Sony photography ‘Oscars’ under the lens

Standard 8 is designing an exhibition of photographs from the Sony World Photography Awards, which take place in Cannes in France this spring. The consultancy won a fourway creative pitch on Monday to design Legacy, the exhibition – which will also include photographs by Henri Cartier- Bresson and George Rodger – that is planned to accompany the awards ceremony.

The inaugural international photography awards scheme is jostling with the Lucie Awards to become regarded as ‘the Oscars of photography’. The new prize is open to both amateurs and professionals. It awards a total of £15 000 to winners, £5000 more than the Lucies.

Trigger Communications designed the branding for the awards and is now devising an e-mail and poster campaign. The World Photographic Academy, which was set up to run the awards, approached Trigger to work on the event more than two years ago. Trigger managing director Tim Bryant claims to have worked extensively with WPA founder and British events organiser Scott Gray on past projects. ‘The branding needed to be fairly simple, but the website offered quite a challenge as we had to make it easy to navigate through many thousands of images,’ says Bryant.

Last week the inaugural Sony-sponsored scheme whittled down a longlist of more than 70 000 entries to about 180 final ists in 11 categories: architectural, advertising, fashion, photojournalism/documentary, music/performance, sport, nature, science, nude, abstract and portraiture. The awards attracted entries from 15 British professional and nine British amateur photographers.

Finalists in the professional segment are competing to win £13 000, the award of the L’iris d’or and the title of photographer of the year. The winning amateur receives £2500 and will be crowned amateur photographer of the year. Simon Bainbridge, who edits the British Journal of Photography, is judging the architectural, photojournalism and portrait categories. He believes the calibre of the architectural category lags behind some of the others. ‘Some of the entries were quite samey,’ says Bainbridge. ‘There were a lot of typical, well-composed commercial shots, and some more amateurish shots focusing on perspective. I was looking for something beyond straight architectural photography, which, unfortunately, tends to fetishise buildings by removing [elements such as] people and furniture.’

The professional British entrants include architectural photographers Robert Burton and Andy Taylor Smith, advertising photographers Julia Fullerton-Batten and Tim Macpherson (whose Pregnant Boy on a Skateboard is pictured, above) and fashion photographers Fiona Campbell and Katya Evdokimova. The awards ceremony and the accompanying fourday exhibition of the finalists’ work takes place at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes from 21-25 April.


7 April – Sony World Photography Awards amateur photographer of the year announced

14 April – Professional category winners announced

21-25 April – Photographic exhibition, designed by Standard 8, at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes

24 April – Announcement of Sony World Photography Awards photographer of the year and lifetime achievement award at a ceremony at the Palais des Festivals

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