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Is this the best landscape photography in the world?

Is this the best landscape photography in the world? Sony World Photography Awards 2020
(Image credit: Ronny Behnert, Germany, Category Winner, Professional, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

The Sony World Photography Awards 2020 recently announced their overall winners, of the Professional, Open, Student and Youth competitions and there is some fantastic landscape photography to be seen – especially within the specific landscape photography category. 

Ronny Behnert won the Sony World Photography Awards 2020 landscape photography category with his beautifully captured depictions of torii shrines in Japan. However, Behnert faced stiff competition from his fellow shortlisted photographers.

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Video: Ronny Behnert talks about his winning landscape

Florian Ruiz took second place for his powerful landscape photography of Lop Nor, a former salt lake in Xinjiang province in northwest China that is now largely dried-up. He said, "this barren area was used intermittently as a nuclear weapons testing site from 1964 to 1996, with as many as 45 tests carried out underground and in the atmosphere… I wanted to show the invisible danger in this desolate area…

2nd Place: Project 596 (Chinese Nuclear Landscape) by Florian Ruiz (Image credit: Florian Ruiz, France, 2nd Place, Professional, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

2nd Place: Project 596 (Chinese Nuclear Landscape) by Florian Ruiz (Image credit: Florian Ruiz, France, 2nd Place, Professional, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

"Using digital techniques, I superimposed image fragments, suggesting atoms altering and a general feeling of impermanence. These broken perspectives show the landscape twisting and changing, leading to a sort of vertigo or malaise. The work hints at the danger hidden behind the landscapes."

Chang Kyun came third in the landscape photography category with his series 'New Home'. This series focused on the Japanese internment camps that were build in the US during the Second World War. "These camps imprisoned 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry – more than 60% of them were US citizens. Working on the project reminded me of the racial antagonism we have witnessed in recent history, and led me to consider how radically our view can alter when war and terror affect our lives."

View some of the incredible landscape photography from this year's Sony World Photography competition below and check out their virtual exhibition here to see more images from different genres of the competition.

1st Place: Torii by Ronny Behnert

1st Place: Torii by Ronny Behnert (Image credit: Ronny Behnert, Germany, Category Winner, Professional, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

1st Place: Torii by Ronny Behnert (Image credit: Ronny Behnert, Germany, Category Winner, Professional, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

3rd Place: New Home by Chang Kyun Kiml (Image credit: Chang Kyun Kim, Korea (Republic of), 3rd Place, Professional, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

3rd Place: New Home by Chang Kyun Kiml (Image credit: Chang Kyun Kim, Korea (Republic of), 3rd Place, Professional, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

Commended landscape entries

(Image credit: Craig McGowan, Australia, Winner, Open, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

(Image credit: Viktor Einar Vilhelmsson, Iceland, Shortlist, Open, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

(Image credit: Or Adar, Israel, Shortlist, Open, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

(Image credit: Kai Hornung, Germany, Shortlist, Open, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

(Image credit: Stanley Lin, Taiwan, Shortlist, Open, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

(Image credit: Marco Minischetti, Italy, Shortlist, Open, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

(Image credit: Hsiang Hui, Sylvester Wong, Malaysia, Shortlist, Open, Landscape, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards)

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  • billkfromva
    There are certainly some amazing images, but I have to wonder if the title shouldn't have been "Best Landscape Images" since so many were altered in composition digitally to convey the intended message, but rather "Best Landscape Images". I know that this is an old argument, and I don't intend to take away from the power of the images but these days there should be room for both - Photos which are edited only to bring out the best attributes of the photograph as the eye would see it (film images were edited in that fashion), and digital "creations" capturing what is not possible from reality alone, more like a painting. Were the winning images more about the message the images conveyed or the "quality" of the photo - capturing what is in nature as the eye might see it? Both approaches are wonderful, but are they really comparable to one another?
    I honestly don't pretend to know.
    Reply
  • Rono
    I totally agree. Being from the old school, for me, a photograph should be an image of the original with perhaps a little tweaking to improve some aspect of the photo-a representation of things as they actually are, and if it should be judged, it should be based on the composition, lighting etc. that the photographer was recording, "a frozen second in time". The majority of these are not photos but gimmicky digital images, they do not portray anything but someone's imagination. They should not be called photographs and should not be judged with proper photographs, but under a separate category.
    Reply
  • Håggard Photography
    Hello Rono, sorry but I can´t agree. Of course the winning photos are digital and there is nothing wrong to go with the time and develop the technical equipment.
    Every single photo of the winning series Torii didnt take much more than a 10 minutes editing in Lightroom and/or Photoshop. Not one photo is a composing so the title "Is this the best landscape photography in the world?" is correct. :)
    It´s always a question how a photo was taken!

    Best greetings,
    Ronny

    Rono said:
    I totally agree. Being from the old school, for me, a photograph should be an image of the original with perhaps a little tweaking to improve some aspect of the photo-a representation of things as they actually are, and if it should be judged, it should be based on the composition, lighting etc. that the photographer was recording, "a frozen second in time". The majority of these are not photos but gimmicky digital images, they do not portray anything but someone's imagination. They should not be called photographs and should not be judged with proper photographs, but under a separate category.
    Reply
  • Håggard Photography
    Hello Billkfromva, thanks for your suggestion but I can talk only for myself and I can tell you that every single photo of the winning series Torii took not longer than a 10 minutes editing in Lightroom and/or Photoshop. The photos are no digital composings. Just classic long exposures.

    Best greetings from Germany,
    Ronny

    billkfromva said:
    There are certainly some amazing images, but I have to wonder if the title shouldn't have been "Best Landscape Images" since so many were altered in composition digitally to convey the intended message, but rather "Best Landscape Images". I know that this is an old argument, and I don't intend to take away from the power of the images but these days there should be room for both - Photos which are edited only to bring out the best attributes of the photograph as the eye would see it (film images were edited in that fashion), and digital "creations" capturing what is not possible from reality alone, more like a painting. Were the winning images more about the message the images conveyed or the "quality" of the photo - capturing what is in nature as the eye might see it? Both approaches are wonderful, but are they really comparable to one another?
    I honestly don't pretend to know.
    Reply