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Lehdistötiedote   •   Huhti 15, 2021 08:00 EEST

The World Photography Organisation is delighted to announce the overall winners in the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards 2021. The Photographer of the Year title and accompanying $25,000 (USD) cash prize and a range of Sony’s digital imaging kit is awarded to the esteemed documentarian Craig Easton (United Kingdom) for his series Bank Top. Also announced are the ten category winners alongside 2nd and 3rd place of the Professional competition as well as overall winners of the Open, Student and Youth competitions.

Winners are revealed in a celebratory announcement video hosted by CEO of the World Photography Organisation Scott Gray and TV and radio presenter and author Konnie Huq. The video features interviews, behind-the-scenes clips and reactions from winning photographers and is available to view via

Also unveiled today is a virtual exhibition of winning and finalists’ work; A Year in Photos from the Sony World Photography Awards 2021, a specially commissioned documentary feature hosted by art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar; and a free digital copy of the Sony World Photography 2021 book all available to view and download via

Bank Top, a collaboration with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafiz, examines the representation and misrepresentation of communities in northern England, focusing on the tightknit neighbourhood of Bank Top in Blackburn. The project forms part of Easton’s wider work in the region including Thatcher’s Children (2nd place, Documentary Projects, 2021 Professional competition,), an investigation into the chronic nature of poverty as experienced by three generations of one family; and Sixteen (shortlisted in the Portraiture category of the 2017 Awards), a look into the dreams, aspirations and fears of 16 year-olds from all walks of life.

Bank Top is a result of the Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery initiative Kick Down the Barriers, a project instigated in response to media reports portraying the town as the ‘the most segregated in Britain’. Seeking to challenge this narrative, the museum invited artists and writers to collaborate with residents of various neighbourhoods and create a robust and authentic representation of their communities.

Over the course of a year Easton and Hafiz worked closely with local inhabitants to explore their stories and experiences through a series of black & white portraits and accompanying texts. These highlight issues around social deprivation, housing, unemployment, immigration and representation, as well as the impact of past and present foreign policy. Their work counters simplistic generalisations and aims to provide context as to how these communities came together and a better understanding of how they thrive together now.

Mike Trow, Chair of the 2021 Professional competition says: “What is so impressive about this project is the intent, dedication and understanding Craig brings to it. He has worked closely with the writer Abdul Aziz Hafiz to create a complete piece, tacitly acknowledging that for a project as sensitive as this words matter. These are not people who necessarily want to be photographed but Craig gained their trust. They look frankly to camera and we see a mutual understanding between documenter and subject. It is the moral weight behind this work that makes it so important and deserving of this prize.”

Commenting on his win Easton says: “I am delighted to have this work recognised by the Sony World Photography Awards. I photograph to learn, to try to understand and to document and share stories. It is a privilege to be able to do so and to challenge perceptions and stereotypes – something that is especially important to me. To have these stories from underrepresented or misrepresented communities in northern England where I live recognised and shared worldwide is wonderful. Thank you.”


Winning photographers in the Professional competition have been selected by a panel of expert judges for submitting an outstanding body of work of five to ten images, ranging from stories of local importance to issues of global significance, quiet moments of resilience to creative brilliance and playfulness. All category winners receive Sony digital imaging kit. This year’s winners are:


  • WINNER: Tomáš Vocelka (Czech Republic) for his series Eternal Hunting Grounds
  • Finalists: 2nd place Frank Machalowski (Germany); 3rd place Gu Guanghui (China Mainland)


  • WINNER: Mark Hamilton Gruchy (United Kingdom) for his series The Moon Revisited
  • Finalists: 2nd place Luigi Bussolati (Italy); 3rd place Sasha Bauer (Russian Federation)


  • WINNER: Vito Fusco (Italy) for his series The Killing Daisy
  • Finalists: 2nd place Craig Easton (United Kingdom); 3rd place Lorenzo Tugnoli (Italy)


