The 2016 Sony World Photography Awards, the world's biggest photography competition, has revealed the shortlists for its Professional, Open and Youth competitions. A record-breaking 230,103 images were submitted this year, from 186 countries. The total number of entries received by the Sony World Photography Awards since its launch has now surpassed one million.
In the Professional competition, photographers were invited to enter between three and 10 images into any of the 14 categories. Some 127,098 images were submitted. Judges selected up to 10 photographers for the shortlist. In this gallery, we present a selection of images from the Professional shortlist.
( See the Open shortlist here.)
Alessandro Penso, Italy, Shortlist, Professional, Current Affairs. According to UNHCR, approximately 850,000 refugees and migrants, including children, arrived in Greece by sea in 2015. Of these, just over 500,000 landed on Lesbos, a Greek island around eight nautical miles from the Turkish coast. Although at the centre of migration flows, Lesbos had nothing to offer the mainly Syrian, Afghan and Iraqi refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who arrived there. Once they reached Europe's beaches, they were welcomed with a long trek across the islands mountainous interior, followed by days and nights spent in crowded refugee camps, where not even a place in a tent was guaranteed and where basic amenities such as toilets and showers were lacking. But it was in those under-serviced and poorly managed camps that they had to stay, in order to obtain the required registration to allow them to travel legally through Greece and continue their journey of hope towards other European countries, such as Germany and Sweden.
Alessandro Penso, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Andrew Burton, United States, Shortlist, Professional, Current Affairs. Freddie Gray, a black, 25-year-old man and a resident of Baltimore's Gilmor Houses housing project, died in police custody on 19 April 2015 after being arrested days earlier for possessing a switch blade knife. His death sparked massive protests throughout Baltimore in an attempt to bring attention to the city's systemic inequality and the alleged, routine excessive force used by police. The riots prompted Maryland's Governor to declare a national emergency and to call in the National Guard to quell the protests as well as mass media attention. This body of work explores the days after Gray's funeral and how the community actions struck a chord in the on-going national conversation regarding race relations and police treatment of Americas black community.
Andrew Burton, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards/Getty Images
Angelos Tzortzinis, Greece, Shortlist, Professional, Current Affairs. In search of the European Dream: "Migration to Europe has increased over the past years, mainly because of political and social turmoil in the Middle East. During the recent years, Greece has been the path for thousands of refugees and migrants for their crossing from Turkey. The main places of entrance are the islands of Kos and Lesbos. The Greek government, in an effort to minimise the wave of refugees entering the country has built an eight-mile long and eight-feet high barbed-wire fence at the main entrance point at its northeastern borderline with Turkey. This caused a huge wave of refugees and migrants trying to enter the country by the Aegean Sea. For many, it is their first encounter with the sea. Hundreds have lost their lives in their attempt to reach the European Union, many hoping to reunite with long-lost friends and family. At the time I write this text, millions of refugees and migrants wait in Turkey to cross the sea border for a better life."
Angelos Tzortzinis, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Brendan Hoffman, United States, Shortlist, Professional , Current Affairs. Winter of Discontent: Since protests in Kiev drove President Viktor Yanukovych from power in February 2014, Eastern Ukraine has been convulsed by a separatist insurgency that has evolved into a full-fledged civil war centred in the provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, an industrial region known as Donbass. At heart is a desire among the rebels for greater autonomy, out of widespread fear – justified or not – that Russian-speaking Ukrainians are at risk of political repression by the government in Kiev. Russian propaganda has carried this storyline further, implying that the Ukrainian government is comprised of fascists and backed by neo-Nazi Ukrainian nationalists. Russia itself has been widely accused of backing the rebels with weapons, cash, training, and fighters, prompting the deepest divide between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War.
