What do a World War Two veteran, a glacial river and a gentle-looking Orangutan have in common? They are all subjects featured in this year’s Sony Photography Awards.
The prestigious competition has released its shortlist, which presents an array of compositions, from gorgeous natural landscapes to harsh human environments.
Many of the photos highlight the politically vital nature of photography. One illustrates the plight of the rhino and the political plans that could halt its slide towards extinction. Another, a creative composition, recreates the chaos of Palestinians crossing Checkpoint 300, the barbed-wire barrier dividing Bethlehem and Jerusalem that workers must cross daily.
Other snaps in the series highlight the simple beauty of our surroundings. One, of a horse tossing its caramel mane, is both hilarious and enticing. In another a photographer uses a drone to shoot cities from above. London, Macau and Hong Kong all feature, revealing hidden patterns and pleasing symmetry in the day-to-day.
Now in its 11th year, the prestigious contest assesses the best international photography of the past year. Last year the total number of entries received since the award’s inception in 2007 hit one million.
A total prize fund of more than £20,000 will be split between the winning photographers, who will also be knitted out with state-of-the-art Sony photography equipment.
This dramatic shot was taken by Mark Edward Harris and details the scientific studies of a group of orangutans at the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. The picture demonstrates the individuality of each primate as well as their clear awareness of self
Botswana is leading the recovery of rhinos amidst a global poaching crisis by rescuing animals from poaching hotspots in neighbouring countries and transporting them to the Okavango Delta. This poignant shot of a poaching survivor was taken by Neil Aldridge at the Rhino Conservation Botswana centre
Veterans is a series of portraits of people who took part in the Second World War. In this highly personal photo Sasha Maslov captures a World War Two Veteran
Tania Franco Klein captures the American Dream lifestyle in the Western World as well as leisure, consumption, media overstimulation, eternal youth in her latest photo series, from which this composition is taken
Thousands of Palestinian workers spend up to four hours trying to cross Checkpoint 300 every day. The crossing divides Bethlehem and Jerusalem and they must pass over to go to work. This image, taken by Eduardo Castaldo, was created from 30 different shots and, he says, is intended to represent oppression
Rasmus Flindt Pedersen shot this series over 16 days during two separate trips to Mosul, Iraq, in January and February last year. He returned in June and July to document the war to liberate Mosul from ISIS
It is a centuries old belief in several West African countries that twins have spiritual and mystical powers. When in need, people often come to twins seeking a blessing. At Koumassi Grande Mosque people visit these two girls who captured on camera by Anush Babajanyan
‘When people ask me why I am photographing horses I usually respond: ‘Because I adore their beauty and magnificent grace!” says Wiebke Hass who photographed stallion Hafid earning her a place on the Sony Photography Awards shortlist
Manish Mamtani used a drone to capture this image, which gives an aerial view of a glacial river in Iceland. He said: ‘While crossing the bridge, I noticed some patterns in the water and wondered how it would look from the sky. I stopped the car after crossing the bridge and flew my drone to capture this image’
Jack Yong has been fascinated with space travel since a young age. He was inspired to take this shot by Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, the first Malaysian to enter orbit
In China, new senior middle school students begin military training at the start of their first year. Chinese national Xiaoxiao Liu has fond memories of this time and wanted to make permanent record for a local school in September 2017
Scars is a photo series by Asha Miles detailing 12 Gambian women who survived female genital mutilation as children. For several years, Gambia has actively spread information about the harm of female circumcision, which was once considered part of the country’s cultural tradition
In Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, construction sites are covered by tarpaulin depicting the nation’s natural landscapes. Somewhat ironically, Almaty is one of the country’s most polluted sites and much of Kazakhstan’s natural beauty was decimated by nuclear tests and wind erosion. This juxtaposition is highlighted in photos taken by Tomasz Padoo
Over a period of three years, Edgar Martins took more than a thousand photographs and scanned more than three thousand negatives from the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences in Portugal. A number of these images depict forensic evidence, such as suicide notes, letters and other objects used in suicides and crimes
Shot with a drone, Varun Thota reveals his travels to Guangzhou, London, Macau and Hong Kong through his aerial photography
Chloe Jafe entered the underworld of the Japanese mafia – the Yakuza. However, she wanted to find out and photograph the dark society’s women. This goal took her on a journey from the nightlife of the red light district to Japanese hostess bars. Eventually she was invited to photograph the organisation’s daily life. ‘This project is about my personal journey through this underworld,’ she says
Every Wednesday at Spurgeons Academy, a school in the middle of the indecipherable maze of Kibera’s narrow streets and alleys, students take the chairs and benches out of a classroom and sweep the floor. Then they dance. Their ballet class is part of Annos Africa and One Fine Day’s charity activity in slum areas around Kenya
Nick Dolding shot the stylish Emile for Paypal. The photo’s style is reminiscent of Wes Anderson’s bright, textured films
This stark black and white shot captures a boy from Au Bala (High Water in the local Dari language) a town in the Fuladi Valley, near Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Taken in March 2017, the boy is ready for the Afghan Ski Challenge, an annual cross-country race that passes by the town
The Roar: The annual Red Deer breeding season on the North island of New Zealand is captured, along with the essence of the stag, by Kaleb White in this composition. Stags establish dominance during the roar by not only vocalising their superiority but by displaying forms of mature postures and fighting with competing stags
Behnam Sahvi’s entry to the competition was shot at the Child Disability Swimming Championships at the Disability Swimming pool in the Tehran Province of Iran
The photo was commissioned by Down Coruoa, a charity that works with young people, exploring a different side of the condition. ‘We are used to think about them as limited people,’ says Ana Amado, who took the picture. ‘but we never consider they can do a lot of things, specially things that everyone likes to do’
‘How often have you passed a dog and its owner on the street and thought: ‘Wow. Those two look alike.’ Well, I have, and I wanted to document this phenomenon’, says the photographer who conceptualised this series
This bright and breezy shot was captured by photographer Corentin Fohlen in Haiti last October and depicts schoolgirls traipsing to class
At the Hungarian FINA world championships, high diving competitors jump from nearly 90 feet and free fall for three seconds. This photo captures the strength and elegance of those athletic divers
Today in Johannesburg many black people still travel more than 20 miles to work, after their grandparents were relocated to townships like Soweto to make the city centre a white area. This series of photographs explores the unique hand signs used in Johannesburg to stop taxis travelling in the direction of work
This portrait of a freckled woman was taken because, put simply, photographer Sphiwo Hlatshwayo found the model to be beautiful
In Italy’s most marble-rich area, known as the Apuan Alps, the abundance is surreal. Hundreds of quarries have operated there since the days of ancient Rome and Michelangelo sculpted most of his statues from this stone. Now the trade is booming due to the demand in Saudi Arabia and other gulf states. The photographs of this area’s majestic quarries reveal their own isolated world: beautiful, bizarre and severe