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Sony World Photography Awards 2019 winners announced

Yuck Nicolas Gaspardel & Pauline Baert hero shot
2019 Sony World Photography Awards Still Life category winner, 'Yuck' by Nicolas Gaspardel & Pauline Baert (Image credit: Nicolas Gaspardel & Pauline Baert, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards)

Federico Borella has been crowned Photographer of the Year in the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. 

The Italian photojournalist won the Documentary category for his ‘Five Degrees’ series of images, and the judges also felt that this study of how climate change is influencing suicides of farmers in India was also worthy of taking the top prize. 

A beaming Borella told the audience at London’s Hilton on Park Lane that he was delighted to receive the award. 

Prior to that, the full list of professional category winners had been announced. 

2019 Sony World Photography Awards category winners

  • Sport (opens in new tab): ‘Boxing Against Violence’, by Alessandro Grassani (Italy) 
  • Documentary (opens in new tab): ‘Five Degrees’, by Federico Borella (Italy) 
  • Portraiture (opens in new tab): ‘The Edge’, by Álvaro Laiz (Spain) 
  • Brief (opens in new tab): ‘Ubuntu: I Am because We Are’, by Rebecca Fertinel (Belgium) 
  • Discovery (opens in new tab): ‘Güle Güle’, by Jean-Marc Caimi & Valentina Piccini (Italy) 
  • Natural World & Wildlife (opens in new tab): ‘Meet Bob’ by Jasper Doest (Netherlands) 
  • Creative (opens in new tab): ‘Chosen (Not) to Be’, by Marinka Masséus (Netherlands) 
  • Architecture (opens in new tab): ‘Cut Outs – Pools 2018’, by Stephan Zirwes (Germany) 
  • Landscape (opens in new tab): ‘To the South of the Colourful Clouds’, by Yan Wang Preston (UK) 
  • Still Life (opens in new tab): ‘Yuck’, by Nicolas Gaspardel & Pauline Baert (France)

From Five Degrees, by Federico Borella, SWPA 2019 image

Italy's Federico Borella won the Documentary category, and overall winner, at the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards (Image credit: Federico Borella, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards)

From Harmony by Christy Lee Rogers, SWPA 2019 image

Christy Lee Rogers won the 'Motion' category in the Open section of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards (Image credit: Christy Lee Rogers, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards)

From Sergi Villanueva Belong series, SWPA 2019 pic

From 'Belong' by Sergi Villanueva, Student Photographer of the Year in the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards (Image credit: Sergi Villanueva, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards)

The glitzy awards ceremony saw all the category winners flown in from all over the world – entries to Sony World Photographer of the Year 2019 were received from 195 countries. 

There was also an Outstanding Contribution to Photography award (opens in new tab), which was presented to a very surprised but clearly delighted Nadav Kandar. The photographer, artist and director comfortably met the criteria of making a significant impact on the photographic medium. 

Attendees at the awards were shown some of his contributions to photography, including portraits of American presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, and Kandar’s award-winning series of images Yangtze, The Long River. 

There were also awards on the night for Christy Lee Rogers (USA), awarded Open Photographer of the Year (opens in new tab) for her series ‘Harmony’, as entered in the ‘Motion’ category; Sergi Villanueva (Spain) took Student Photographer of the Year (opens in new tab) for a collection of images related to the theme ‘Belong’; and Zelle Westfall (USA) received the Youth Photographer of the Year (opens in new tab) trophy for her image ‘Abuot’. 

Plus, the National Awards (opens in new tab) programme runs across 62 countries to reward the best local photographic talent from across the globe. 

The 2019 Zeiss Photography Award (opens in new tab), exploring the theme ‘Seeing Beyond: The Unexpected’, went to Rory Doyle for ‘Delta Hill Riders’, a study of African American cowboys in the Mississipi Delta. 

SWPA 2019 Delta Hill Riders Rory Doyle 1 image

Rory Doyle's 'Delta Hill Riders' series won the 2019 Zeiss Photography Award  (Image credit: Rory Doyle, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards)

Now in its 12th year, the World Photography Awards continues to recognize the very best contemporary images taken over the last year, and is sponsored by Sony. 

To see more images and to discover more about the competition, go to the official Sony World Photography Awards 2019 website (opens in new tab).

See the winning entries in London 

SWPA 2019 from The Normals by Pol Kurucz image

Images from 'The Normals' by Pol Kurucz, shortlisted in the Professional Creative category  (Image credit: Pol Kurucz, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards)

You can enjoy the Sony World Photography Awards 2019’s winning images at Somerset House, London, until May 6. Click here (opens in new tab) for more information. 

Read more: 

Photographer of the Year 2019 overall winners revealed (opens in new tab)
Photo of a crying baby is the emotional winner at World Press Awards 2019 (opens in new tab)
Canon users score clean sweep of Wex Photographer of the Year awards (opens in new tab)

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Niall is the editor of Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab), and has been shooting on interchangeable lens cameras for over 20 years, and on various point-and-shoot models for years before that. 


Working alongside professional photographers for many years as a jobbing journalist gave Niall the curiosity to also start working on the other side of the lens. These days his favored shooting subjects include wildlife, travel and street photography, and he also enjoys dabbling with studio still life. 


On the site you will see him writing photographer profiles, asking questions for Q&As and interviews, reporting on the latest and most noteworthy photography competitions, and sharing his knowledge on website building.