Exhibition runs 16 April – 3 May, 2021 at Somerset House, London

The World Photography Organization is pleased to announce the judging panel for the Sony World Photography Awards 2021. Also revealed today are new categories in the Awards’ four competitions, entry deadlines and exhibition dates.

Left To Right By Row:
© Ales Krivec, Slovenia, entry, Open competition, Landscape, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
© Dominique Weiss, Germany, entry, Open competition, Landscape, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
© Mark Harvey, United Kingdom, entry, Open competition, Creative, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
© Jiangli Lou, China Mainland, entry, Open competition, Street Photography, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
© Dan Gerard, United Kingdom, entry, Open competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
© Jack Evans, United Kingdom, entry, Open competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
© Viktor Einar Vilhelmsson, Iceland, entry, Open competition, Landscape, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
© Bright Andoh, Ghana, entry, Open competition, Creative, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
© Joaquín Luna, Spain, entry, Open competition, Portraiture, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
© Amish Chhagan, United Kingdom, entry, Open competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
© Hadiyanto Nyali, Indonesia, entry, Open competition, Portraiture, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
© Rosaria Sabrina Pantano, Italy, entry, Open competition, Creative, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

Now in its 14th year, the Sony World Photography Awards are an authoritative voice in the industry, celebrating the best contemporary photography from the past year, and giving vast exposure and opportunity to photographers worldwide. Sony supports the Awards to help the continued development of photographic culture by giving a global platform to today’s talent. Entry to the Awards is completely free and photographers are judged anonymously by a panel of industry leading judges.


This year’s internationally diverse jury brings a range of knowledge and expertise from varied photographic backgrounds and includes:

Professional Competition: Mike Trow, Independent Curator and Photo Editor and Chair of the Jury; Natasha Egan, Executive Director, Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP); Sunyoung Kim, Curator, Museum of Photography Seoul, South Korea; Azu Nwagbogu, Founder and Director, African Artists Foundation; Lindsay Taylor, Curator, University of Salford Art Collection; and Hannah Watson, Director, Trolley Books and TJ Boulting.

Open and Youth Competition: Gastón Deleau, Director, FOLA, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Student Competition: Kate Simpson, Assistant Editor, Aesthetica Magazine.


The 2021 Awards introduces new categories across the Professional, Youth and Open competitions and a refreshed theme for the Student competition. In choosing these new categories, the Awards hopes to continue appealing to a diverse range of contemporary photographers. 

In the Professional competition a new category for single images is introduced titled Portfolio in which photographers are requested to submit 5-10 images not related to each other in subject matter or narrative but where the photographer’s quality and technical skills are evident and consistent throughout. The Architecture category has also been expanded to include Design giving photographers the option to showcase exteriors and urban landscapes alongside interiors with an architectural approach.

In the Open competition two new categories have been introduced: Lifestyle and Object. Lifestyle features editorial, fashion or family images of people in situations or events taken in an artistic manner while Object presents images depicting inanimate subject matters. This can include photography for commercial and advertising purposes but must show the photographer’s artistic approach.

In the Youth competition monthly themes have all been updated to include the following:

Composition and Design (July): creative images from around the home that encapsulate good composition and design.

Culture (August): images that have enriched and expanded our appreciation of the world and its people. Be it immersing in local culture or capturing a unique travel experience away from home. 

Natural World & Wildlife (September): photographs of the best wildlife, nature and landscape taken in 2020. 

Street Life (October): images of urban landscapes from eye-catching graffiti, architectural details or snapshots that offer a glimpse into everyday life. 

People  (November): portrait shots, be it studio, candid or even a self-portrait.

Show Us Your World (December): Open Call! Entries can be on any topic, style or subject matter.

For the first brief in the Student competition entrants are be asked to submit images under the theme of Building a Better Future which showcases the stories of people who are working towards creating a better future for all.


The Sony World Photography Awards is open to submissions from 1 July 2020. Full competition and categories descriptions can be found at

Deadlines for submission across the Awards’ four competitions are:

Professional: 14 January 2021

Open: 7 January 2021

Youth: each monthly theme will run from the first day of the month to the last (1 July – 31 December 2021).