Brendan Hoffman, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Marielle Van Uitert, Netherlands, Shortlist, Professional, Contemporary Issues. A look behind El Salvador's new Iron Fist approach: After a one-year dip in the murder rate following a truce negotiated between criminal gangs and the government of Mauricio Funes in 2012, the killings have spiked again this year, with a projected murder rate for 91 per 100 thousand for 2015. This means nearly 6,000 people will be killed this year. Much of El Salvador's violence is attributed to gang members. The prisoners we met are members of the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS13, a transnational criminal gang which originated on the streets of Los Angeles along with its main rival, the Barrio 18 gang.
Marielle Van Uitert, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Kevin Frayer, Canada, Shortlist, Professional, Contemporary Issues. China's Coal Dependence A Challenge For Climate: A history of heavy dependence on burning coal for energy has made China the source of nearly a third of the world's total carbon dioxide emissions, the toxic pollutants widely cited by scientists and environmentalists as the primary cause of global warming. China's government has publicly set 2030 as a deadline to reach the country's emissions peak, and data suggest the country's coal consumption is already in decline.
Kevin Frayer, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards/Getty Images
Kevin Frayer, Canada, Shortlist, Professional, People. Nomadic Life Threatened on the Tibetan Plateau: A young Tibetan Buddhist novice monk stands with his yak herd at the family's nomadic summer grazing area on the Tibetan Plateau in Yushu County, Qinghai, China. Tibetan nomads face many challenges to their traditional way of life including political pressures, forced resettlement by China's government, climate change and rapid modernisation.
Kevin Frayer, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards/Getty Images
Liz Hingley, UK, Shortlist, Professional, People. Smethwick is one of England's most ethnically diverse towns. As well as being a reception area for newly arrived immigrants. It is a longstanding neighbourhood of Irish, Sikh, Muslim, Afro-Caribbean and White British communities. This series goes behind the doors, within just four streets, of densely terraced housing, which were built for the workers of the nineteenth century industrial era.
Liz Hingley, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Filippo Venturi, Italy, Shortlist, Professional, People. Made in Korea: Bodybuilders at Haeundae Beach in Busan. Koreans are mad about health and physical appearance. Here appearance matters most; both in terms of beauty and conformity to norms.
Filippo Venturi, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Stephanie Sinclair, US, Shortlist, Professional, Daily Life. Running Away with the Circus. There are more than 300 people that with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus blue unit, representing 25 different countries and speaking everything from Russian to Arabic to Guarani. A few travel in cars and trailers, but a majority, 270, live on the trains. They spend 44 weeks of the year traveling an average of 20,000 miles from coast to coast on a train that is 61 cars – a full mile – long.
Stephanie Sinclair, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards/National Geographic Creative
Espen Rasmussen, Norway, Shortlist, Professional, Daily Life. Chelse (21) together with her boyfriend Eric and Alvin in her mother's trailer close to Beckley, West Virginia. They smoke OxyContin painkillers before going out for a party on Halloween. With more than 500 people dying of overdoses every year, West Virginia is pill state number one in the US.
Espen Rasmussen, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards/ VG / Panos Pictures
Anton Unitsyn, Russia, Shortlist, Professional, Daily Life. Parkour jumpers on their daily training. On the background is one of the main sights in Solvychegodsk: Blagoveshchensky Cathedral. This church is among three that survived Soviet times. At the beginning of the 20th century there were 13 churches in Solvichegodsk.
Anton Unitsyn, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Peter Dench, UK, Shortlist, Professional, Daily Life. 15:08 A woman checks on the welfare of a British man slumped across a wall on Magaluf beach, Majorca.
Peter Dench, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Maroesjka Lavigne, Belgium, Shortlist, Professional Landscape. Land of Nothingness: A country named after a desert. One of the least densely populated places on earth. Defined by its rich variety of colours, yet in a forever changing, yet completely barren landscape. Namibia's landscape draws you in, through a vast brown plain of scorched earth, and steers you over the white surface of a salt pan to finally arrive in the gold tones of the sand dunes. Patience is required to discover the wide range of Namibia's subtle scenery. It literally takes you hours, driving though nothing, to at long last arrive at...more nothing. The sight of other people is rare and only the strategically located petrol stations are a reminder of the world beyond. This country is in another time zone, time seems to move slower but it feels more logical, somehow. Captivated by these washed out yet delicately coloured landscapes, you can drive for hours.
