Another Great Year For This Photography Show

Sony World Photography Awards, Somerset House ★★★★☆

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 58 months ago

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Another Great Year For This Photography Show Sony World Photography Awards, Somerset House 4
These surreal cinematic images are from a festival in Southern Spain. © Antonio Gibotta

A masked man looks like he's covered in ash as if in a post-apocalyptical Hollywood film. In fact, it's part of the Els Enfarinats festivities in southern Spain where a mock coup is flour bombed. This cinematic photograph is just one of hundreds on display across two wings of Somerset House, in the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition.

Edgar Martins gives us a futuristic look inside a modern car manufacturing plant. © Edgar Martins

We love this annual exhibition for the huge variety of photography that's always on display, from a paralysed bodybuilder with immense stage presence to a raging sea frozen in time, making the water appear solid. There were over 320,000 submission from over 200 countries so we know what we're seeing in the exhibition is the top picks, and they don't disappoint.

Your ready for your glamour shot, stallion? © Wiebke Haas

There's great humour in a series of portraits of horses made to look glamorous as their manes toss in the wind, and one photographer who likes to capture dogs who look like their owners in double portraits.

At the other end of the scale we have images capturing the horrors endured by refugees. In one particularly poignant series, just the edges of suicide notes are visible as they emerge from the darkness — we can't see any words but they still hold a power over us.

One of Candida Hofer's stunning interiors. © 2018 Candida Hofer, Courtesy Ben Brown Fine Arts

There's a special section dedicated to Candida Hofer, who specialises in capturing the vast interiors of places such as the Hermitage in St Petersburg and the library of Trinity College in Dublin. These floor to ceiling images are stunning, and we agree that Hofer deserves the Outstanding Contribution to Photography that has been awarded to her.

It's fascinating how this exhibition often throws up unfamiliar rituals such as Afghan warlords on horseback trying to nab an animal carcass. That may feel like an alien idea but it's not so dissimilar to a nearby shot of water polo players from below. In both images, the object of the contest — the carcass and the ball respectively — aren't visible. We just have to trust it's in there somewhere.

Overall winner Alys Tomlinson looks at religious devotion and the people and places that are part of it. © Alys Tomlinson

Another favourite is Gianmaria Gava's manipulation of homes and offices to removes all windows and doors, so they simply become massive geometric shapes. By taking away the human design elements, these buildings become more foreboding, as they no longer appear to have a purpose.

There's no way to capture all of the brilliant photographs in this exhibition, but we're excited to confirm that it's another great year for this annual show.

The 2018 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition is on at Somerset House until 6 May 2018. Tickets are £6-18 for adults.

Last Updated 23 April 2018