Student: 30 November 2020 (first brief) 

All category winners of the Professional, Open, Youth and Student competitions receive digital imaging equipment from Sony. In addition, cash prizes of $25,000 (USD) are presented to the Photographer of the Year and $5,000 (USD) to the Open Photographer of the Year. All winning and shortlisted photographers’ works are exhibited at the annual Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition in London and toured internationally. The winning images are also published in the annual Awards’ book.


Images are available for download at

About Sony World Photography Awards

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 13th 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 and Nadav Kander. The Awards showcase the works of winning and shortlisted photographers at a prestigious annual exhibition at Somerset House, London. To book tickets please visit

About World Photography Organisation

World Photography Organisation is a global platform for photography initiatives. Working across up to 180 countries, our aim is to raise the level of conversation around photography by celebrating the best imagery and photographers on the planet. We pride ourselves on building lasting relationships with both individual photographers as well as our industry-leading partners around the world. The World Photography Organisation hosts a year-round portfolio of events including the Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s largest photography competition, and PHOTOFAIRS, international art fairs dedicated to photography with destinations in Shanghai and San Francisco. For more details see Organisation on Instagram (@worldphotoorg), Twitter (@WorldPhotoOrg) and LinkedIn/Facebook (World Photography Organisation). Our hashtags to follow are #sonyworldphotographyawards #swpa.  


Mike Trow is a commissioning Picture Editor and photographer. He began his career as a researcher and reportage agent for Colorific before roles as Picture Editor on magazines including Bizarre and Jack magazine. He was at British Vogue for 13 years, where he lead a team that commissioned, produced and art directed all portrait and feature shoots for the magazine. As a photographer he shot for Vogue and other titles. He now works as a curator, consultant, freelance editor and photographer.

Since 2011, Natasha Egan has served as the executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP), where she was previously the associate director and curator since 2000. She has organized over fifty exhibitions with a focus on contemporary Asian art and artists concerned with societal issues, such as the environment, war, and economics. Egan was a guest curator for the 2010 FotoFest Biennial in Houston; the United States pavilion curator for the 2016 Photo Dubai Exhibition; and a guest curator for the 2019 Lianzhou Photography Biennial in China. Egan’s most recent curatorial project was the exhibition In Real Life which examined the real-world impact of computer vision. Egan has contributed essays to numerous publications such as Beate Gütschow LS / S and Michael Wolf: The Transparent City. For over a decade, she taught in the photography and humanities departments at Columbia College Chicago, and holds a BA in Asian studies, MA in museum studies, and MFA in fine art photography.

Since 2010, Kim Sunyoung has been working for The Museum of Photography, Seoul(MoPS) as Curator in charge of exhibitions and international relations. Kim graduated with a Bachelor of Creative Arts at The University of Melbourne, and received her M.A. in Art Theory from Korea National University of Arts. She acted as co-curator for Brassaï, Koudelka, Giacomelli: Romantic Melancholy and Greetings from South Korea, presented inJimei x Arles International Photo Festival 2019, 2018 respectively. Recently organized a show, titled The Centennial of Korean art photography 1920-2020, scheduled to be shown at The State Russian Museum and Exhibition Centre(ROSPHOTO) later 2020 and The Lithuanian National Museum of Art in 2022. KIM has been responsible for the series of Korean Emerging Artist shows based upon the MoPS’s Portfolio Open Call since 2015. She co-published the book Performance, Politics of Body: Criticism and Meta Criticism.

Azu Nwagbogu is the Founder and Director of African Artists’ Foundation (AAF), a non- profit organisation based in Lagos, Nigeria. Nwagbogu was elected as the Interim Director/ Head Curator of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in South Africa from June 2018 to August 2019. Nwagbogu also serves as Founder and Director of LagosPhoto Festival, an annual international arts festival of photography held in Lagos. He is the creator of Art Base Africa, a virtual space to discover and learn about contemporary African Art. Nwagbogu served as a juror for the Dutch Doc, POPCAP Photography Awards, the World press Photo, Prisma Photography Award (2015), Greenpeace Photo Award (2016), New York Times Portfolio Review (2017-18), W. Eugene Smith Award (2018), Photo Espana (2018), Foam Paul Huf Award (2019), Wellcome photography prize (2019) and is a regular juror for organisations such as Lensculture and Magnum. For the past 20 years, he has curated private collections for various prominent individuals and corporate organisations in Africa. Nwagbogu obtained a Masters in Public Health from The University of Cambridge. He lives and works in Lagos, Nigeria.