  • WINNER: Simone Tramonte (Italy) for his series Net-zero Transition
  • Finalists: 2nd place Mohammad Madadi (Islamic Republic of Iran); 3rd place Antonio Pérez (Spain)


  • WINNER: Majid Hojjati (Islamic Republic of Iran) for his series Silent Neighborhoods
  • Finalists: 2nd place Andrea Ferro (Italy); 3rd place Fyodor Savintsev (Russian Federation)


  • WINNER: Laura Pannack (United Kingdom) for her submission Portfolio Overview
  • Finalists: 2nd place Brais Lorenzo (Spain); 3rd place Loli Laboureau (Argentina)


  • WINNER: Craig Easton (United Kingdom) for his series Bank Top
  • Finalists: 2nd place Julia Fullerton-Batten (United Kingdom); 3rd place Jane Hilton (United Kingdom)


  • WINNER: Anas Alkharboutli (Syrian Arab Republic) for his series Sport and Fun Instead of War and Fear
  • Finalists: 2nd place Patrick Meinhardt (Spain); 3rd place Farzam Saleh (Islamic Republic Of Iran)


  • WINNER: Peter Eleveld (Netherlands) for his series Still Life Composition, Shot on Wet Plate
  • Finalists: 2nd place Alessandro Pollio (Italy); 3rd place Paloma Rincon (Spain)


  • WINNER: Luis Tato (Spain) for his series Locust Invasion in East Africa
  • Finalists: 2nd place Graeme Purdy (United Kingdom); 3rd place Angel Fitor (Spain)

To find out more about this year’s winning and finalist projects please visit our online winners galleries


The Open competition celebrates the power of single images. Winning photographs are selected for their ability to communicate a remarkable visual narrative combined with technical excellence. Chosen from ten Open category winners, Tamary Kudita (Zimbabwe) is Open Photographer of the Year 2021 and the recipient of the $5,000 cash prize, Sony digital imaging equipment and global exposure.

Kudita won for her outstanding portrait African Victorian submitted to the Creative category. The photograph depicts a young black woman dressed in a Victorian dress and holding traditional Shona cooking utensils. The image probes at stereotypical contextualising of the black female body and offers an alternative visual language through which a multifaceted African identity is presented.

Speaking of her win Kudita says: ‘African Victorian pays tribute to the contemporary being who is also rooted in history. I am deeply honoured to have been chosen as the winner of the Open competition. This award is a testament to the role we play as creators in shaping visual culture. A central notion in my work is the importance of African representation and I am thankful to have received the opportunity to put Zimbabwean art on the map.


Coenraad Heinz Torlage (South Africa) of the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography has been awarded Student Photographer of the Year 2021, winning €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for his institution. Torlage was chosen for his series Young Farmers, created in response to the brief Our Time which asked students to depict the way they and their contemporaries see the world and how they plan to change it for the better. In Young Farmers Torlage, who grew up on a farm himself, set out to photograph the next generation of farmers as they face challenges concerning severe droughts, safety and debates around land ownership alongside their contributions towards a fairer and more equitable future of sustainability and food security.

Commenting on his win Torlage says: “I have been through an experience that is almost impossible to describe. I often dreamt of winning and prayed that I could share my country and the amazing people in it with the world. I believe in the young farmers of South Africa which this country needs in terms of food sustainability and ecological awareness. Winning is a dream made possible by the amazing people that I photographed and everyone who helped and supported me. I believe in hard work, family and most of all the grace of God. I am truly humbled that my images could even be considered for such a prestigious competition."


Selected from six category winners, Pubarun Basu (India, 19 years-old) has won Youth Photographer of the Year 2021for his image No Escape from Reality. In the photograph the shadows of railings projected onto curtains create the illusion of cage bars from behind which a pair of hands is seen as if trying to break through. The illusion of shadows and hands gesture convey a sense of entrapment shared by so many across the world this past year. For his win Basu receives a Sony digital imaging kit and global exposure.

