Sony World Photography Awards

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The World Photography Awards (WPA), sponsored by Sony, is an international showcase of the best images taken by renowned and undiscovered photographers alike. From landscape to music and photojournalism to fashion photography, the WPA is the first awards of its kind and is supported by hundreds of the industry’s top photographers, critics, gallery curators, directors, founders and more.

© Ed Robinson/OneRedEye

Photo © Ed Robinson/OneRedEye courtesy WPA

Featuring eleven different categories, both professional and amateur photographers will be invited to enter work from 9th October 2007 until mid-January 2008. All entries will be judged by a prestigious academy of experts and the winners will be announced at a black tie awards ceremony in Cannes at the Palais des Festivals on 24th April 2008.

The awards and subsequent exhibition will be to photography what the Oscars are to the film industry. With an annual ceremony and black tie gala taking place on the prestigious Côte d’Azur, the World Photography Awards are set to become the largest and most important awards in the industry. For the inaugural year, the World Photography Academy will be comprised over one hundred of the most respected photographers, critics, picture editors, gallerists and other industry leaders. It will include Phil Stern (US), Terry O’ Neil (UK), Chien-Chi (China), Sylvia Plachy (Hungary), Carl de Keyzer (Belgium) and Esko Mannikko (Finland). Members of the academy will form the judging panel for the awards, and winners will automatically gain membership of the academy.

The academy will be governed by the Honorary Board which consists of eleven members including Tom Stoddart, Mary Ellen Mark, Bruce Davidson, Martin Parr, Elliott Erwitt, Susan Meiselas and Stephen Cohen. These eleven board members will represent the academy, promoting excellence within photography and setting the standard for award selections.

Providing an unprecedented international platform in the world of photography, the aim of the World Photography Awards is to unearth the images of the future while paying tribute to the visions of the past. “It’s a great honour to be part of the inaugural Sony World Photography Awards. The awards will showcase the very best imagery from around the world and will undoubtedly inspire and excite anyone who is passionate about photography.” (Tom Stoddart)

Lineup shot

Image from today’s press conference to announce the inaugural Sony World Photography Awards: from left to right – Scott Gray, (Founder); Tom Stoddart (Photographer); Alan Sparrow (president of Picture Editors Guild, UK); Shaun Dorrington.

World Photographic Academy

Some of the world’s leading photographers, public gallery operators, curators and major picture editors have been invited to become members of the WPA. A full list of current academy members can be found at


From the 9th October 2007, photographers both professional and amateur will be invited to submit work to be judged in the eleven different categories. From this the academy will nominate a shortlist of photographers who will then be invited to attend the awards ceremony. The shortlist will be announced in February 2008.

The eleven categories are:

  • Abstract
  • Advertising
  • Architecture
  • Fashion
  • Music
  • Nature
  • Nude
  • Portraiture
  • Photojournalism
  • Science
  • Sport

The Awards

Professional Awards

All submitted works will be judged by academy members and three finalists will be nominated in each of the
eleven categories.

  • l’iris d’or
    • One photograph will represent the image of the year and win l’iris d’or which comprises:
    • The title Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year as well as $25,000
    • Entry into the World Photographic Academy for future years
    • Exhibition showcase of winning image and 25 picture portfolio at the 2009 World Photography Awards
    • Winning images exhibited on the World Photography Awards’ website and promoted to creatives worldwide
  • Individual Category Awards
  • Lifetime Achievement Award

Amateur Awards

The awards will be international and interactive, allowing people from across the world to submit photographs online via the WPA website to an amateur competition that will run in parallel to the Professional Awards. Each photographer can submit up to three photographs per single category. The site aims to create an online community and social network in which people can interact, creating a destination point for amateur photographers across the globe.

The awards night will be a black tie event bringing together the crème de la crème of photography and the media on 24th April 2008 in Cannes. An exhibition of all finalists’ work will be held at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes from the 21st-25th April and will be open for public viewing. World Photography Awards is delighted to welcome Sony as its headline sponsor.

“Photography plays a vital role in defining and documenting the world around us”, says Shaun Dorrington, General Manager, Sony Digital Imaging, “and by sponsoring the inaugural World Photography Awards we can support talented photographers across the globe and give them the recognition they deserve.”

WPA backgrounder

The initial concept for the World Photography Awards was conceived over lunch in Cannes in autumn 2005. Founder Scott Gray identified with the Commercial Manager of the Palais de Festivals a substantial gap in the photography market for celebrating what had been a revolutionary decade in the industry. The result was an Awards ceremony that would mark the way forward for both professional and amateur photographers and set a precedent for future decades.

Sony backgrounder

Sony first entered the photographic market in 1989 with the release of one of the world’s first digital cameras. Through the years Sony has continued to push the boundaries of excellence with each new addition to their range, including the market-leading Cyber-shot digital and the DSLR Sony α (pronounced Alpha) cameras 100 and 700. It is with great pleasure that Sony looks forward to the growing success of The Sony World Photography Awards in years to come.

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