2013 Sony World Photography Awards

With over 122,000 entries from 170 countries – the highest number of submissions to date - the judges of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards have selected the winning photographs that stood out beyond all others for their impressive high quality, originality and modern appeal. Topics ranged from daily international life to the Obama presidential campaign to quirky and witty shots of the animal kingdom.

Portraits of children and youths who survived the massacre on the island of Utoeya outside Oslo (NO) on 22nd of July 2011. Cecilie Herlovsen (17) hid at the south end of the island, where she was shot in her arm, her shoulder and chin. The last bullet was stopped by her wisdom tooth, which most likely saved her life. Cecilie had to amputate her arm. (Andrea Gjestvang, Norway, L'Iris d'Or Winner, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

New Year's eve traditions in Romania (Alecsandra Dragoi, Romania, Youth Photographer of the Year, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards)

That girl stand firm in the 'storm', When confronting challenges, she will never give up. (Hoang Hiep Nguyen, Vietnam, Open Photographer of the Year, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards)

The protagonists of my pictures are taken out of the context of place and time. They share visual kinship which is further emphasized by the scenery among which they are placed. We can only wonder what their relationships out of the frame are and whether the community they have formed in front of the eye of the camera really exists. It is entirely up to us to decide what conclusions we will draw and whether we will resist the temptation to classify and judge quickly. (Natalia Wiernik Poland, Student Focus Photographer of the Year, 2013 Sony World) 

The twins Laura and Beln on the day of their fifteenth birthday celebration. In Latin America, the celebration of the fifteenth birthday of a teenager is very important because it marks the transition from childhood to maturity. (Myriam Meloni, Italy, Finalist, Arts and Culture, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

Usain Bolt of Jamaica races ahead of Ryan Bailey of the United States, Yohan Blake of Jamaica, Justin Gatlin of the United States and Tyson Gay of the United States to win the Men's 100m Final on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on August 5, 2012 in London, England. (Adam Pretty, Australia, Finalist, Sport, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards/Getty Images) 

The southern winter sky shows off its best in this 240 degree view of the Milky Way behind the Quiver Tree Forest near Keetmanshoop, Namibia. Both Magellanic clouds are visible on the left, while the central bulge of our own galaxy contrasts with the warm glow of light pollution from the nearby town. (Florian Breuer, South Africa, Shortlist, Panoramic, Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

Little girl of Turtuk Village, Nubra Valley, Ladakh, India. (Sandipan Mukherjee, India, Shortlist, Smile, Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards)

The last pollen spore preparing to leave a ladybird trying to hold on, because it didn't want to be alone. (Hoang Hiep Nguyen, Vietnam, Shortlist, Nature & Wildlife, Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

Women veterans of the Second World War in Belarus. They are almost 90. The war started for them in 1941 when they were 16-18. They were born in all parts of the Soviet Union. As a result of the fall of Soviet Union they are all Belarussians now. Belarussian propaganda uses them as an example of good patriots and citizens. (Agnieszka Rayss, Poland, Shortlist, Portraiture, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

(Natalia Wiernik, Poland, Student Focus Photographer of the Year, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards)

Ghoramara island is located on a delta region in West Bengal. Due to the dramatic increase in sea level, resulting from the effects global warming since the 1960s, the shores of this island are being perpetually washed away. Since the 1980s more than 50% of the territory has vanished due to erosion by the sea. Many of the people still living on the island are farmers and fishermen who depend on the island's resources for their livelihoods. (Daesung Lee, Korea, Finalist, Contemporary Issues, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards/SIPA Press) 

A group of 20-30 men and women with 12 horses and sleighs will travel during three days, crossing snowed roads and iced lakes, to reach the opening day of Røros winter fair in Norway. A Royal decree of 1853 states that from 1854 onwards a yearly market shall be held in Røros, commencing the second last Tuesday in the month of February, lasting until the following Friday. Every year more than 200 people will travel to Røros as their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. (Agurtxane Concellon, Norway, Shortlist, Travel, Professional Competition, 2013) 

Families visit the shrine of Hazrat Ali, or the Blue Mosque, in Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan on May 11, 2012. The historical mosque attracts thousands of pilgrims each year. (Kuni Takahashi, Japan, Finalist, Lifestyle, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

How often we arrived in an airport of an unknown city, ask for a taxi and drive into it in the search of our hotel or our meeting. That route through the window, longer or shorter, is the first impression we get of the city, and it's completely new for us. Quick glances to the locals, to the streets with no names, to the buildings. We astonishingly recognize those touristic icons that we see passing by, we track them and unsuccessfully put them in place because we haven't explored the city yet. That feeling of ephemeralness is what I pretended to get in this project, to which I aim to add more cities. New York, Paris and Marrakesh are the first chosen metropolis, on purpose, because they represent three continents and three cultures. I don't ask the taxi driver what do I want to see. I just simply let me being carried, with my open eyes and aware of what happens outside the car. I shoot left and right, back and forth, with the avidity of a tourist, enthusiast of his new destination. (Daniel Duart, Spain, Finalist, Travel, Professional Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

