The World Photography Organisation is delighted to announce the juries of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s most diverse photography competition. To mark the occasion, a selection of entries to the Open competition are released, and the Chair of Judges offers advice to potential entrants. 

The World Photography Organisation today also publishes the opening list of participating countries for 2019’s National Awards. A longstanding part of the Sony World Photography Awards, the National Awards provide the unique opportunity for entrants of all levels, from more than 50 countries, to be recognized in an internationally renowned photography competition.  

Now in its 12th year, the Sony World Photography Awards celebrate the finest contemporary photography from the past 12 months across all genres of the medium. All entries are free at www.worldphoto.org/swpa. 

Expert juries seeking the world’s finest contemporary photography

The 2019 juries specially selected by the World Photography Organisation are all experts working across the photographic industry. This year’s panel, who will judge series across 10 categories of the Professional competition, consists of industry leaders from across the world:

  • Erin Barnett, Director of Exhibitions and Collections, International Center of Photography (USA)
  • Brendan Embser, Managing Editor, Aperture (USA)
  • Olivier Laurent, Foreign Photo Editor, The Washington Post (USA)
  • Emma Lewis, Assistant Curator, Tate (UK)
  • Isabella van Marle, Head of Exhibitor Relations, Unseen (The Netherlands)
  • Chair: Mike Trow, editor, photographer, producer (UK)


Chair Mike Trow comments:“It is an honor to be asked to be Chair of Judges for the Sony World Photography Awards’ Professional competition. What makes the Sony World Photography Awards so exciting is the range of subjects and global reach of the stories and images selected. My advice for entrants is to choose your categories carefully and believe in your story. Show how you see the world, and avoid cliché. Photography techniques and styles are getting more adventurous and dynamic, so technical excellence is also necessary. To impress this world-leading panel of judges will take your best output, and the ability to edit your work so it is coherent, dynamic and beautiful.”


The Open competition, judged on a single image across 10 categories, will be chaired by Rebecca McClelland, Photography Director & Head of Art Production for Saatchi Saatchi & Prodigious (UK), who we are delighted will also chair the Youth and National Awards competitions. This year’s Student competition will also be judged by 3 further leading judges from the international photography industry – Jason Baron, Creative Director of Photography, BBC Creative (UK); Bruno Bayley, Managing Editor, Magnum Photos (UK) and Jeff Hamada, Founder & Editor, BOOOOOOOM (Canada)



Inspiring images from across the Open competition

Following a record-breaking number of entries in 2018*, the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards have already received thousands of diverse and exceptional images from across the world. While the Professional competition is judged on a series of images, the new images released today are all entries from across the 10 categories of the Open competition. Judged upon a single image, the submissions include Marco Gaiotti’s (Italy) image of icebergs stuck in frozen water in Svalbard (Landscape category), Pedro Luis Ajuriaguerra Saiz’s (Spain) image showing a diver in motion outside the Guggenheim Bilbao, Christy Lee Rogers’ (USA) and images of swirling images of people entangled in water (both Motion category). 

Worldwide recognition for all levels through the National Awards and Sony Grant Each year the Sony World Photography Awards celebrate and reward photographers of all abilities, recognizing stunning bodies of work in the Professional and Student competitions and the world’s best single images across the categories of the Open and Youth competitions. The National Awards celebrate local photographic talent from more than 50 countries. The range of eligible countries and prizes can be found below, with more being added in the coming months: https://www.worldphoto.org/2019-national-awards 

The Awards’ winning and shortlisted photographers can enjoy worldwide recognition and exposure in addition to cash prizes, the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony and inclusion in global exhibitions. Award-winners can also secure a Sony Grant to fund future photographic projects. Multiple grants of $7,000 (USD) will be awarded to selected winners of the Professional competition and multiple grants of $3,500 (USD) will be given to selected shortlisted photographers in the Student competition to work together on a new photographic commission set by Sony and the World Photography Organisation.


The Open and Youth shortlist for the Awards will be announced on February 5, 2019. The Open and National Awards winners will be announced February 26, 2019. The Professional and Student competitions’ shortlist will be announced on April 2, 2019. The Photographer of the Year, Overall Open, Student, Youth

    • and

Professional category winners will be announced


April 17, 2019. The 2019 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition will run from April 18 – May 6, 2019 at Somerset House, London.

Pang Xiao Zhong

The desert camels, set in the sunset, are photographed in Xinjiang, China

Copyright: © Pang Xiao Zhong, China, entry, Open, Landscape, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards

Donald Yip

An aerial of a road which winds its way around the edge of beautiful Lake Bled, Slovenia. The image was captured in the midst of a deep winter freeze that gripped the entirety of Europe. I loved the shape and curve of the road and waited patiently for a car to pass on the end of the turn, and to my luck, it was bright red! 

Copyright: © Donald Yip, Australia, entry, Open, Travel, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards

Marco Gaiotti

Icebergs frozen in the sea ice in Svalbard. 

Copyright: © Marco Gaiotti, Italy, entry, Open, Landscape, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards

Xin Cheng

I waited four days for a clear day at the foot of Yulong Mountain. It was pretty when the local people danced at the red stage against the snow-peaked mountain. 

Copyright: © Xin Cheng, China, entry, Open, Landscape, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards

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