Snow, Bears, and Waves Are Finalists in Youth Photo Awards

Young photographers capture moments in nature and family connections.

Snowy lake with a figure walking in the distance

Emery Sanderson / Sony World Photography Awards 2022

There’s a frosty scene as a snowshoer treks across a field of deep snow. Massive waves roil around a surfer in Australia. A brown bear snatches a salmon out of a stream.

These are some of the newly announced shortlisted images in the student and youth competitions of the Sony World Photography Awards 2022 from the World Photography Organisation.

Above is the finalist in the youth competition, landscape category. Called “Lake Helen McKenzie on the 6th of January, 2021,” photographer Emery Sanderson of Canada took the image during a snowshoeing trek in Strathcona Park, the largest park on Vancouver Island.

The youth competition categories include wildlife and nature, culture and travel, and landscape. For the student competition, students were asked to submit a series of images interpreting the idea of “connections” and how people have had to rethink how they connect to one another over the past two years.

Winners of the student, youth, open and professional competition will be announced in April and will go on display as part of the Sony World Photography Awards 2022 exhibition at Somerset House, London.

Here's a look at some of the photos on the shortlists for both competitions and some thoughts from the photographers about their work.

“Surfers Paradise”

surfer in waves

Cameron Borg / Sony World Photography Awards 2022

Youth Competition: Culture and Travel

Australian photographer Cameron Borg captured this image, describing it as, “the classic Australian weekend tradition of surfing these huge waves.”


Dutch family in Dunes

Ezra Bohm / Sony World Photography Awards 2022

Student Competition: Connections

This image from Dutch photographer Ezra Bohm is from a series called “The Identity of Holland.”

“In this series I photograph the last people wearing the traditional costumes of the Holland. This work is intended to celebrate and cherish the old culture of the Netherlands. These groups have something in common that we often miss in modern society: solidarity, geniality and collective pride. Modern citizens often are disconnected to their own roots, which I think is very important to form your identity with. I romanticize a world that I want to be a part of. The people in the picture are my superheroes, they have to inspire people to look back at our origins and learn from the past.”

“Death Spiral”

bear catching salmon

Rayhan Mundra / Sony World Photography Awards 2022

Youth Competition: Wildlife and Nature

Rayhan Mundra of the U.S. described her image: “A brown bear catching spawning salmon out of a stream in Katmai National Park in Alaska.”

“Memories of Family”

pink painting that symbolizes family

Xu Han / Sony World Photography Awards 2022

Student Competition: Connections

Xu Han of China created this series, thinking about family.

“When I entered college, I began to think about my relationship with my family. This group of works metaphors my feelings for my father and mother, which are intimate but separated. Finally, I chose to use paint to express my melancholy and hesitation. This group of works was shot in June 2021 and completed in Nanjing Academy of art.”


plants on the sidewalk

Chris Rosas Vargas / Sony World Photography Awards 2022

Student Competition: Connections

This image is from the series called “Cariño” from Chris Rosas Vargas from the U.S.

“For the past couple of months I have developed a series of sentimental portraits of my communities in both the Bronx and Harlem. This project explores the sentimental and tender relationship between myself and the urban landscape. Photographs included environmental portraits of found objects. As opposed to following the traditional photojournalistic style, I explore a more nuanced and nostalgic approach to making photographs that deeply resonate with notions of home. Through the use of color and composition I construct a warm and familiar environment which at times did not exist and would cast me out as a queer person of color.”


woman standing in forest

Sergey Pronin / Sony World Photography Awards 2022

Student Competition: Connections

Sergey Pronin of the Russian Federation took this image at a summer camp of a woman who provided first aid to students.

“Theologians” is a series shot in the summer camp of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox University’s Theological faculty in July 2021. Its participants are mainly the undergraduate and professors. It’s situated near St. John the Theologian’s monastery in Ryazan region. The camp’s participants perform various duties, celebrate the worship, study at the summer school and listen to the lectures. Apparently, it’s an artistic license to call all the camp’s participants—“the theologians.” In the Orthodox tradition there has only been three people who were awarded the title of “the Theologian”: the Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian, Gregory the Theologian and Symeon the New Theologian, let alone the ordinary students. In this project—it’s the spirit of the youth’s romance that matters—the desire to delve into the ancient texts and the audacity to speak on the most important and mysterious—on God and the divine world-order.