Commenting on his win Basu says: “I am incredibly humbled to have been announced as the Youth Photographer of the Year. Participating in this competition has given me a fresh perspective on my art. I have seen some extraordinary photographs by my fellow youth photographers from around the world, and I take immense pride in the fact that my generation has such brilliant minds. I aspire to improve myself as an artist and would like to express my gratitude to my friends and family for always encouraging me to go the extra mile.”


This year’s Outstanding Contribution to Photography has been awarded to the acclaimed Mexican photographic artist Graciela Iturbide. Widely recognised as Latin America’s greatest living photographer, Iturbide’s work offers a photographic account of Mexico since the late 1970s and is celebrated for its defining contribution to the country’s visual identity. In images of everyday life and its culture alongside those of ritual and religion, Iturbide’s work explores her country’s many complexities and contradictions, questioning its inequalities and highlighting the tensions between the urban and rural, modern and indigenous. Her photographs go beyond straight documentary narratives and aim to provide a poetic vision of their subjects informed by the photographer’s personal experiences and journey.




Category Winner:

  • Tomáš Vocelka, Czech Republic
  • 2nd place: Frank Machalowski, Germany
  • 3rd place: Gu Guanghui, China Mainland


  • Leonardo Costa Braga, Brazil
  • Peter Franck, Germany
  • Arvind Jayashankar, Belgium
  • Luca Locatelli, Italy
  • Karin Nützi-Weisz, Switzerland


Category Winner:

  • Mark Hamilton Gruchy, United Kingdom
  • 2nd place: Luigi Bussolati, Italy
  • 3rd place: Sasha Bauer, Russian Federation


  • Andrea Alkalay, Argentina
  • Delphine Blast, France
  • Ilka & Franz, Germany
  • Julia Keil, Germany
  • Kyung-Hoon Kim, South Korea

Niloofar Mahmoudian, Islamic Republic of Iran

  • Michelle Watt, United States


Category Winner:

  • Vito Fusco, Italy
  • 2nd place: Craig Easton, United Kingdom
  • 3rd place: Lorenzo Tugnoli, Italy


  • Marcos Azulay, Argentina
  • Ingmar Björn Nolting, Germany
  • Justyna Gorniak, Poland
  • Tomasz Lazar, Poland
  • Jose Manuel Lopez, Spain
  • Agnieszka Maruszczyk, Poland
  • Alexey Pavlov, Russian Federation


Category Winner:

  • Simone Tramonte, Italy
  • 2nd place: Mohammad Madadi, Islamic Republic of Iran
  • 3rd place: Antonio Pérez, Spain


  • Felipe Fittipaldi, Brazil
  • Antonio Faccilongo, Italy
  • Alessandro Gandolfi, Italy
  • Li Wentao, China Mainland


Category Winner:

  • Majid Hojjati, Islamic Republic of Iran
  • 2nd place: Andrea Ferro, Italy
  • 3rd place: Fyodor Savintsev, Russian Federation


  • Niklas Eschenmoser, Switzerland
  • Mehrdad Fathi, Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Samad Ghorbanzadeh, Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Carol Graham, United Kingdom
  • Marvin Grey, Philippines
  • Marc Hennige, Germany


Overall Winner:

  • Craig Easton, United Kingdom
  • 2nd place: Julia Fullerton-Batten, United Kingdom
  • 3rd place: Jane Hilton, United Kingdom


  • Richard Ansett, United Kingdom
  • Theo Gould, United Kingdom
  • Christian Lee, United States
  • John Millar, United Kingdom
  • Agnese Morganti, Italy
  • Luca Rotondo, Italy


Category Winner:

  • Laura Pannack, United Kingdom
  • 2nd place: Brais Lorenzo, Spain
  • 3rd place: Loli Laboureau, Argentina


