Sony World Photography Awards: Photographer of the Year & More

  By Kaitlyn Kerr

Photo by Federico Borella, from his winning series Five Degrees.

The winners of the Sony World Photography Awards have been announced, including Photographer of the Year, presented to Italian artist Federico Borella at a London ceremony for his series Five Degrees. The work explores the impact of climate change in the farming community of Tamil Nadu in Southern India, which is facing its worst drought in 140 years, and ensuing male suicides.

Borella holds a degree in Classical Literature and Masters in Photojournalism and is an internationally published photojournalist. “This award is proof to my subjects that they can trust me – and for my profession, this is fundamental,” he said upon winning. These awards are one of the most prestigious and largest photography competitions and bring global recognition and opportunities for exposure, while providing critical insight into today’s photography and the global issues and lives captured.

Nadav Kandar receives the award for Outstanding Contribution to Photography for his contributions to the world of photography. Born in Israel, raised in South Africa and now based in London, Kandar’s work covers an immensely versatile range, from evocative and engaging landscape to high-profile portraits, film, and fashion.

Open Photographer of the Year, which commends single images based on their ability to communicate a narrative and technical excellence, goes to Christy Lee Rogers for her image Harmony, taken from her Muses series. Rogers is known for using water and lighting in her work, of which this is a beautiful example that dramatically captures movement, contrast, light, and colour in a painting-like manner.

Other awards include Youth Photographer of the Year, which was given to 18-year-old Zelle Westfall for her portrait titled Abuot; and Student Photographer of the Year, given to 25-year-old Sergi Villanueva of Spain. His series La Terreta, explores the harvesting and daily life in the orange groves of his homeland.

The winners and finalists for the Professional Competition were also selected. These were selected based on artistic prowess and photographic expertise as demonstrated in a series of five to ten images across ten categories: Architecture, Brief, Creative, Discovery, Documentary, Landscape, Natural World & Wildlife, Portraiture, Sport, and Still Life. You can view the series’ of those who won and were shortlisted.

All winning, shortlisted, and commended images will be displayed at Somerset House, London, as part of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition from April 18th to May 6th. This year’s awards were chosen from over 300,000 submissions form 195 countries and territories.


Kaitlyn is a craft beer enthusiast and self-labelled film nerd. Suitably, she is one of the hosts of Calgary's Beers & Cameras meetup group. She also drinks too much coffee and wants to see too many places. When not helping coordinate events or exploring whatever city, town, or backroad she can, she also works as a freelance photographer and assistant.