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Captive rhinos to sacred pilgrimages: The best pictures from Sony World Photography Awards 2024

Captive rhinos to sacred pilgrimages: The best pictures from Sony World Photography Awards 2024

The finalists and shortlisted entries for this year's prestigious Sony World Photography Awards 2024 have been announced!

A total of 30 finalists were chosen across the competition’s 10 professional categories, which span from portraiture and sport to landscape and the environment.

The coveted title of Photographer of the Year 2024 awaits one deserving professional finalist, which will be revealed on 18 April, along with the prize of $25,000 (USD) cash.

A selection of images by finalists and shortlisted photographers will be exhibited from 19 April to 6 May at London's Somerset House.

‘The jury was captivated by the passionate storytelling; capturing both the joys and the challenges of human existence across our planet. We were thrilled by the diverse, high-quality, and creative spectrum of photography styles on display," says Monica Allende, the chair of the jury.

Here's a selection of some of our favourite entries from the professional competition:

'The First Car' by Adali Schell (PORTRAITURE, FINALIST)

The First Car by Adali Schell
The First Car by Adali Schell - Credit: Adali Schell
The First Car by Adali Schell
The First Car by Adali Schell - Credit: Adali Schell

In 2022, I was commissioned by The New York Times to photograph my friends in their first cars. Having spent my final teenage years in isolation due to the pandemic, the car provided me with a space to come back into touch with my community and with L.A.

'Zero Hunger' by Maurizio Di Pietro (ENVIRONMENT, FINALIST)

Zero Hunger by Maurizio Di Pietro
Zero Hunger by Maurizio Di Pietro - Credit: Maurizio Di Pietro
Zero Hunger by Maurizio Di Pietro
Zero Hunger by Maurizio Di Pietro - Credit: Maurizio Di Pietro

Insects are rich in proteins and highly sustainable, with minimal environmental impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and water and soil consumption. As a result, researchers are studying the most sustainable and cost-effective ways to promote the use of insects as a food source for both people and animals.

'King Without a Throne: Poached or Dehorned' by Haider Khan (WILDLIFE & NATURE, FINALIST)

King Without a Throne: Poached or Dehorned by Haider Khan
King Without a Throne: Poached or Dehorned by Haider Khan - Credit: Haider Khan
King Without a Throne: Poached or Dehorned by Haider Khan
King Without a Throne: Poached or Dehorned by Haider Khan - Credit: Haider Khan

With this series I want to share the painful story of two rhinos, one living in Munich, Germany, and the other in Kolkata, India. Despite being separated by thousands of miles, these beautiful creatures have a shared past: both of them have been stripped of their once-proud horn, symbolising the harm that humans can inflict upon wildlife.

'Surf in Dakar' by Tommaso Pardini (SPORT, FINALIST)

Surf in Dakar by Tommaso Pardini
Surf in Dakar by Tommaso Pardini - Credit: Tommaso Pardini
Surf in Dakar by Tommaso Pardini
Surf in Dakar by Tommaso Pardini - Credit: Tommaso Pardini

The Senegalese surf scene is growing fast and I’ve been there to document the life of Ismaila Samb, a young, promising surfer who is aspiring to become a professional. The surfers here don’t have the best equipment, but though they surf with old surfboards and wetsuits, their passion is above everything.

Tehran Campus Town by Yaser Mohamad Khani (ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN, FINALIST)

Tehran Campus Town by Yaser Mohamad Khani
Tehran Campus Town by Yaser Mohamad Khani - Credit: Yaser Mohamad Khani
Tehran Campus Town by Yaser Mohamad Khani
Tehran Campus Town by Yaser Mohamad Khani - Credit: Yaser Mohamad Khani

In recent years, due to population growth and lack of sufficient housing, the towns near Tehran have been crowded and people have to migrate here.

Gilded Lilies: Portraits of Cut Flowers by Tine Poppe (CREATIVE, FINALIST)

Gilded Lilies: Portraits of Cut Flowers by Tine Poppe
Gilded Lilies: Portraits of Cut Flowers by Tine Poppe - Credit: Tine Poppe
Gilded Lilies: Portraits of Cut Flowers by Tine Poppe
Gilded Lilies: Portraits of Cut Flowers by Tine Poppe - Credit: Tine Poppe

These cut flowers were bought at a local flower shop and photographed in front of prints of landscapes in my studio.

'Parenthood' by Angelika Kollin (PORTFOLIO, FINALIST)

Parenthood by Angelika Kollin
Parenthood by Angelika Kollin - Credit: Angelika Kollin
Parenthood by Angelika Kollin
Parenthood by Angelika Kollin - Credit: Angelika Kollin

My photographic exploration examines the myriad forms that a modern-day family can take, uniting them under common and universally sought human emotions: a sense of belonging, love and emotional intimacy.

'Flora' by Federico Scarchilli (STILL LIFE, FINALIST)

Flora by Federico Scarchilli
Flora by Federico Scarchilli - Credit: Federico Scarchilli
Flora by Federico Scarchilli
Flora by Federico Scarchilli - Credit: Federico Scarchilli

Plants are among the main suppliers of medicinal substances and should be considered as the producers and dynamic containers of chemical substances. This series highlights the important role of pharmacognosy in modern biology.

'Captives' by Ernesto Benavides (DOCUMENTARY, SHORTLIST)

Captives by Ernesto Benavides
Captives by Ernesto Benavides - Credit: Ernesto Benavides
Captives by Ernesto Benavides
Captives by Ernesto Benavides - Credit: Ernesto Benavides

The Ayabaca pilgrimage is at the heart of deep-rooted catholic traditions within the South American region. I joined these pilgrims to explore and capture the performative image of their cathartic rituals, as they travelled to meet the Captive Lord, represented wearing a spiked crown as he is led to his crucifixion.

'Home is Where the Horse is' by Jacques Smit (WILDLIFE & NATURE, SHORTLIST)

Home is Where the Horse is by Jacques Smit
Home is Where the Horse is by Jacques Smit - Credit: Jacques Smit
Home is Where the Horse is by Jacques Smit
Home is Where the Horse is by Jacques Smit - Credit: Jacques Smit

Home is Where The Horse is follows a herd of wild horses inhabiting the Bot river estuary at the Rooisand Nature Reserve, in the Overberg region of South Africa. As an equestrian with a broad knowledge of equine behaviour, on extremely rare occasions I would insert myself in their presence as a respectful observer; non-threatening and mindful to avoid any form of dependence, trust or disruption.

An Atypical Chinese Landscape by Fan Li (LANDSCAPE, FINALIST)

An Atypical Chinese Landscape by Fan Li
An Atypical Chinese Landscape by Fan Li - Credit: Fan Li
An Atypical Chinese Landscape by Fan Li
An Atypical Chinese Landscape by Fan Li - Credit: Fan Li

These scenes and objects – the result of human production and labour processes serving human survival and life – are now left on the earth and have become the landscape. Some of these landscapes have become construction waste, destroying the living environment and becoming permanent scars.

'Postcards From Heaven, 2023' by Peter Franck (CREATIVE, SHORTLIST)

Postcards From Heaven, 2023 by Peter Franck
Postcards From Heaven, 2023 by Peter Franck - Credit: Peter Franck
Postcards From Heaven, 2023 by Peter Franck
Postcards From Heaven, 2023 by Peter Franck - Credit: Peter Franck

This series of images presents a kitsch and often absurd world where new stories are found. Offering both a humorous and serious contemplation of our past and present, these fragments of history come from a world that in and of itself is often completely out of joint. Surreal greetings from ‘Absurdistan’!