Lovely Moments and Pandemic Images Win Sony Photo Awards

Thoughtful portraits and haunting memories are 2021 highlights.

Electric Storm on Lavender
"Electric Storm on Lavender".

Juan López Ruiz / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

There's a lovely moment as women walk on a beach and the exciting instant when lightning strikes a beautiful landscape. There are thoughtful portraits and haunting images of the pandemic.

The winners of the Open competition of the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards recognize the best single images of 2020 in 10 individual categories.

Winners include Juan López Ruiz of Spain who won in the Landscape category with the image above. He captured the moment lightening strikes a field of flowering lavender with a lone tree standing on the horizon. "Electric Storm on Lavender" was taken in Brihuega, Guadalajara, Spain.

More than 100 photographers were also shortlisted in the 2021 competition in addition to the 10 winners.

The Open winner will be announced on April 15.

Here's a look at the remainder of the Open winners with notes on what each photographer said about their winning image.

Architecture: "The Blue Window"

The Blue Window

Klaus Lenzen / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"The stairs at the Hyatt hotel in Düsseldorf, Germany." — Klaus Lenzen, Germany

Creative: "African Victorian"

"African Victorian"

Tamary Kudita / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"With this image, I wanted to portray a hybrid African-Victorian: my way of probing the stereotypical contextualisation of the black female body. I provide an alternative version of reality, where dualities fuse to create a new visual language. Taking a Victorian dress and merging it with traditional shona cooking utensils was my way of showing a multifaceted identity." — Tamary Kudita, Zimbabwe

Lifestyle: "Dias de Playa"

Dias de playa

Mariano Belmar / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"Summer, Mediterranean Sea, Spain, Alicante, beach and morning walk: a way of life." — Mariano Belmar, Spain

Motion: "Girl Power"

Girl Power

Marijo Maduna / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"A young girl shows off her skills, diving from a cliff on the island of Lokrum in Croatia." — Marijo Maduna, Croatia

Object: "Memento"


Kata Zih / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"Autumn of 2020… Pandemic, lockdown, solitude, memories…" — Kata Zih, Hungary

Travel: "Drying Fish"

Drying Fish

Khanh Phan, Vietnam / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"A woman dries trays of fish at Long Hai fish market in the Vung Tau province of Vietnam. Thousands of trays of scad are dried on rooftops and in yards by hundreds of workers. I came to Long Hai on a photo trip and was overwhelmed by the scale of the fishing village." — Khanh Phan, Vietnam

Portraiture: "Son"


Lyudmila Sabanina / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"Another side of childhood: contemplation and calm." — Lyudmila Sabanina, Russian Federation

Street Photography: "Disinfection"


F. Dilek Uyar / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"During the coronavirus pandemic, the Health Affairs unit of Ankara Municipality sprays all public transportation, day and night." — F. Dilek Uyar, Turkey

Natural World and Wildlife: "Little Kiss"

Little Kiss?

Cristo Pihlamäe / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"Little kiss?" — Cristo Pihlamäe, Estonia

Beyond the winners, these are some of the shortlist entries in various categories.

"Breath" — Creative Shortlist


Joosep Kivimäe / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"This image was taken during lockdown in Estonia, when I took part in a project called ‘Isolation Dialogues’. In it, two photographers/artists would ‘speak’ to each other only through images they created. Words were not allowed. My image symbolises a change in my mindset, a breath of fresh air, and letting go. There has been no manipulation of the image, barring some colour grading and minor removal of plastic rubbish using the healing brush tool." — Joosep Kivimäe, Estonia

"Ciara #5" — Motion Shortlist

Ciara storm

Daniel Portch / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"Storm Ciara at Newhaven, East Sussex." — Daniel Portch, United Kingdom

"Leopard Foals" — Natural World and Wildlife Shortlist

Leopard Foals

Inger Rønnenfelt / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"I photographed these leopard fillies when I visited a leopard horse breeder who lives outside Copenhagen. She has 24 of these horses and I was in heaven. It’s a very old breed that can even be seen in cave paintings in France." — Inger Rønnenfelt, Denmark

"A Quiet Autumn Day" — Travel Shortlist

A Quiet Autumn Day

Rune Mattsson / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"On a trip along the coastal highway in northern Norway, I found this old boathouse in Gildeskål. It was a beautiful autumn day, with great light and reflections." — Rune Mattsson, Norway

"Ezo Red Fox" — Natural World & Wildlife Shortlist

Ezo red fox

Yuta Doto / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"Taken in Biei, Hokkaido, Japan, I focused on the point at which the fox was likely to appear in the dusk." — Yuta Doto, Japan

"Frío Cálido" — Travel Shortlist

Frio Calido

Alexis Guevara / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

"An ecosystem of large hills with pine trees surrounds the Laguna Larga in Los Azufres, Mexico. At sunrise, the water gives off steam, which, because of the minerals found in the area, generates a thick mist." — Alexis Guevara, Mexico