Alys Tomlinson, Sony World Photographer of the Year 2018, is to publish a book of her acclaimed series Ex-Voto. Selected from over 300,000 entries, she is only the second British photographer in the award’s history to scoop the major prize. The Ex-Voto series was also awarded 1 Prize in the Discovery Category of the Sony World Photography Awards and shortlisted for the British Journal of Photography IPA, Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize, and Renaissance Photography Prize. 

The series explores the Christian pilgrimage sites of Lourdes (France), Ballyvourney (Ireland) and Grabarka (Poland). An ex-voto is an offering of religious devotion and the project images encompass formal portraiture, large format landscape and small, detailed still-life images of the objects and markers left behind. Shot on 5×4, large format film, the images evoke a distinct stillness and reflect the mysterious, timeless quality present at these sites of great spiritual contemplation. 

“These are quiet images, beautifully produced, with a calm, spiritual feel that is at odds with so much of our frenetic lives. The idea of pilgrimage as a journey of discovery and sacrifice to a greater power has been illustrated so sensitively by Alys that she quickly became our choice of overall winner.”

Mike Trow, Chair, Professional Competition, Sony World Photography Awards 2018. 

The book, designed by renowned book designer Stu Smith, features over 40 black and white images, many of them not seen before. The series will be published by GOST Books with essays by The Guardian writer Sean O’Hagan and Professor John Eade, University of Roehampton. 

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