Picture Perfect – 2012 Sony World Photography Awards.
It’s the 26th April, and the Hilton Park Lane is gearing up for the prestigious Industry press clamour to catch a glimpse of tonight’s hopefuls, their flash bulbs popping, but this is no celebrity event. We are here to celebrate the men and women behind the lens. Previous luminaries of this most celebrated award include Argentinean photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg (2011) and Italian photographer Tommaso Ausili (2010). The winner of this most coveted prize will join them as the newest member of the World Photographic Academy. Significant individuals from the international photographic community were present, along with Minister of Culture, Ed Vaizey, who spoke in support of the photography industry in the UK.
US photographer Mitch Dobrowner pipped over 112,000 entrants, from 171 countries to take home the L’Iris d’Or Photographer of the Year award for his magnificent sequences of storm systems in the Appalachian Mountains. On collecting his award Dobrowner said, ‘In landscape photography, there is one moment that will never be the same again. I want my images to do the speaking. That’s what photography is all about.’ His images certainly speak for themselves.
The award is an incredible achievement and honour for Dobrowner who grew up on Long Island, NY, and discovered a passion for photography from a young age. ‘I feel that I owe much to the great photographers of the past, especially Ansel Adams, for their dedication to the craft and for inspiring me in my late teens. Though I have never met them, their inspiration helped determine the course my life would take’. WM Hunt, Chairman of the 2012 Honorary Judging Committee and MC of the 2012 Awards ceremony, spoke of the juries pleasure in selecting Dobrowner for the top spot ‘because he is the best of what is classic and what is contemporary in photography. He brings a sense of its history and enormous skill in his craft while pushing his imagination and, even, physical strength. The work offers a visceral rush while being wonderfully well made. I think he is an exceptional choice.’
The Sony World Photography Awards now includes more amateur categories than ever before, and strives to expose new talent. Tobias Bräuning from Germany was announced as overall Open winner in the split second category. His ‘water drop’ image, ‘Dancing Queen’ secured him the winning position. William Klein received the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award, recognition long-overdue in many a photographers mind, due to his influential style and use of techniques. Klein, at the grand age of 84, is one of the 20th century’s most influential photographers and film-makers. Asef Ali Mohammad, a third-year Middlesex University student, has worked hard to showcase his impressive new collection, travelling to Kabul to photograph young artists in the Afghan capital. The resulting images have earned his university the prize of 45,000 euros worth of Sony digital imaging equipment.
Donald Weber is among the many professional photographers recognized at this year’s awards Weber won the current affairs category with his haunting images of post-tsunami Japan, entitled ‘Life in the Exclusion Zone.’ (pictured). The creative duo of Sebastian Palmer and Pawel Okol (Palmer+Pawel) are this year’s winners of the sport category for their striking portrait images of bloodied and bruised athletes.
The winning images and more will be on display at The Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London. The exhibition, part of World Photo, London, is billed as the global photographic event of the year and the festival will also include a programme of events, talks, seminars and exhibitions. Roll on The Sony World Photography Awards 2013.