hands held up behind a curtain

Sony World Photography Awards 2021

Winners announced

For the 14th year running, Sony is proud to partner with the World Photography Organisation for the Sony World Photography Awards. As a company, Sony is constantly innovating not only our technology, but how we tell a story. Here at Sony we are always challenging ourselves to innovate and change the way today’s creators can see the world. This year, we take special pride in providing a platform for photographers to share their skills and tell their stories on a global level, even amidst the necessary restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ken Morisawa
Head of Digital Imaging Europe


If the last year has taught the world anything, it is that we cannot foresee what is around the corner. We must be grateful for the positives in our lives, and even the smallest moments can amount to a moment worth showing. These photographers have captured beauty in the minute, the skill of altering a perspective, and have used cutting edge technology to capture a compelling story. At Sony we are so impressed at the immense creativity that we get to see, and we are proud that our technology can be a catalyst for such creative and thoughtful minds. At Sony, an open dialogue between content creators and our development teams has always been paramount - we stand by our creators and support them. With releases last year such as the Alpha 7S III, and now the Alpha 1, we see tools that enable innovation going into the hands of photographers and videographers globally.

Our mission has always been about bringing fantastic technology to our users, whether it comes from our compact cameras, smartphones, mirrorless line-up, and much more. It is an honour to not only partake in these awards and witness the immense skill and creativity, but it is also to contribute in giving new and cutting- edge technology to these artists, so they can continue to create beautiful content, no matter where they are. Usually, inspiration comes to us in times of change, travel, and growth, and this year has been slightly different, however photographers, videographers, and storytellers of all types have faced this challenge with creativity and gumption. It is clear to see that these contestants’ creativity is limitless, and the potential to create is boundless. I am humbled by the quality of the work that has been submitted to the Awards this year and I am honoured that the Sony name is associated with such high-quality visual arts.


Competition winner highlight
SWPA winners profile pictures

From left to right: Tamary Kudita, Craig Easton and Pubarun Basu



Photographer of the Year / Portraiture winner

Craig Easton / UK

craig easton winning swpa images

© Craig Easton, United Kingdom, Photographer of the Year, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

Bank Top, a collaboration with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafiz, examines the representation and misrepresentation of communities in northern England, and focuses on a tightknit neighbourhood in Blackburn. Craig Easton notes that Blackburn has become synonymous with the use of words such as segregation and integration by the media and policy makers – terms which he believes are too simplistic to explain the challenges faced by such neighbourhoods and towns. His aim with Bank Top is to confront what he sees as dominant discourses in the media which fail to acknowledge the historical legacy and social costs of industrial expansion and colonialism. This long-form collaboration uses the stories and experiences in Bank Top to address wider issues around social deprivation, housing, unemployment, immigration and representation, as well as the impact of past and present foreign policy.


Wildlife and Nature winner

Luis Tato / Spain

luis tato winning swpa images

© Luis Tato, Spain, Category Winner, Professional competition, Wildlife / Nature, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

Desert locusts are the most destructive migratory pests in the world. Thriving in moist conditions in semi-arid to arid environments, billions of locusts have been feeding throughout East Africa, devouring everything in their path, and posing a huge threat to the food supply and livelihoods of millions of people. Farmers stand by as armies of ravenous insects eat their crops; meanwhile, herders watch the rangelands stripped bare before their livestock can get to them. Extreme rainfall events and severe weather anomalies have created ideal conditions for locust breeding and feeding. Swarms of desert locusts from the Arabian Peninsula began rampaging across East Africa in early 2020, devouring crop and vegetation where they landed. The crisis reached historic proportions, with 10 countries in the Greater Horn of Africa and Yemen experiencing infestations. Some areas of East Africa, such as Kenya, had not seen such severe desert locust outbreaks in more than 70 years. Covid-19 restrictions have significantly slowed efforts to fight the infestation, as crossing borders has become more difficult, creating delays and disrupting the supply chains of pesticides and products needed to prevent these pests from wiping out vegetation across the region and exposing millions of people to high levels of food insecurity.


Open Photographer of the Year

Tamary Kudita / Zimbabwe

Tamary Kudita african lady wearing a victorian dress

© Tamary Kudita, Zimbabwe, Open Photographer of the Year, Open competition, Creative, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

African Victorian
With this image, I wanted to portray a hybrid African-Victorian: my way of probing the stereotypical contextualisation of the black female body. I provide an alternative version of reality, where dualities fuse to create a new visual language. Taking a Victorian dress and merging it with traditional Shona cooking utensils was my way of showing a multifaceted identity.


Portfolio winner

Laura Pannack / UK

laura pannack winning swpa images

© Laura Pannack, United Kingdom, Category Winner, Professional competition, Portfolio, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

These images are from a variety of personal projects. All of my work is driven by research and building a connection with those I photograph, while vulnerability and honesty are at the forefront of my process. Such collaborations enable my imagery to be playful and push the boundaries of portraiture, while ensuring a foundation of trust is consistent. I believe images need to captivate and evoke emotion, and so, with every frame I shoot, I consider the elements within the frame and outside it. Symbolism is an important reference for my choices of composition and content.


Youth Photographer of the Year

Pubarun Basu / India

pubarun basu winning swpa image

© Pubarun Basu, India, Youth Photographer of the Year, Youth competition, Composition and Design, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

No Escape From Reality
I created this picture with the idea of representing the feeling of being trapped in a moment, or in one’s own reality. I saw the curtains as the fabrics of the space-time continuum, which those two hands fail to break out of. The shadow cast by the parallel railings on to the fabric also gives the impression of a cage, in which the entity is trapped for eternity.




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More information
Also available is a virtual exhibition of winning and finalists’ work: A Year in Photos from the Sony World Photography Awards 2021, a specially commissioned documentary feature hosted by art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar, and a free digital copy of the Sony World Photography 2021 book all available to view and download via the link.

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