14 giraffes flee after spotting lions in hunting mode. (Frederick van Heerden, South Africa, Shortlist, Nature & Wildlife, Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards)

On the November 20, 2012, the armed group called M23 took over the town of Goma in the North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of Congo. This event is just one more step into the chaos cycle DRC has been embedded in since almost twenty years. Paced by less dramatic periods once in a while, the mutiny of integrated soldiers, previously CNDP rebels, has plunged the country back in the old influence conflict pattern. This stereotype denomination involves mass rapes, arbitrary killings, major internal displacement, child soldiers, looting and plundering of natural resources and households. This conflict is the longest of the twentieth century resulting in more casualties than World War II. Yet, it is facing the worst reaction ever, weariness of the International Community. Some NGOs call it the Congo Coma of the chaos cycle. (Colin Delfosse, Belgium, Shortlist, Current Affairs, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

'Lie Down' is a surrealist collection of pictures that create the feeling of being upright on a vertical surface. The objects on each image talk to the viewer and tell them about a distort reality from a subjective point of view by playing with installations under natural light and reflections. Each urban skyscape represents a different scenario, from a observation to contemporary issues to a close look into the artist's experiences. The pictures from the Lie Down collection are analog shots composed on the camera and consist of a highly manipulated reality rather than combination printing or digital airbrushing. (Edurne Aguinaga, Spain, Finalist, Conceptual, Professional Competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

Ornamental chicken breeding clubs have emerged in Indonesia, Thailand, North America and even European countries such as the UK and France. Malaysia is however the epicenter of this cultural phenomenon. These chickens are prized for their build, size, behavior and showmanship by their owners and competitions or beauty contests as they are often described are held almost every week in at least one village in Malaysia. Judges sit around a square table inspecting each chicken for a few minutes trying to determine a champion specimen in its own weight class based on its stance, temperament and physical assets like wings, tails and comb. The walk or strut by an ornamental chicken in a beauty contest, much like a runway model, constitutes a large part of the scoring system. (Ernest Goh, Singapore, Finalist, Nature & Wildlife, Professional Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

Two homeless street children were playing in the smoke created from burnt straws at Chittagong, Bangladesh. Suddenly dense smoke covered them and they were trying to protect themselves and escape. (Kazi Riasat Alve, Bangladesh, Shortlist, Split Second, Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

I was hanging around the Jaipur's suburbia when I noticed a cloud of birds in the air. I've just instinctively released the shutter. Soul of Sir Hitchcock lives here I thought. (Maciej Makowski, Poland, Shortlist, Travel, Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

Photographer Markus Reugels writes, "All my high speed pictures are single shots without any Photoshop manipulation. I only adjust the levels of contrast. Some little sprinkles are cleaned with Photoshop. That's all the processing." Reugels uses splashes of colored water on hard surfaces to create his stunning images. (Markus Reugels, Germany, Shortlist Split Second Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

The calm of both human and animal. The things we miss as we are preparing. My partner was getting her flippers on and I was already prepared and ready to get in so I swam out to see if I could get this shot, I could have never imagined that in a million years I would have a turtle just cruising by at the moment I stuck my head under. How blessed. (Nathan Wills, Australia, Shortlist, Travel, Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards)

Monks looked up at the magnificent night sky filled with thousands of lanterns in awe. Yi Peng lantern festival is meant as a time for tham bun to make merit. This was the moment I've been waiting for and it lasted very quickly due to strong wind. A very heavy downpour occurred right after we left the place. The lanterns were made of organic materials. (Ng Chai Hock, Singapore, Shortlist, Arts and Culture, Open competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards) 

Holi - the festival of colors - is undoubtedly the most fun-filled and boisterous of Hindu festivals. It's an occasion that brings in unadulterated joy and mirth, fun and play, music and dance, and, of course, lots of bright colors! (Anurag Kumar, India, Arts and Culture, Shortlist, Arts and Culture, Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards)

On November 14, 2012 Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched a seven day operation in the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip, dubbed 'Operation Pillar of Defense'. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that 158 Palestinians were killed during the operation, of which: 102 were civilians. (Oliver Weiken, Germany, Shortlist, Current Affairs, Professional Competition, 2013) 

"Of the Tiger and Turtle" is a work of art on an industrial landmark. (Peter Mysticdidge Plorin, Germany, Shortlist, Architecture, Open 2013 Sony World Photography Awards)

The Australian Mens Olympic Waterpolo Team are photographed in an empty Bondi Icebergs pool at Bondi Beach on May 31, 2012 in Sydney, Australia. The Aussie Sharks as they are known were finalizing their preparations for the 2012 London Olympic Games when I asked them to pose in an famous ocean pool...with the twist of it being empty. (Ryan Pierse, Australia,Finalist, Sport, Professional competition, 2013 Sony World Photography Awards/ Getty Images) 

These images were taken throughout the last four months of Barack Obama's presidential campaign and were used by the campaign in television advertising, the web, social media, and print literature. (Scout Tufankjian, United States, Shortlist, Campaign, Professional Competition, 2013)

Underground Station in Stockholm. (Torsten Muehlbacher, Austria, Shortlist, Low Light, Open Competition 2013 Sony World Photography Awards)

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