The Sony World Photography Awards have announced the finalists for this year’s competition, with a slew of strong contenders from Eastern Europe in the mix.
Tomáš Vocelka (Czech Republic), Sasha Bauer (Russia), and Fyodor Savintsev (Russia), were selected among 300,000 submissions from 220 countries, as finalists of the Architecture and Design, Creative, and Landscape categories. They will be battling for the top prize, to be announced on 15 April.
Meanwhile, this year’s shortlist for documentary photography includes two black and white projects on life under lockdown: Agnieszka Maruszczyk (Poland) focused on her young son’s experience in Jan’s Isolation Diaries, while Tomasz Lazar (Poland) captured the changes seen on the streets of Warsaw in Voids Diary.
“Jan is my only child,” Maruszczyk says. “During the spring lockdown, he had no direct contact with other kids; his only companions were myself and his mother. I’ve been photographing my son while in isolation and have started spotting subtle changes in his behaviour caused by the change of circumstances.”
Time to be Together, a burgeoning romance by Russian photographer Lesha Pavlov, was among the most uplifting responses to the pandemic in the Documentary category: a personal story on his burgeoning romance.
“Since the start of the pandemic, many of my friends and acquaintances have ended their relationships,” writes Pavlov in his introduction to the project. “Distance — and, curiously, forced closeness — are challenging for relationships, and not everyone is able to overcome these obstacles.” His own love story panned out rather differently: flourishing online while restrictions were in place, and then turned into a relationship soon after. “In the midst of this madness, I met Polina online, after writing a couple of silly compliments about her work. For a while, we were able to communicate only online, but when things started to open up, we met up and decided we wanted to be together.”
One of the funniest submissions came from Fyodor Savintsev, whose photos of Russia’s face-slapping championship made it into the Sport category, and Igor Kryukov, also from Russia, who dedicated his series to cats in contemporary art.
The Sony World Photography Awards have been running for 14 years, championing technical skills and fresh perspectives on the world.