  • Sergio Aparicio - Okobé, Spain
  • Jacob Ehrbahn, Denmark
  • Alessandro Gandolfi, Italy
  • Ilka & Franz, Germany
  • Peter Franck, Germany
  • Kayode Moyosade, Nigeria
  • Marylise Vigneau, France


Category Winner:

  • Anas Alkharboutli, Syria
  • 2nd place: Patrick Meinhardt, Spain
  • 3rd place: Farzam Saleh, Islamic Republic of Iran


  • Anton Dotsenko, United States
  • Florian Gruet, France
  • Michael Hanke, Czech Republic
  • Carlos López, Spain
  • Barbora Reichova, Czech Republic
  • Antonio Aragón Renuncio, Spain


Category Winner:

  • Peter Eleveld, The Netherlands
  • 2nd place: Alessandro Pollio, Italy
  • 3rd place: Paloma Rincon, Spain


  • Wesley Dombrecht, Belgium
  • Igor Kryukov, Russian Federation
  • Maryna Masel, Ukraine
  • Lorenzo Pennati, Italy
  • Jan Prengel, Germany
  • Berenice Riu, Spain


Category Winner:

  • Luis Tato, Spain
  • 2nd place: Graeme Purdy, United Kingdom
  • 3rd place: Angel Fitor, Spain


  • Levon Biss, United Kingdom
  • Will Burrard-Lucas, United Kingdom
  • Aleksander Nordahl, Norway
  • Brent Stirton, South Africa



Category Winner:

  • Klaus Lenzen, Germany


  • Farshid Ahmadpour, Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Abdulla Al-Mushaifri, Oman
  • Steffen Ebert, Germany
  • Simone Hutsch, Germany
  • Vytenis Jankūnas, United States
  • Klaus Lenzen, Germany
  • Kunkun Liu, China Mainland
  • Aleksandr Lefler, Russian Federation
  • Jordan McChesney, Canada
  • Vitaly Medvedev, Russian Federation
  • Da Miane, Georgia
  • Jose Pessoa Neto, Portugal
  • Holger Ostwald, Germany
  • Ashwani Sarda, India


Overall Winner:

  • Tamary Kudita, Zimbabwe


  • Edita Bízová, Czech Republic
  • Tatenda Chidora, Zimbabwe
  • Maximilien Diaz, France
  • Vyacheslav Ivanov, Russian Federation
  • Ali Jamshidi, Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Joosep Kivimäe, Estonia
  • Angiolo Manetti, Italy
  • Jarod Mauws, Belgium
  • Alireza Movahedi, Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Hoije Nuuter, Estonia
  • Nara O'Neil, Australia
  • Jing Shen, China Mainland
  • Georgе Shpuntov, Russian Federation
  • Kylli Sparre, Estonia


Category Winner

  • Marijo Maduna, Croatia


  • Sandi Bertoncelj, Slovenia
  • Hersley-Ven Casero, The Philippines
  • Serkan Çolak, Turkey
  • Tadiwanashe Murowe, Zimbabwe
  • Mary Nhoileen Maypa, The Philippines
  • Ruud Peters, The Netherlands
  • Daniel Portch, United Kingdom
  • Zdeněk Vošický, Czech Republic
  • Brad Walls, Australia
  • Xianshe Ye, China Mainland


Category Winner:

  • Kata Zih, Hungary


  • Steve Chandler, United Kingdom
  • Christian Holz, Argentina
  • Uwe Langmann, Germany
  • Klaus Lenzen, Germany
  • Agata Mroczek, Poland
  • Paolo Paccagnella, Italy
  • Stefan Pankow, United Kingdom
  • Ann Petruckevitch, United Kingdom
  • Manuel Schmidt, Germany
  • Masumi Shiohara, Japan


Category Winner:

  • Khanh Phan, Vietnam


  • Marios Forsos, Greece
  • Alexis Guevara, Mexico
  • Graeme Haunholter, Canada
  • Martina Lo Casto, Italy
  • Rune Mattsson, Norway
  • Hiroki Nose, Japan
  • Yukihito Ono, Japan
  • Franz Sußbauer, Germany
  • F.Dilek Uyar, Turkey
  • Min Min Zaw, Myanmar


