed, and waiting for the sun to do its job. © Alexandre Pruvos
Category: Professional, Daily Life Coal used to be the gold of West Virginia, US. But then Obama came and new environmental regulations. Together with lower price on coal, it led to huge redundancies and the coal became a curse for many of the coal-cities in West Virginia. In 1940, 140.000 worked in the mountains, today only about 15.000 are left in the coal business. Town like Beckley and Mullens does not have many other sources of income. Drugs, pills, alcohol and violence is dominant many places, and young people are struggling to find work, forcing many to move. © Espen Rasmussen
Category: Professional, People Until the 60s, South Korea was almost a mediaeval country, poor and underdeveloped. After just 50 years, South Korea is now one of the most advanced countries in the world. The rush towards modernity has been fostered by imposing a huge sense of competition and a painstaking effort to reach scholastic, aesthetic and professional perfection. Youngsters grow up by keeping in mind the same ideals and future aims: get the best marks to get the best jobs. At the same time, the aesthetic models are totally conformed, obtained through a massive us of plastic surgery. The Country pushes the young generation towards an alienating standardization, the exact opposite of what happens in Western Countries, where success comes from one’s ability to emerge from the mass. The collateral effects of this rapid social, educational, economical, aesthetic and technological evolution “achieved through high competition and rivalry” are psychological outbursts such as social isolation and stress that sometimes bring to alcoholism and suicide (South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates in the world: 43 per day). © Filippo Venturi

showgirl, during her performance in ocean drive

Category: Professional, Candid Miami is an incredible city, multifaceted, a modern Babylon. From Ocean Drive to Downtown, the city enjoys great popularity due to the charm of its buildings, nightlife and trendy life. Miami is a city full of contrasts, where wealth and poverty is visible and where fun, fashion, but also immigration and cultures are mixed generating the true identity of this city. Despite its modernity and brightness, the atmosphere is light. Here contemporary art develops and everything seems possible.
Category: Open, People People on mass yoga exercise in the central park of Vilnius. © Karolis Janulis
Category: Professional, Staged As an expression of absurdity in an absurd world, eruption of freedom in skimpy landscapes, anarchic dancing in a shabby architecture, the pictures of ‘The Philosopher’ are the result of improvised events, born out of the search “at the whim of improvised journeys “of places favorable to disruption, to reinvention”. The settings are those of the institutional planning. Confined in their useful role, they become inhuman when pushed by. The pictures are Epectase brings back the body to it, fitted with a bizarre sensuality, both Old France style and futuristic. Between dada poetry and punk controversy, the body that is staged here wants to wake up life. Absurdity in an absurd world, eruption of freedom in skimpy landscapes, anarchic dancing in a shabby architecture, the clichés of the philosopher are the result of improvised events, born of research at the discretion of improvised trips the two artists. © Juliette Blanchard
Category: Professional, Staged I want to explore how self portraiture for many people has become an obsession, and how presence in a self portrait situation is absent, or becomes a peculiar part of the selfie act. This can develop absurd situations, and my project is a play around such situations. © Kristoffer Eliassen
Category: Professional, Contemporary Issues We’ve arrived in El Salvador to see for ourselves the human effects of the violence that is rapidly making the country the deadliest place in the world. After a one-year dip in the murder rate following a truce negotiated between criminal gangs and the government of Mauricio Funes in 2012, the killings have spiked again this year, with a projected murder rate for 91 per 100 thousand for 2015. This means nearly 6000 people will be killed this year. According to police statistics, so far 2859 people have already been murdered. Much of El Salvador’s violence is attributed to gang members. The prisoners we met are members of the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS13, a transnational criminal gang which originated on the streets of Los Angeles along with its main rival, the Barrio 18 gang. Its founders were refugees from El Salvador’s 12-year civil war, which killed over 75,000 people. Under the Clinton and Bush administrations in the late 90s and early 2000s Central American gang members were deported back en masse to weak post-war nations unable to accommodate them. © Marielle van Uitert

Synchronised Swimming – 16th FINA World Championships: Day Four

Category: Professional, Sport Teams compete in the Women’s Team Free Synchronized Swimming Preliminary on day four of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on July 28, 2015 in Kazan, Russia.
Category: Professional, Still Life Editorial for German magazine, Stern, Jewelry special. © Oliver Schwarzwald
Category: Professional, Staged Flesh Love Returns: Men and women are attracted to each other and try to become one. This fundamental desire carries an energy that affects all matter in the world. I wonder what is the reason we have to make such an effort to become one. Possibly we were originally one. Since I believe this, I intend to visualize this power of love by adhering and unifying couples. The closer the distance between them, the stronger the power. The law of gravity also shows the pull is stronger when two objects become closer; and glue, too, is stronger when it is applied thinner. To be adhered shows their strength. I decided to vacuum-pack couples as a method to express coherence. Because the couple cannot breathe in the bag, the vacuum-packed state can only be kept for several seconds. This is why I chose photography to capture these pieces. I have begun the project which takes a shrunk couple at the most important place for them. I make them to choose a place for shooting. There is a person who chooses the home where a life is being always done together, too, there would be a person who chooses the workplace they knew each other and a person who chooses the location of the memory, too. Every kind of place will be space of love by being couple. © Photographer Hal
Category: Professional, Sport Portraits of the silver medal winners just after loosing their final at the Zealand boxing Championships held in Copenhagen in March. © Nikolai Linares
Category: Professional, Architecture The ‘Pools’ series is a study of water, one of the most precious resources for life on our planet. The artistic approach is to show how the important resource is in contrast between being the consummate location for entertainment and the incredible waste of drinking water, not only for being used in private pools but also the trend to privatize what is a public asset and use it for commercial reasons. Public pools can still be a symbol for the importance that water should be free accessible to everyone. The clean formal language and the simple design of the pictures focus our interest on this newsworthy issue with elegance and almost playful. A deep dive into the blue as Zirwes copied parts of the original pool tiles and enlarged them in a simple, visible way to create a kind of mount in patterns. © Stephan Zirwes
Category: Youth, Portrait Taken in Cannes, France 2015. I took this photograph on Promenade de La Croisette, during my summer holiday. Whilst everyone is mostly new wealth, this woman stood out, as she is relatively modest in appearance, and accompanied by a dog, as well as being elderly. I found it amusing how she shared the same facial expression as the dog. © Talia Rudofsky
Category: Open, Nature and Wildlife I’ve used water reflection let the grass looks like a cloud. So I named It Cloud Flamingo. © Steiner Wang

Kinshasa, Paris of Africa 2025

Category: Professional, Candid The Democratic Republic of the Congo is known for its war, rebels and poverty, but when it comes to style and fashion its capital Kinshasa is an inspiration for many people on the African continent. Here fashion is not the motor powering the rapidly growing economy, but rather an effect of this; the current economic and political circumstances are the flywheel that is allowing something that has always been in the population’s DNA to flourish. Kinshasa, Paris of Africa 2025 is part of an ongoing multi media project, named Future Cities.