The Sony World Photography Awards has announced its winners, and they're as gorgeous as you'd expect

26th Feb 19 | Lifestyle

Scottish seabirds, Shinto weddings, and Grayson Perry portrayed as the Virgin Mary.


With a record-breaking number of entries from 195 different countries, the images in the Sony World Photography Awards are stronger than ever.

Now we have the winners in the ten ‘open’ categories and it’s a collection of exceptional standalone images on themes such as landscape, architecture and motion.

Here are the pictures that took the top spots in each category.

1. Creative: Dreamers and Warriors, Martin Stranka

Martin Stranka, Creative Winner
(Martin Stranka, Czechia, Open, Creative, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards/PA)

As its name suggests, the ‘creative’ category grants its entrants a large degree of artistic freedom, and Czech photographer Martin Stranka used every inch of it to craft this mercurial, haunting image.

“If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior,” he says cryptically, “all those other things are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.”

2. Travel: Woman Wearing a Wedding Dress, Nicolas Boyer

(Nicolas Boyer, France, Open, Travel, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards/PA)

Boyer captured this bride-to-be snatching a quiet moment during a traditional Shinto wedding in Tokyo, amid an urban mix of greenery and concrete. She is wearing the customary shiromuku dress – an amalgam of the Japanese characters ‘white’ and ‘purity’.

3. Motion: Harmony, Christy Lee Rogers

Harmony, Christy Lee Rogers
(Christy Lee Rogers, USA, Open, Motion, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards/PA)

If you think you’ve seen this image before, it may be because it resembles one of the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. The product of an underwater shoot in Hawaii, photographer Christy Lee Rogers used the shimmering surface of the water as a canvas, on which to paint this snapshot of billowing fluidity.

United in motion, it is almost impossible to tell where one figure ends and another begins.

4. Architecture: Heatwave, Philippe Sarfati

Heatwave, Philippe Sarfati
(Philippe Sarfati, France, Open, Architecture, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards/PA)

Is it possible for a black and white image to boast arresting colour? This perfectly lit shot was snapped outside the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan, and we’re still mesmerised by the smoothness of the building surface against the textured darkness of the grass.

We don’t know exactly how many shades of grey this photo contains, but we reckon it’s enough.

5. Natural World and Wildlife: Underwater Gannets, Tracey Lund

Underwater Gannets, Tracey Lund
(Tracey Lund, UK, Open, Natural World & Wildlife, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards/PA)

A writhing, shifting mass of birds and bubbles, British photographer Tracey Lund captured these gannets squabbling beneath the surface just off the coast of Shetland. It was Lund’s main ambition for the trip, and she used dead bait to make sure she got the perfect shot.

6. Culture: Shadow Puppetry, Pan Jianhua

Shadow Puppetry, Pan Jianhua
(Pan Jianhua, China Mainland, Open, Culture , 2019 Sony World Photography Awards/PA)

A masterpiece of colour, composition and contrast, this beauty from rural China resembles the late paintings of the Dutch Masters. The villagers are enjoying a display of traditional shadow puppetry – a practice that goes back more than 2,000 years.

7. Portraiture: Grayson Perry – Birth, Richard Ansett

Grayson Perry - Birth, Richard Ansett
(Richard Ansett, UK, Open, Portraiture, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards/PA)

A modern send-up of the ‘mother and child’ motif that dominated Christian art for centuries, this photo is one of many that Ansett has snapped of Perry in their five years working together, developing conceptual campaigns for the artist’s films.

The baby, named Dylan, was supplied by Perry’s press officer.

8. Landscape: Stumps, Alder Lake, Nisqually River, Oregon, Hal Gage

Stumps Exposed, Hal Gage
(Hal Gage, USA, Open, Landscape, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards/PA)

Hal Gage snapped this eerie shot amid record low water levels at the man-made Alder lake. The lake is named after the small town of Alder, which has been submerged beneath its waters since 1945.

9. Street Photography: Open-Air Toilet, Carole Pariat

Natural phenomena & man creation, Carole Pariat
(Carole Pariat, France, Open, Street Photography, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards/PA)

Millennia old mountains in the foreground, millennia old mountains in the background – and between them a line a skyscrapers that appeared almost overnight. A melancholic reflection of the ravages of time, this beautifully framed work captures the astonishing urban growth of mainland China.

“The stony constructions rising from the ground seem to begin a silent dialogue with the maze of high buildings drawn by the hand of the men,” says Pariat.

10. Still Life: Peony and Leaves, Rachel Yee Laam Lai

Peony and Leaves, Rachel Yee Laam Lai
(Rachel Yee Laam Lai, Hong Kong SAR, Open, Still Life, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards/PA)

The photo is good – but better is the art itself. Rachel Yee Laam Lai captured this shot of her own resin artwork, an abstract swirl of pinks and purples rendered with entirely self-made paint. With green leaves and vibrant petals, the result looks like a high-concept flower garden.

© Press Association 2019