Sony World Photography Awards 2021 – The winners

Carol Imasiku, Bank Top, Blackburn, 2020. From the series 'Bank Top'. © Craig Easton, Sony World Photography Awards 2021.

The jury of the prestigious award has announced the 14th edition’s winners. The Photographer of the Year title has been awarded to British documentarian Craig Easton for his series Bank Top (also the winner in the Portraiture category) which examines the representation and misrepresentation, often misleading and inauthentic, of communities in northern England, focusing on the Bank Top neighbourhood in Blackburn, a town portrayed by the media as “the most segregated city in Britain”. The project is a collaboration with writer and academic Abdul Aziz Hafiz, and has been developed over the course of a year, during which time Easton and Hafiz worked closely with the local communities, who are very close despite the difficult socio-economic context. Stories and experiences were told through intense black and white portraits, accompanied by texts highlighting issues such as “housing, unemployment, immigration”. A work defined as having a great “moral weight” by Mike Trow, Chair of the 2021 Professional competition.

Bank Top, Blackburn, 2020. Mohammed Afzal, the Birdman of Bank Top. From the series ‘Bank Top’. © Craig Easton, Sony World Photography Awards 2021.

Commenting on his win, Easton Easton said: “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”.

It was a real triumph for the British photographer, who also achieved second place with his Thatcher’s Children series (shot in the same English region) in the Documentary Projects category, in which Italian Vito Fusco was declared the winner. The photographer from Campania took first place with The Killing Daisy, a documentary project on the harvesting of pyrethrum in Kenya. Known as the “flower of death”, the pyrethrum looks like a daisy; its powerful poison is used as a natural insecticide and its cultivation is revolutionising organic farming.

Marie Njoki lives in the village of Eburru, Kenya, her job is to harvest the pyrethrum. From the series ‘The Killing Daisy’. © Vito Fusco, Sony World Photography Awards 2021.

Congratulations also to another Italian photographer, Simone Tramonte, who won first place in the Environment category with his series Net-zero Transition, a project that describes the transition to a sustainable economy in Iceland, a virtuous country whose energy now comes 100% from renewable sources, and which has become a global leader in clean energy and emissions reduction technologies.

In the first positions of the 10 categories into which the Professional competition is divided, Italy is well represented. It is worth noting the remarkable result of the photographers who won second place: Luigi Bussolati, with the project Ampelio and I in the Creative section (photographs found in an old family album are projected onto the landscapes of Parma and the Po River); Andrea Ferro in the Landscape category with the series Zaïm; (which examines the urban face of Tripoli, Lebanon, dominated by political propaganda posters); Alessandro Pollio with Volatile Interests in Still Life (exploration of the domestic environment through simple and ironic compositions of everyday objects). Third place for Lorenzo Tugnoli with Port Explosion in Beirut, (also awarded a prize at World Press Photo 2021) reporting on the devastation caused by the tragic explosion in the Lebanese capital’s port in August 2020.

The Blue Lagoon, one of Iceland’s most important tourist attractions. Geothermal water that has already generated electricity at the Svartsengi Power Station and has passed through a heat exchanger to provide heat for a municipal water heating system is finally fed into the lagoon. From the series ‘Net-Zero Transition’. © Simone Tramonti, Sony World Photography Awards 2021.


All award-winning photographers in the different categories on the World Photography Organization website.


April 16, 2021

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