Sony World Photography Awards 2015 at Somerset House
They say a picture paints a thousand words, and the same rings true for the remarkable array of photographs on show at this year’s Sony World Photography Awards exhibition. Chosen from a selection of 183,737 entries from 171 countries, this display is worthy of the grand halls of Somerset House.
Whether you’re a photography enthusiast, novice Instagrammer or someone who purely appreciates the power a single photograph can emote, this is an exhibition that will captivate every imagination. Categories cover travel, nature and wildlife, portraits, sport, architecture and current affairs to name but a few. Throughout the professional, open and youth categories there is a broad spectrum of work, ranging from hard-hitting photojournalism to everyday candid shots taken by amateur photographers around the world.
Amid the vast collection, a highlight is the mesmerising work of this year’s recipient of the L’Iris d’or/Sony World Photography Award’s Photographer of the Year title, John Moore. The American photographer expertly depicts the gravity of the Ebola crisis in Liberia as it unfolds before him. His images are raw and hard-hitting in their presentation of the very basic human emotions conjured when life clings to the edge of death. These still portraits of helplessness and despair are utterly compelling and present a definitive observation of what every photograph on display at this exhibit represents – the power that comes from capturing one moment from a whirlwind of time and events; a moment we can relate to whether it encapsulates life or death, love or hate, fear or joy, humanity or nature.
The resounding theme across each category is overwhelmingly life, simply as it is, all over the world. From the people, the landscape, the animals and the events that combine to form our shared existence on this planet, each photograph is a reminder of our very small place amidst it all. Recent political crises in Ukraine that have dominated media attention are well documented, as are insights into ongoing, endemic global poverty that all too often fade from the spotlight. The contrast between wealth and deprivation, development and degeneration, nature and humanity are intertwined constantly to great effect.
The exhibit also hosts a retrospective of the legendary photographer Elliot Erwitt. A selection of his iconic black and white images of everyday lives perfectly embodies his influence on modern photography. Although technology has advanced significantly, the basic premise of freezing human emotions in that one moment in time will never lose its simple, emotive power. It’s telling that not every photograph on display here has text to accompany it; one can simply understand the story from what their eye beholds, and that is where photography holds its own.
Whatever your interest, this is an exhibition of extraordinary range; combining shots of opportunity with those sought out through bravery and adversity to deliver a story to us. One such story, charting the journey of two young girls in India from their life in blindness to the aftermath of sight restoration surgery, is truly absorbing and perfectly symbolises the inspiring nature of photography as an art form.
Sony World Photography Awards 2015 is at Somerset House until 10th May 2015, for further information visit here.