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  • Jun 12, 2020

Asian and Australian Photographers Scoop up Prizes from Sony

The World Photography Organisation (WPO) has revealed the results of its 2020 Sony World Photography Awards, with several Asian and Australian photographers acknowledged for their works. Each recipient is awarded digital imaging equipment from Sony.

Among winners of the ten Professional categories, for bodies of work, Hong Kong photographer Chung Ming Ko won in the Documentary section. His series Wounds of Hong Kong (2019) spotlight 24 protestors and the injuries they obtained from clashes with the police during Hong Kong’s ongoing anti-government protests, ignited last year by a now withdrawn extradition bill. Iranian photographer Hashem Shakeri was acknowledged as first runner-up in the Discovery category for his Cast Out of Heaven (2019– ). The series documents the struggles of rapid urbanization in new satellite towns from the Mehr Housing Project, created in response to rising property values due to United States's increasingly harsh sanctions against Iran. Japanese photographer Masahiro Hiroike's images of fireflies in forests, Himebotaru (2019), is the first runner-up for the Nature and Wildlife category. 

Other Asian artists recognized in the Professional category include Korean photographer Chang Kyun Kim who garnered third place in the Landscape category for shots of the World War II-era internment camps for more than 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-American citizens in the United States, New Home (2018–19). Chinese photographer Chen Fangbin came in third for the Still Life category with images of bicycle parts and Youqiong Zhang also took third in the Documentary category for images of Chinese-funded enterprises in Africa.

In the Open section for standalone images, Australian photographers Antoine Veling, Craig McGowan, and Adrian Guerin won in the respective categories of Culture, Landscape, and Travel. Veling was recognized for Mark 5:28 (2019), which likens an Iggy Pop concert scene to the biblical passage “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” McGowan’s Ice Reflections features an iceberg at the Northeast Greenland National Park. Guerin’s Riding a Saharan Freight Train captures the Saharan wilderness. Chinese photographers Guofei Li and Suxing Zhang won the respective categories of Natural World and Wildlife, and Creative. Li’s Tai Chi Diagram (2019) shows two cheetahs in embrace, while Zhang’s monochromatic portrait of a young woman, Knot, highlight femininity.

Taiwanese photographer Hsien-Pang Hsieh won in the newly introduced Youth section, featuring works created by those between the ages of 12 to 19. Taken in Germany, the black-and-white photo, Hurry, captures a street performer seemingly mid-stride when he is in fact stationary. 

The 13th edition of the Sony World Photography Awards received over 345,000 submissions from 203 countries, which were judged anonymously by an international panel of eight members. Uruguayan photographer Pablo Albarenga from the Professional Creative category was declared Photographer of the Year, and will receive a cash prize of USD 25,000. His winning portrait series Seeds of Resistance—of the plight of Latin American indigenous communities—is shown in an virtual exhibition alongside all other winning works.

Charmaine Kong is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.

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