Category Winner:

  • Juan López Ruiz, Spain


  • Luca Donegani, Italy
  • Kevin Frank, Switzerland
  • Jinjing Lyu, China Mainland
  • Joaquin Marco, Spain
  • Andrea Ortiz Diaz, Colombia
  • Mehdi Parsaeian, Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Lorenzo Poli, Italy
  • Scott Portelli, Australia
  • James Rushforth, United Kingdom
  • Hans Kristian Strand, Norway
  • Markus Wiedmann, Germany
  • Parker Yost, United States


Category Winner:

  • Cristo Pihlamäe, Estonia


  • Hin Man Au, Hong Kong
  • Amish Chhagan, Zambia
  • Yuta Doto, Japan
  • Arturo de Frias, Spain
  • Tatyana Nemova, Russian Federation
  • Alex Pansier, The Netherlands
  • Alexandre Pietra, Switzerland
  • Mati Puum, Estonia
  • Inger Rønnenfelt, Denmark
  • Koki Shinoda, Japan
  • Andrew Suryono, Indonesia
  • Iakovos Thoedoros, Greece


Category Winner:

  • F.Dilek Uyar, Turkey


  • Dina Alfasi, Israel
  • Dimpy Bhalotia, India
  • David Keith Brown, United States
  • Gary Cummins, Ireland
  • Ramunas Danisevicius, Lithuania
  • Basu Deb, India
  • Tommaso Galli, Italy
  • Vytenis Jankūnas, United States
  • Ares Jonekson, Indonesia
  • Bartlomiej Jurecki, Poland
  • Tomasz Kowalski, Poland
  • Francesco Lopazio, Italy
  • Zhang Weijian, China Mainland
    Soemyint Winn, Myanmar


Category Winner:

  • Mariano Belmar, Spain


  • Antonino Barone, Italy
  • Isabela Teresa Basilio Neri, Brazil
  • Gemma Brunton, United Kingdom
  • Holger Bücker, Germany
  • Stefano Butturini, Italy
  • Aimee Glucina, New Zealand
  • Michail Karagiannis, Greece
  • Hamed Rahmati, Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Alexey Tsiler, Russian Federation
  • Brad Walls, Australia


Category Winner:

  • Lyudmila Sabanina, Russian Federation


  • Frederic Aranda, United Kingdom
  • Shirsendu Banerjee, India
  • Paul Benns, United Kingdom
  • Bella von Einsiedel, Germany
  • Reinis Fjodorovs, Latvia
  • Sabbir Hossen, Bangladesh
  • Zeng Jinwen, China Mainland
  • Heun Jung Kim, South Korea
  • Justin Keene, United Kingdom
  • King Mtambisi, Zimbabwe
  • Rhianna Payne, United Kingdom
  • Jose Pessoa Neto, Portugal
  • Elif Öztürk, Turkey
  • Mireia Vilaplana, Spain




Overall Winner:

  • Pubarun Basu, India


  • Zak Elley, UK
  • Emil Holthausen, Germany
  • Ram Kaushalyan, India
  • Connor Lothian, UK
  • Tianyang Wang, China Mainland

Overall Winner:

  • Coenraad Heinz Torlage, South Africa
  • Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography


  • Claudia Mauderer, South Africa
  • Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography
  • Yanan Li, China Mainland
  • University of Science and Technology of China
  • Matías Alejandro Acuña, Argentina
  • Motivarte
  • Thomas Hengge, USA
  • New York University
  • Irene Facoetti, Italy
  • Cfp Bauer
  • Tayla Nebesky, USA
  • University of the West of England
  • Hannah Davey, New Zealand
  • Elam School of Fine Arts
  • Matias Garcia Paez, Ecuador
  • Ravensbourne University London



Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards is one of the most important fixtures in the global photographic calendar. Now in its 14th year, the free-to-enter Awards are a global voice for photography and provide a vital insight into contemporary photography today. For both established and emerging artists, the Awards offer world-class opportunities for exposure of their work. The Awards additionally recognise the world’s most influential artists working in the medium through the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Awards; previous recipients include Martin Parr, William Eggleston, Mary Ellen Mark, Candida Hofer and Nadav Kander. 


