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South African photographer beats worldwide competition to be shortlisted at the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards

The 2019 Awards’ first shortlist announcement shows exceptional single images from around the world

  • Katherine Young from South Africa is shortlisted in the 2019 Awards’ Open competition
  • All Open and Youth shortlisted images announced today are available at
  • Ten Open category winners will be revealed on 26 February, with overall Open and Youth winners announced on 17 April 2019

The World Photography Organisation has revealed the shortlisted photographers for the Open and Youth competitions of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards.  Included in the list is South African photographer Katherine Young who is recognised as taking one of the world’s best single images from 2018.

Young is shortlisted for the image Hubris Part 1 entered to the Awards’ Open Architecture category.  Her success is remarkable as the 2019 Awards received its highest ever number of entries – 326,997 from 195 countries.

Young is an award winning fine art photographer currently based in London. Talking about her shortlisted image she says: “Philadelphia architect Kieran Timberlake has won the competition to design the new US embassy in the UK. Called New London Embassy, it was built in Nine Elms beside the River Thames. Essentially it is a glass cube enveloped in shimmering sails of plastic. The ‘transparent crystalline cube’ is intended to symbolise ‘transparency, openness, and equality’, according to the architects. The unusual form of the building’s facade is designed to minimise solar gain and glare while still allowing natural light in. The reflective facade shifts in colour according to the weather and the position of the sun.

 “I visited this location twice once the construction was complete and my most recent visit was in February 2018. I found this building utterly fascinating and decided to capture the unusual facade. My intention was to create an image that encapsulates the uniqueness of this building.

Young will now go on to compete against talented photographers from across the world to win her category and have the chance to become Open Photographer of the Year, with prizes including the latest cutting-edge Sony camera equipment, flights to the London Awards ceremony, and $5000 USD.  All the shortlisted images will be shown at the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London before going on a global tour.  The work will also be published in the annual Awards’ book.

Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards are one of the most important fixtures on the global photographic calendar. The Awards are now in their twelfth year of partnership with headline sponsor Sony and consist of four competitions in total: Professional (for a body of works), Open (for a single image), Student (for academic institutions) and Youth (for 12-19 year olds).  The Professional competition shortlist will be announced on 26 March 2019.

©Julien Chatelin 2015
China, Fuling, Chongqing municipality. January 2015.
New hot spring spa complexe.

Record number of entries to 2019 Sony World Photography Awards
As one of the world’s largest and most prestigious global photography competitions, the Awards annually celebrate and promote the best contemporary photography from the past year across a wide variety of photographic genres.

A total of 326,997 entries from 195 countries and territories were submitted across the four competitions of the 2019 Awards, the highest number of entries to date.

Judging the Open and Youth shortlists
The Sony World Photography Awards are judged anonymously by internationally acclaimed industry professionals, including representatives from international museums, publishing and the media.

This year’s Open and Youth competition judging was chaired by Rebecca McClelland, Photography Director & Head of Art Production for Saatchi Saatchi & Prodigious (UK).

McClelland comments: “I was astonished with the diversity of work that was entered into the Open and Youth competitions. The award represents a very democratic appreciation of photography, from tradition to emergent trends across all genres from nature to fashion. The competition allows the broadest demographic to have a platform.

“Judging single images is never easy, it is important to give equal appreciation regardless of genre to allow the fairest outcome. The judging is hosted blind to prevent nepotism or bias, which is extremely important.  I look forward to seeing these striking contemporary images on display at this year’s exhibition at Somerset House.”

Other competitions and prizes

The shortlist of the Awards’ Youth competition, rewarding the best single image taken by young photographers aged 12-19, was also announced today and the Professional and Student competition shortlists will be announced on 26 March 2019.  All shortlisted and winning images will be exhibited as part of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition in London from 18 April until 6 May 2019, before touring globally.

The Awards’ overall winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on 17 April 2019. The Photographer of the Year, Open Photographer of the Year, Youth Photographer of the Year, the Professional competitions’ category winners and the ten shortlisted Student entrants will all be flown to London to attend. Winners will also receive the latest Sony digital imaging equipment and will be included in the 2019 Awards’ book.

2019 Key Dates

  • 26 February 2019 – Open category and National Awards winners’ announcement
  • 5 March 2019 – Outstanding Contribution to Photography recipient revealed
  • 5 March 2019 – Professional and Student competitions’ shortlist announcement
  • 17 April 2019 – Photographer of the Year, Overall Open, Student, Youth winners and Professional category winners’ announcement
  • 18 April – 6 May 2019 – 2019 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition (Somerset House, London)
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