Dubai – MENA Herald: The 2016 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s biggest photography competition, organised by the World Photography Organisation, today announces the shortlists for its Professional, Open and Youth competitions.

This year’s shortlist is defined by its sheer internationality, with over 270 photographers from nearly 60 countries being represented, the most in the awards’ nine-year history. Also significant was the substantial growth in the Professional competition, with entries up 45% on 2015.
A record-breaking 230,103 images were entered into the Professional, Open and Youth competitions from 186 countries. The total number of entries received by the Sony World Photography Awards since its launch has now surpassed one million images, reinforcing the awards’ position as one of the most respected and influential photography competitions in the world.
Recognising the best contemporary photography from 2015, the Honorary Jury, chaired by Dominque Green (Consultant, UK) and Sue Steward (Writer/ Curator, UK), have identified exceptional work by both emerging talent and seasoned photographers from all corners of the world.
Originality and a strong sense of empathy stood out for the judges across the shortlist. From the thousands of submissions, subtle themes also appeared for the judges – the delicate handling of intimate, private moments by photographers; the capturing of the major public stories dominating the news, from the conflict in the Ukraine to the endless lines of refuges in search of a better life in Europe; and the use of new technology to create work, including drone and underwater photography.
Included on the 2016 shortlist were four participants from the Middle East: Mohammed Yousef (Kuwait); Nader Saadallah (Egypt); Ahmed Gaber (Egypt); and Armand Tamboly (Egypt).
Scott Gray, CEO of the World Photography Organisation and organiser of the awards commented: “We are extremely pleased with our jurors’ choices this year. Despite the increase in the number of photographers, and the amount of imagery that required judging, this year above all others we have witnessed a wealth of powerful imagery in the traditionally strong social documentary categories as well as the art and conceptual work. It is wonderful for the medium that it can offer such rich diversity.”
Those in the awards’ Professional categories will now compete for a $25,000 (AED 92,000) prize and the L’Iris d’Or/ Photographer of the Year title. The recipient, along with the winners of the Professional categories, overall Youth and Student winners plus the Open Photographer of the Year, who receives a $5,000 (AED 18,000) prize, will all be announced at the Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony in London Thursday 21st April. All winners will receive the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony.
The winning and shortlisted images will go on show at Somerset House, London from 22nd April – 8th May and published in the 2016 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards book.