Maroesjka Lavigne, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
James Reeve, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Professional Landscape. Fractures: An abstract landscape study of frozen lake ice, shot in the barren lands of Canada's Northwest Territories.
James Reeve, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Lucy Nicholson, UK, Shortlist, Professional Environment. People play golf on a course in La Quinta, California on 13 April 2015. California's cities and towns would be required to cut their water usage by up to 35 percent or face steep fines under proposed new rules, the state's first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the state enters its fourth year of severe drought. Communities where residential customers use more than 165 gallons of water per person per day would have to cut back by 35 percent.
Lucy Nicholson, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards/Reuters
Alexander Semenov, Russia, Shortlist, Professional Environment. Real world aliens. This series represents exploration of the most extreme and remote cold-water seas, off the coasts of Russia. Modern diving and photo equipment give us a chance to reveal the beauty hidden in the dark.
Alexander Semenov, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Kevin Frayer, Canada, Shortlist, Professional Environment. Eagle Hunters of Western China: The Eagle Hunting festival, organised by the local hunting community, is part of an effort to promote and grow traditional hunting practices for new generations in the mountainous region of western China that borders Kazakhstan, Russia and Mongolia. The training and handling of the large birds of prey follows a strict set of ancient rules that Kazakh eagle hunters are preserving for future generations.
Kevin Frayer, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards/Getty Images
Mohammed Yousef, Kuwait, Shortlist, Professional Environment. The love story between the lion and the lioness in Masai Mara is fascinating. Anger in this case is translated as romance and care.
Mohammed Yousef, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Giancarlo Ceraudo, Italy, Shortlist, Professional, Candid. Way-Out Miami: Miami is an incredible city, multifaceted, a modern Babylon. From Ocean Drive to Downtown, the city enjoys great popularity due to the charm of its buildings, nightlife and trendy life. Turning to the neighbourhoods you can get lost in the streets, crowded places with friendly people who walk or run tirelessly. Miami is a city full of contrasts, where wealth and poverty are visible and where fun, fashion, but also immigration and cultures are mixed, generating the true identity of this city. Despite its modernity and brightness, the atmosphere is light. Here contemporary art develops and everything seems possible.
Giancarlo Ceraudo, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Alexandre Pruvost, France, Shortlist, Professional, Candid. In Paris, when the sun is back, the "bronzeur" goes along the Seine. Wearing clothes or almost naked, he looks for the perfect spot to enjoy the sun. Specifically, he is looking for a bench that will allow the best conditions. Usually he has brought a towel to avoid contact between him and the bench It is in the early afternoon that the "bronzeurs" settle. It is the perfect moment to get a perfect tan. They are very relaxed, and waiting for the sun to do its job.
Alexandre Pruvost, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Yvonne Brandwijk, Netherlands, Shortlist, Professional, Candid. Kinshasa, Paris of Africa 2025: The Democratic Republic of the Congo is known for its war but when it comes to fashion, its capital Kinshasa is the place for many people on the African continent. Here fashion is not the motor powering the rapidly growing economy, but rather an effect of this; the current economic and political circumstances are the flywheel that is allowing something that has always been in the DNA.
Yvonne Brandwijk, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Stephan Zirwes, Germany, Shortlist, Professional , Architecture. Pools: A study of water; one of the most precious resources for life on our planet. The artistic approach of photographer Stephan Zirwes is to show how the important resource is in contrast between being the consummate location for entertainment and the incredible waste of drinking water; not only for being used in private pools but also the trend to privatise what is a public asset and use it for commercial reasons.
