Michaela czech republic winner open nature and wildlife 2016 sony world photography awards

The Sony Photographer Of The Year Awards: The winning photos you just have to see

From polar bears to Ebola survivors, see every breathtaking photo

By Shannon Wilson, 22 April 2016
The Sony Photographer Of The Year Awards: The winning photos you just have to see

The Sony Photographer of the Year Awards took place in London last night, and boy were the photographs fantastic. While we’re often surrounded by pictures from around the world in the news and press, these photographers worked hard to give a human face to issues that people are dealing with today, ranging from the refugee crisis and FGM to waste collection and wildlife.

With over 230,103 entries from 186 countries, picking the winning snaps was a feat in itself. Documenting everything from eagle hunters and failed boxers, to white rhinos almost invisible in their terrain, the winning photographs paint a truly magical picture of our world.

You can see a snapshot of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners from a selection of categories below. Prepare to be amazed.

Open Category

A feast for the eyes, the Open category featured winning photographs of everything from polar bears to a Lantern Store in Hoi An Vietnam and an amazing aerial shot of Central Park.

Enchanted Bamboo Forest, by Kei Nomiyama, Japan

Kei Nomiyana/Getty Images

Youth Category

The Youth category showcased inspiring work by younger photographs, including portraiture and amazing scenic shots.

Sarah, by Sam Delaware, United States

Sam Delaware/Getty Images

Campaign Category

This category explored issues that are currently campaigned for around the world, such as gender issues and the hunting and taxidermy of wild animals, like lions.

TransBrasil, by Jetmir Idrizi, Kosovo

Jetmir Idrizi/Getty Images

Candid Category

The Candid category captured aspects of everyday life from different countries.

Milagro, from the series Waiting for the Candymen by Kirstin Schmitt, Germany

Kirstin Schimitt/Getty Images

Conceptual Category

More abstract, the conceptual category explored stranger notions of modern life, with photographs of Astronauts taking selfies on Mars and the empty houses left abandoned by refugees.

Greetings from Mars, by Julien Mauve, France

Julien Mauve/ Getty Images

Current Affairs Category

The Current Affairs category explored a world in strife, from refugees on the Greek island of Kos to protests and riots between the police and the community in Maryland.

In Search of the European Dream, by Angelos Tzortzinis, Greece

Angelos Tzortzinis/Getty Images

Daily Life Category

These series focused on a distinct group of people such as circus performers on the road and coal miners in West Virginia.

The Curse of Coal, by Espen Rasmussen, Norway

Espen Rasmussen/Getty Images

Environment Category

Capturing the effect people and environment have on each other, the winning shots featured everything from The Eagle Hunting Festival in China to the introduction of urban water rules in California.

Eagle Hunters of Western China, by Kevin Frayer, Canada

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Landscape Category

Grey, melted snow and ice runs. The stark landscapes of the Ming and Qing Dynasties in Yuxian County village Hebei. The sandy Namibian dessert plains, where the animals almost disappear. These stunning images reflect unique landscapes and their inhabitants around the world.

Land of Nothingness, by Maroesjka Lavigne, Belgium

Maroesjka Lavigne/Getty Images 

People Category

Exploring how change affects different groups of people around the world, winners include portraits of modernisation in South Korea and the challenges that Tibetan nomads increasingly face.

Nomadic Life Threatened on the Tibetan Plateau, by Kevin Frayer, Canada

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Portraiture Category

Everyone has a story to tell, which is why this category aims to bring diverse cultures to life. From the strong and powerful survivors of the Ebola virus, to the struggling refugees and persistent fighting cock owners in Bali.

Ebola Survivors, by Marcello Bonfanti, Italy

Marcello Bonfanti/Getty Images

Sport Category

Portraits of silver medal winners just after losing out on the gold, gymnastics in Copenhagen and wrestling in Mexico City paint a lively picture of the different extremes people around the world go to for their sport.

Second Best, by Nikolai Linares, Denmark

Nikolai Linares/Getty Images

Staged Category

Focusing on composed images, this category's winners feature Barbie dolls, a recreation of Dora Maar and her relationship with Picasso, and a (hard) look at our obsession with selfie sticks.

Iconic B, by Alberto Alicata, Italy

Alberto Alicata/Getty Images

L’Iris d’Or photographer of the year

The overall winner was Asghar Khamseh for this powerful portrait of Mohsen Mortazavi, one of the rare male victims of acid attacks. 

Asghar Khamseh/Getty Images

Wow, what an amazing collection of talent and hard work.

Want more? You can catch the entire catalogue of award winning photos at an exhibition running at Somerset House in London from today until 8th May.