Sony World Photography Awards

Art, Photography
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Sony World Photography Awards

The world’s biggest photography competition presents the 2017 winners and shortlisted photographers

The leading photography competition returns to Somerset House to showcase the winning and shortlisted images selected from a staggering number of entries. You’ll see images by professionals and amateurs across a number of categories. Plus, there'll be an exhibition of work by the legendary Martin Parr, who's bagged this year's 'Outstanding Contribution to Photography' gong.


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As a professional photographer, I was intrigued to visit the exhibition at Somerset House this year, having not been for quite a few years. My memory of it last time, was that it was underground in the vaults of Somerset House - though I don't know when this was and if I am remembering correctly, as I do visit a lot of exbos!

I also remember the photos being huge and clear and very strong and powerful as a result. This year I felt that quite a lot of the photos were crammed together and quite small - in particular some of the documentary series work was very small and need to show a few more pictures for context.

The other thing, that was very bad, was the size of the panels next to some of the work. I've never seen writing so small and places so low, you had to bend to read it - and I'm super short, so that's saying something! I don't know why they did this and it meant that a lot of people were having to really try and get up close to read more about the photos. 

As for the work itself, there was some great photography in there, mainly documentary, with a smaller percentage that were purely aesthetic. I loved the winning work and the judges reasons for selecting it were extremely valid, though how on earth they choose I've no idea!

There was also a nice selection of humourous work and light-hearted pieces, which is very much needed in a good mixed photography exhibition, especially given that Martin Parr was exhibited here, in recognition for his Outstanding Contribution to Photography, as he is well known for his humourous photos of ordinary people doing ordinary things. 

The wonderful thing about this exhibition, apart from the incredible building which hosted it, is that it's simply a slice across life, from war-torn countries, to stunning vast landscapes, to cute fluffy animals and beautiful models, it has it all really. So for fans of photography, it really is a great one to see.

Ioanna La

I was lucky enough to spend my Saturday morning at this exhibition, admiring hundreds of beautiful images which were telling hundreds of different stories from all around the world. There were so many stunning photos, and so many different categories such as current affairs, sports, everyday life, natural worlds etc. Powerful photos from wars to teenager life, wildlife and landscapes from different parts of the world. The images of two twins training for gymnastics, not older than 6 years old, the "winners" of sport photography awards were really striking.

A whole room is dedicated to the Photographer of the year, Martin Parr, for his Outstanding Contribution to Photography. He is known for documentary photography and has printed numerous books. His style is really unique and his images are just amazing and - let's face it - hilarious. He's definitely capturing unique moments of life, documenting in his own way with a sense of humour. I had a silly laughing smile for the whole time that I stayed in the room and I'll definitely look for more of his work.

The exhibition is very well set and the images are carefully sorted but also blended with each other in a unique way. It was swamped with people, probably because of the day and because it was the last weekend so I'd recommend going midweek if you attend next year. This exhibition is showcasing outstanding images by really talented photographers from all over the world. It is the first time I was attending and I can't wait to see what's on next year.


An intriguing exhibition currently on at Somerset House. This is my second year attending this exhibition, the first being in 2015. I loved it back then and I loved it this year! It's a wonderful collection of photographs from all around the world and separated into several categories, which you discover as you wonder through the exhibition. 

My favourite photographs were mainly those that revolved around nature, animals, and architecture. Not to say that the others weren't good, but those are simply the ones I found most appealing. I especially liked the series of photos with the pandas from China, and the lovely description, which mentions how this specific species of panda is no longer considered as endangered! 

I liked that the exhibition had a section for younger photographers, as it was nice to highlight their talents too. It was amazing to see the contrast between photos taken by professionals against those who do it as a hobby. 

The exhibition is spread across the East and West wings of Somerset House, which is a nice walk around the venue. The fountain in the centre is gorgeous, as always and there are a few cafés nearby, where you can grab a snack and coffee to relax after you're done. My friend and I spent about 1h30mins - 2hrs for the whole exhibition, so be ready to put that amount of time aside for this exhibition, you definitely don't want to miss any bit of it! 

Kritt N

Thought-provoking, impactful, striking - these are just a few adjectives to describe this hugely impressive gallery in the grand setting of Somerset House.

Now in it’s 9th year, the Sony Photography Awards is an exhibition showcasing the finest photographic talents of all ages, talents and area of expertise in the past 12 months, and is the largest photography exhibition in the world. This year, more than 127,000 images (Yes, 127,000?!) was submitted. A record number. And you thought you had it hard! Luckily for us, the judges have shortlisted on the winners and runners up for us to admire.Split between two wings at this gorgeous neoclassical building, the collection here is vast and captures an array of subjects from all corners of the globe. From majestic animals, joyful people, breathtaking landscapes, deadly war zones and murky underworlds, there isn’t anything that’s been missed.

What I particularly love are images that captures moments that lasts a split-second. The moment of joy and relief in victory. A giraffe photobombing a picture. The look of wonder and amazement when a mother lays eye on her newborn child for the first time. It’s amazing.

What strikes is the length at which each the featured photographers go to to capture these striking images. What strikes me even more is how young they are. Some are as young as 12 years old! The exhibition is helpfully divided into categories and easily to navigate your way around.

The only negative to come out of this exhibition? Prepare to feel totally inadequate about you Instagram pictures! Besides that, I highly recommend visiting if you get the chance.