Photography News 07

Competitions

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capture an emotion and transport a spectator in an instant; to really engage with a viewer and evoke a response. At the base of it, that is what we are looking for in the Sony World Photography Awards. Where do you receive the most entries from? The entries are very much spread across the world. This year we received the most entries from the UK but that only represents eight per cent of the total. The other leading countries are USA, India, Italy, Russia and China. Our biggest success story this year was Indonesia, where we saw a 121% increase. Where’s the most exotic country you’ve received submissions from? This year we had our first entry from Vanuatu, a small island in the Pacific Ocean. I understand the population of Vanuatu is a little over 200,000 people. It looks like a beautiful country so perhaps I should visit on my holidays so I can meet the photographer! Do you have a favourite SWPA category? Photography is so broad that there is work in all the categories that I like, admire and respect. I do enjoy the Still Life and Architecture categories with a view to hanging work on my wall. I’m always phenomenally impressed and moved by the work submitted in the Current Affairs and Contemporary Issues categories. There is both a Professional and an Open Amateur competition; is there much difference in the quality of entries? The primary difference between the two competitions is the way they are judged. The

professionals are judged on an entire body of work, while the Open Amateur competition is judged on a single shot. Moving from taking great individual shots to creating a body of work that is both compelling and engaging whilst having a tight edit is certainly a large step forward. That is not to say it is unattainable, as we have seen many enthusiasts shortlisted within the Professional competition, but it does require a quite different approach. We are always looking at new technologies to see if we can engage with them – we ran a mini time- lapse competition last year, for example. However, I think the next thing for SWPA would be the incorporation of multimedia pieces. Photographers are working in video more and more and I think that this is something that will certainly be brought in for the future. What are the future plans of the awards? We will continue to try and raise the profile and awareness of SWPA and make it as accessible to everyone as possible. In doing so we will be able to find new and emerging photographers, exciting new talent and be able to generate further exposure for the photographers who are shortlisted and win the competition, which is the primary aim of the award. If we can continue to achieve this we will be able to further raise the profile of photography and get more people engaging with, talking about and appreciating this wonderful medium. Are you looking to expand the competition to incorporate newer technologies?

TOP LEFT Simon Morris’s image took 2nd place in the UK National Award. MIDDLE LEFT Arup Ghosh’s entry came first in Open People. ABOVE LEFT The winning entry for Open Split-Second came from Hairul Azizi Harun. TOP RIGHT Kylli Sparre’s photo won the Open Enhanced category.

Comparing the individual category winners and so judging between a beautiful landscape shot and a piece of reportage is incredibly hard. By that stage all the bodies of work are good, but the discussions here, between the judges, are very interesting as they continue to look for something which is unique and really stands out as something of strength within itself. What do you think makes a winning image? The judging panel is different each year and therefore the approach is always slightly different. In general they are looking to find an image that engages them, that offers something different. It may be something that is already portrayed but shot differently or it could be something quite unique. Photography has the ability to really

π To find out more, go to www.worldphoto.org.

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