The World Photography Organization has revealed the shortlisted and finalist photographers for the Sony World Photography Awards 2021.
Now marking its 14th year, the competition rewards professional photographers for an outstanding body of work that demonstrates “technical excellence and a fresh perspective on contemporary subjects.”
Over 330,000 images from 220 territories were submitted to the competition, with subject matter ranging from still life to wildlife. Of these, more than 145,000 made it to the award’s 10 categories, the highest number of entries to date. This year, a new “Portfolio” category has been introduced to allow photographers to submit individual images from different bodies of work, as long as their style and technical skills remain consistent.
Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic dominates this year’s entries. Some shortlisted images capture the suffocation of life under lockdown, while others celebrate people’s resilience in coping with the devastating disease. The escalating effects of climate change are another principal theme, with images of a heavily polluted river in India and a Brazilian town wrecked by rising sea levels. The entries also capture some of last year’s major events, from the devastating Beirut blast to a locust plague of biblical proportions in Kenya. There are also moments of beauty and levity, and arresting images of wildlife doing its thing.
The winners will be selected from the list of finalists and revealed on April 15 in a live-streamed event hosted by British art historian Jacky Klein and stand-up comedian Nish Kumar.
Until then, enjoy this selection of outstanding finalists:
Saudi Arabia Announces $1M “Freedom of Expression” Art Award
Kanye West, Roman Polanski, and Carl Andre are among the shortlisted artists.
British Museum Offers Greece “Exclusive NFT” of the Parthenon Marbles
“With the power of blockchain technology, there will be no question who the real owner is,” said a British Museum spokesperson.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
MoMA to Co-Curate Exhibition With NYPD
Arrest Me, Daddy hopes to cast a more positive light on the work of law enforcement officers.
Repatriation-Inspired Fragrance Line Hopes to Heal Collector Wounds
The exotic scents of the Rapatriement line offer solace and joy to dismayed collectors who were forced to return looted artifacts.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
Mediocre Painting Thought AI-Generated Revealed as Work of Real Artist
Visitors who spoke to Hyperallergic said they were “horrified” to learn that a human could come up with such a banal and poorly executed artwork.
Prince Harry to Star in New Van Gogh Biopic
The estranged prince said he took the role to raise awareness of mental health issues.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
Newly Discovered Trove of Vermeer Works Reveals He Painted Mainly Dogs
A cache of 243 paintings found in an English castle, all depicting canine subjects, suggests Vermeer’s true aspiration was to become a dog portraitist.
Vatican Partners With Balenciaga on “Spiritual” Menswear Line
A spokesperson for the church cited “shared values” with the fashion brand.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Iran Issues Fatwa Against AI
A reinterpretation of the Quran through a queer lens, written by an AI chatbot, is said to cause the move.
Met Gala Announces 2023 “Looting and Plunder” Theme
Select A-list guests will be invited to wear any artifacts from the museum’s collection that have not yet been seized by the Manhattan DA’s office.