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Shortlist For 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Revealed

Whittled down from more than 230,000 entries.

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This year's Sony World Photography Awards has seen a record number of entries, with over 230,000 photos entered from 186 different countries; a third more than in 2015.

Out of that huge number, the shortlist has now been chosen – scroll below and judge for yourself. All the captions are quotes from the Sony World Photography Awards or the photographer. Winners will be announced on 21 April and exhibited at Somerset House, London.

The Professional Competition

"Iconic B" (Staged category), Alberto Alicata, Italy

Alberto Alicata / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"In this project, Alberto Alicata traces the history of photography ... resorting to the use of a symbol of contemporary Western culture: Barbie."

"Real world aliens" (Environment), by Alexander Semenov, Russia

Alexander Semenov / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"This series represents exploration of the most extreme and far cold-water seas, washing the coasts of Russia, because only few people in the world had the chance to dive there."

"Way-Out Miami" (Candid), by Giancarlo Ceraudo, Italy

Giancarlo Ceraudo / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"Miami is an incredible city, multifaceted, a modern Babylon. From Ocean Drive to Downtown, the city enjoys great popularity due to the charm of its buildings, nightlife and trendy life."

"Les Bronzeurs" (Candid), by Alexandre Pruvost, France

Alexandre Pruvost / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"In Paris, when the sun is back, the ‘bronzeur’ goes along the Seine. Wearing clothes or almost naked, he is looking for the perfect spot to enjoy the sun."


"#365, Unpacked" (Campaign), by Antoine Repessé, France

Antoine Repesse / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"#365, Unpacked is the result of four years' work during which the photographer has stopped throwing away his recycled waste, and has collected it instead."

"Towards to the past" (Daily Life), by Anton Unitsyn, Russia

Unitsyn Anton / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"In the 16th century Solvichegodsk was founded as a salt mine. The name of the city is formed with Russian word 'sol' which means salt, and the name of the nearby river Vichegda."


"Picasso's Women" (Staged), by Cristina Vatielli, Italy

Cristina Vatielli / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"The project consists of seven photographic shots, each representing one of the women who influenced the sentimental life and artistic work of Pablo Picasso: Eva Gouel, Gaby Depeyre, Olga KhaKhlova, Marie-Therese Walter, Dora Maar, Francoise Gilot and Jacqueline Rocque."

"Lion" (Campaign), by David Chancellor, UK

David Chancellor / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"When the world learned in late July 2015 about the death of Cecil the Lion, a beloved resident of a national park in Zimbabwe who had been lured away by hunters, then killed and beheaded for a trophy, outrage came swiftly."

"The curse of coal" (Daily Life), by Espen Rasmussen, Norway

Espen Rasmussen / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"Coal used to be the gold of West Virginia, US. But then Obama came and new environmental regulations. Together with lower price on coal, it led to huge redundancies and the coal became a curse for many of the coal cities in West Virginia."

"Stateless Women" (Portraiture), by Fauzan Ijazah, Indonesia

Fauzan Ijazah / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"In May 2015, hundreds of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have landed in several areas of Aceh, Indonesia, including Lhoksukon, Kuala Cangkoi, Kuala Langsa, Bayeun and Kuala Simpang. Some of them reached the shore on their own, but most of them were rescued off at sea by the Acehnese fishermen."


"Made in Korea" (People), by Filippo Venturi, Italy

Filippo Venturi / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"Until the '60s, South Korea was almost a medieval country, poor and underdeveloped. After just 50 years, South Korea is now one of the most advanced countries in the world. The rush towards modernity has been fostered by imposing a huge sense of competition and a painstaking effort to reach scolastic, aesthetic and professional perfection."

"Little fighters" (Sport), by Jens Juul, Denmark

Jens Juul / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"The atmosphere is good and there is loud music playing in the gym in Copenhagen where the elite girls train gymnastics 20 hours a week."

"The philosopher" (Staged) by Juliette Blanchard, France

Juliette Blanchard / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"The Philosopher is an expression of absurdity in an absurd world, eruption of freedom in skimpy landscapes, anarchic dancing in a shabby architecture."

"The Selfie Project" (Staged), by Kristoffer Eliassen, Norway

Kristoffer Eliassen / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"I want to explore how self portraiture for many people has become an obsession, and how presence in a self portrait situation is absent, or becomes a peculiar part of the selfie act."


"California Drought From Above" (Environment), by Lucy Nicholson, UK

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"California's snowpack, which generally provides about a third of the state's water, was at its lowest level on record in 2015."