  • Professional competition: Natasha Egan, Executive Director, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; Sunyoung Kim, Curator, Museum of Photography Seoul, South Korea; Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director, African Artists’ Foundation and LagosPhoto Festival; Lindsay Taylor, Curator, University of Salford Art Collection; Hannah Watson, Director, Trolley Books; and Mike Trow, Independent Curator and Photo Editor, Chair of the Jury.
  • Open & Youth competitions: Gastón Deleau, Director, FOLA, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Student competition: Kate Simpson, Associate Editor, Aesthetica Magazine.


Presented by British art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar, A Year in Photos from the Sony World Photography Awards 2021 celebrates the work of the top winners in one of the world’s biggest photography competitions. Including interviews and behind-the-scenes.


From a locust infestation in East Africa to a centuries old photo-making technique in the Netherlands and moving portraits of resilience in Syria, the film offers insight into practices and projects by some of the most interesting photographic chroniclers, interprets and artists working internationally today.

This new specially commissioned documentary is available to watch from 5pm BST/ 6pm CET via


Photographer of the Year

Craig Easton is an international multi award-winning photographer whose work is deeply rooted in the documentary tradition. He shoots long-term documentary projects exploring issues around social policy, identity and a sense of place. His work mixes portraiture, landscape and reportage approaches to storytelling, often working collaboratively with others to incorporate words, pictures and audio in a research-based practice that weaves a narrative between contemporary experience and history.


Open Photographer of the Year

A product of dual heritage, Tamary Kudita was born in Zimbabwe whilst her ancestry can be traced back to Orange Free State, historical Boer state in Southern Africa. She chose to study fine art at Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town. There, she graduated in 2017 with a bachelor of fine arts. Subsequently, she established herself in fine art photography. She maintains an active studio practice and has exhibited in Zimbabwe and outside the country.


Student Photographer of the Year

Currently in his final year of studies at the Stellenbosch Academy, Coenraad Heinz Torlage aspires to share South African perspectives within a global sensibility. The South African narrative is visually strong, culturally complex and Torlage sees it as his mission to tell these stories truthfully through the lens of his camera.


Youth Photographer of the Year

Pubarun Basu first started taking pictures at the age 4 and has since continued to nurture his love for the visual and performing arts. It was only at the age of 15 that he finally received his father’s permission to use his full frame DSLR and have never spent a day not clicking or editing pictures since. He aspires to tell stories from around the globe though his art. 


Outstanding Contribution to Photography

Graciela Iturbide was born in Mexico City. In 1969 she enrolled to the Film Center of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico but she was soon drawn to the art of still photography as practiced by the Mexican modernist master Manuel Alvarez Bravo who was her teacher. From 1970-71 she worked as Bravo’s assistant accompanying him on his various photographic journeys throughout Mexico. Graciela Iturbide has had exhibitions at most important museums in Mexico, USA and Europe. She has received international awards such as, W. Eugene Smith Prize; the first prize for the Mois de la Photographie in Paris; the Hugo-Erfurth in Leverkusen, Germany; the First Prize in Hokkaido, Japan; The Prize from the City of Arles, France; the Guggenheim Fellowship; the Hasselblad Award in 2008; the National Prize of Sciences and Arts in Mexico in 2009; and the Infinity given by the International Center of Photography in 2015. Many books of her work have been published in different countries.


© Craig Easton, United Kingdom, Photographer of the Year, Professional competition, Portraiture, Sony World Photography Awards 2021

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