The World Photography Organisation has announced the winners of its 2018 Sony World Photography Awards.
British artist Alys Tomlinson, who won the title of Photographer of the Year, said: “I am very surprised to have won, there is so much amazing photography in this competition. This is a huge boost both personally and professionally. It’s a project I invested so much in, so this recognition makes it all worth it.”
Romlinson won with her series Ex-Voto, which was praised for “its beautiful production, technical excellence and sensitive illustration of pilgrimage as a journey of discovery and sacrifice to a greater power.” She was awarded US$25,000.
The photos depict the offerings of religious devotion, known as “Ex-Votos” and found at Christian pilgrimage sites worldwide. Often placed anonymously and hidden from view, pilgrims leave ex-votos as expressions of hope and gratitude, creating a tangible narrative between faith, person and the landscape. They were taken at the pilgrimage sites of Lourdes (France), Ballyvourney (Ireland) and Grabarka (Poland).
The competition saw 320,000 submissions from photographers across 200 countries and territories.
Taken at the National Park in Central Balkan, Bulgaria, Veselin Atanasov’s photo, Early Autumn, depicts how “autumn has begun to decorate with its colors the woods of the Balkans.” The shot was awarded “world’s best single image.”
Samuel Bolduc’s series, titled The Burden, consist of staged poetic photographs illustrating people bearing the burden of plastic waste in the environment. He won the award for “world’s best series of work taken by any student aged 30 and under.”
“With these images, I want to show the actions we have to take regardless if pollution continues at this speed or not. Through commitment of my characters, I also want to evoke the hope of changes about the accumulation of plastic wastes in the environnement. The vast winterly territories reveal the contrast between their magnitude and the small place humankind has,” he said.
Megan Johnson, who won the award for Youth Photographer of the Year, said of her photo Still: “This image was shot on October 22, 2017 on the cliffs right near my house. It was taken on an iPhone 7 for the following: life, to me, has more detail in black and white.”
“This image represents my current state at home and school. Despite having a social group and a caring family, I often find myself alone, left to watch what goes on around me, all the while being caught up in the very center of it. This glimpse through the trees of the figure on the cliff represents the courage it takes to be one’s self in today’s society, and how even when you’re on the inside, you can be pushed out.”
Check out the full list of winners here.