"A look behind El Salvador’s new Iron Fist approach" (Contemporary Issues), by Marielle van Uitert, Netherlands

Marielle Van Uitert / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"We arrived in El Salvador to see for ourselves the human effects of the violence that is rapidly making the country the deadliest place in the world."

"Women's Team Free Synchronised Swimming Kazan 2015" (Sport), by Matthias Hangst, Germany

Matthias Hangst / Getty Images

"Teams compete in the Women's Team Free Synchronised Swimming Preliminary on day four of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on July 28, 2015 in Kazan, Russia."

"Second Best" (Sport), by Nikolai Linares, Denmark

Nikolai Linares / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"Portraits of the silver medal winners just after losing their final at the Zealand boxing championships held in Copenhagen in March."


"Fight for your dreams – The boxers of Bukom" (Sport), by Patrick Sinkel, Germany

Patrick Sinkel / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"If one is thinking about countries being successful in boxing, just a few will have Ghana in mind. But Ghana produced a couple of world champions in boxing – the most famous one being Azumah Nelson."

"‘Walé, 2ème regard’" (Portraiture), by Patrick Willocq, France

Patrick Willocq / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"For the Ekondas pygmies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the most important moment in the life of a woman is the birth of her first child. The young mother is called Walé (first time nursing mother)."

"Ruins" (Architecture), by Petr Antonov, Russia

Petr Antonov / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"The series reflects on the role and place of the ruined church in contemporary Russian landscape, and on how it relates to the perception of time and history in present-day Russia."


"Flesh Love Returns" (Staged), by Photographer Hal, Japan

Haruihiko Kawaguchi / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"Flesh Love Returns shows men and women who are attracted to each other and try to become one. This fundamental desire carries an energy that affects all matter in the world."

"RIC Hornets" (Campaign), by Rob Gregory, United States

Rob Gregory / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"These images were created for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's Adaptive Sports Program and the RIC Hornets wheelchair basketball team."

"Pools" (Architecture), by Stephan Zirwes, Germany

Stephan Zirwes / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"The Pools series is a study of water, one of the most precious resources for life on our planet."

"Running Away with the Circus" (Daily Life), by Stephanie Sinclair, United

Stephanie Sinclair / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"There are more than 300 people with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus blue unit, representing 25 different countries and speaking everything from Russian to Arabic to Guarani."


"Kinshasa, Paris of Africa 2025" (Candid), by Yvonne Brandwijk, Netherlands

Yvonne Brandwijk I Future Cities / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"The Democratic Republic of the Congo is known for its war, rebels, and poverty, but when it comes to style and fashion its capital, Kinshasa, is an inspiration for many people on the African continent."

Open Competition


"The tourists and the pelicans" (People), by Elie Kauffmann, France

Elie Kauffmann / , 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"While I was cruising with my girlfriend in Namibia, two tourists were obstinate about those birds. Finally they were just looking the same."

"Flying into the sunset", (Nature and Wildlife), by Eric Madeja, Switzerland

Eric Madeja / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"I came across this juvenile flying fish while diving in open water near Tubbataha Reefs, Philippines."

"Too Much Practice" (Split Second), by Khairel Anuar Che Ani, Malaysia

Khairel Anuar Che Ani / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"This image was taken in Bali during Melasti Festival. The festival is conducted once a year in conjunction with Nyepi or Silent Day."


"Cloud Flamingo" (Nature and Wildlife) by Steiner Wang, Taiwan

Steiner Wang / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"I've used water reflection [so] the grass looks like a cloud. So I named it Cloud Flamingo."

"Playing in Dusty Dusk" (Arts and Culture), by MD Tanveer Rohan, Bangladesh

Tanveer Rohan / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"The last five days of Kartika month are known as Bhisma-Panacaka. Grandfather Bhisma fasted for these five days, preparing to give up his life."

"Farming the Sea" (Travel), by Tugo Cheng, Hong Kong

Tugo Cheng / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"A fisherman is farming the sea in between the bamboo rods constructed for aquaculture off the coast in southern China."


Youth Competition

"Nouveau riche" (Portrait), by Talia Rudofsky, United Kingdom

Talia Rudofsky / 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

"Taken in Cannes, France 2015. I took this photograph on Promenade de la Croisette, during my summer holiday. Whilst everyone is mostly new wealth, this woman stood out, as she is relatively modest in appearance, and accompanied by a dog, as well as being elderly."

Matt Tucker is the UK Picture Editor for BuzzFeed and is based in London.

Contact Matthew Tucker at

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