Stephan Zirwes, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Patrick Willocq, France, Shortlist, Professional, Portraiture. For the Ekondas pygmies in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the most important moment in the life of a woman is the birth of her first child. The young mother is called Walé, and she carries both responsibilities and status: she returns to her parents, where she remains secluded for a period of two to five years, and must adhere to several strict taboos during this time. The ritual is highly competitive, as it's about having more prestige and power than other Walés, so she takes on a nickname to differentiate herself from rivals. Every day the young woman engages in an elaborate beautification ritual to draw attention to herself. She spreads a red preparation, a mixture of powder of wood with palm oil, over her own body. The sophisticated hairstyles, made of a mud like paste, a mixture of ashes from leaves and palm oil, are yet another way for Walés to flaunt their uniqueness.
Patrick Willocq, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Armand Tamboly, Egypt, Shortlist, Professional, Portraiture. Stereotypes: Portraits of men who have tough facial features in a feminine historical hairstyle. The goal is to raise awareness of social stereotypes and to illuminate how much social media determines the way we see another human being from a different background than ours.
Armand Tamboly, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Alejandro Beltran, Spain, Shortlist, Professional , Conceptual. Beached humans on unknown shores.
Alejandro Beltran, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Kristoffer Eliassen, Norway, Shortlist, Professional, Staged. The Selfie Project: "I want to explore how self portraiture for many people has become an obsession, and how presence in a self portrait situation is absent, or becomes a peculiar part of the selfie act. This can develop absurd situations, and my project is a play around such situations."
Kristoffer Eliassen, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Hiroshi Watanabe, Japan, Shortlist, Professional , Still Life. Foodscape: Adventurer takes in the superb view in a world made of meat.
Hiroshi Watanabe, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Jens Juul, Denmark, Shortlist, Professional Sport. Little Fighters: The atmosphere is good and there is loud music playing in the gym in Copenhagen where the elite girls train gymnastics 20 hours a week. As a rule of thumb you have to put in at least 10.000 hours of training to compete internationally. Doing gymnastics you primarily fight yourself. Your fears, doubts and pain. But the youngsters help and encourage each other. So it might be a lone battle. But they fight it side by side.
Jens Juul, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Nikolai Linares Larsen, Denmark, Shortlist, Professional Sport. Second Best: Portraits of the silver medal winners just after losing their final at the Zealand Boxing Championships held in Copenhagen in March.
Nikolai Linares Larsen, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Patrick Sinkel, Germany, Shortlist, Professional Sport. Fight for your dreams - The boxers of Bukom: If one thinks about countries being successful in boxing, just a few will have Ghana in mind. But Ghana produced a couple of world champions in boxing, the most famous one being Azumah Nelson. The weird fact about boxing in Ghana is all world champions are from Bukom, a small neighbourhood of Accra. Bukom is a poor suburb, most people work as fishermen. But boxing here has a long tradition; it is the second nature of the people as many say. Hundreds of years ago, the Ga-People, an ethnic group who lives mainly in Accra, developed their own way of fighting. Due to the British influence during colonisation, the Ga came in touch with boxing. Since then boxing has been the most famous sport in Bukom. Nowadays boxing is much more than a sport, it is a way to escape poverty and everyday problems. Many kids and juveniles dream of being a professional boxer in the US or Europe. They fight for their dreams, literally.
Patrick Sinkel, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards
Matthias Hangst, Germany, Shortlist, Professional Sport. Teams compete in the Women's Team Free Synchronised Swimming Preliminary on day four of the 16th FINA World Championships at the Kazan Arena on 28 July 2015 in Kazan, Russia.
Matthias Hangst, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards/Getty Images
Those on the Professional shortlist will now compete for a $25,000 prize and the L'Iris d'Or/ Photographer of the Year title. The recipient, along with the winners of the Professional categories, overall Youth and Student winners plus the Open Photographer of the Year, will all be announced at the Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony in London on 21 April. All winners will receive the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony.
The winning and shortlisted images will go on show at Somerset House, London from 22 April to 8 May and will be published in the 2016 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards book. To book your exhibition ticket, please visit