Lindsay Taylor has led the strategic development of the University of Salford Art Collection since 2013, including brokering key partnerships with artists and arts organisations across the UK and increasingly China. She pioneered a new collecting policy based on three strands: Chinese Contemporary Art, About the Digital and From the North, reflecting her passion for supporting artists and for creating a collection that tells ‘a story of now’.  Lindsay has expertise in curating exhibitions and developing public collections of contemporary art. She has commissioned new work by numerous artists from the UK and China and continues to contribute to national debate about developing contemporary collections.  In 2014 she established a Graduate Scholarship Programme, supporting a small number of artists in their first year after graduation, now in its seventh year. Previously Lindsay has held positions at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, Tate Liverpool and The Walker, Liverpool. She is currently a trustee of the Peter Scott Gallery Trust at Lancaster University and on the advisory board for the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool.

Hannah Watson is the Director of publisher Trolley Books and contemporary art gallery TJ Boulting. She joined Trolley in 2005, working alongside its founder Gigi Giannuzzi until his death at the end of 2012. Established in 2001, Trolley Books publish a diverse range of titles presenting unique stories in photography, photojournalism and contemporary art. In 2005 Trolley received a special commendation from the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards for its outstanding contribution to photography book publishing. The gallery TJ Boulting was founded by Hannah and Gigi when they relocated from Shoreditch to Fitzrovia in 2011. TJ Boulting’s programme supports and represents emerging contemporary artists in all mediums, including Juno Calypso, Maisie Cousins, Haley Morris-Cafiero, Poulomi Basu and Benedicte Kurzen. Hannah is also Chair of the board of trustees of The Fitzrovia Chapel Foundation, the former chapel of the Middlesex Hospital in Fitzrovia, and now a secular space for arts and the community. She is also chair of the Contemporaries patron committee for The Photographers’ Gallery.

Gastón Deleau is Founder and Director of FOLA, a space dedicated to photography located at the heart of Buenos Aires. Established in 2015, FOLA’s main objective is to foster dialogue and exchanges between artists from around world through its programme of exhibitions, awards, publications, festivals, workshops and portfolio reviews. Some of its landmark exhibitions include Graciela Iturbide, Alberto García Alix, Vivian Maier, Chema Madoz and Frida, by Leo Matiz, to name a few. Since 2001 Deleau has been involved in the development and launch of many cultural and artistic initiatives including Gallery Nights, a cultural tour of more than 100 art galleries; La Semana del Arte, a week of special art and culture programming in Argentina and Peru; the Buenos Aires Photo fair which he directed for 10 consecutive editions followed by the launch of Lima Photo, the first photography fair in Peru; and IMPACT ART a collaboration with UNICEF Argentina and international athletes such as Leonel Messi, Emanuel Ginobili and Juan Martín del Potro.

Kate Simpson joined Aesthetica Magazine in 2016 and, in addition to writing for and editing the magazine, has also worked on number of other annual publications and competitions including the internationally renowned Aesthetica Art Prize and BAFTA-Qualifying Short Film Festival. Kate has worked with a number of high-profile organisations such as Apple and Magnum Photos, and has produced features with the likes of Jenny Holzer, Stephen Shore and Edward Burtynsky. She has also worked alongside some of the world’s largest photography fairs including PHOTOFAIRS, Rencontres d’Arles, Circulation(s) and Unseen Amsterdam, as well as global institutions such as MoMA, New York; Foam Amsterdam; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate, London and MCA Australia, amongst others. She has also programmed for large-scale lecture series and cultural events, including the Aesthetica Future Now Symposium, working with speakers such as Martin Parr, Nadav Kander and Cornelia Parker OBE. She has spoken at numerous events about publishing, journalism and the effects of the digital age on contemporary culture, including Frieze London and Sotheby’s Arts Publishers Fair.