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PHOTOGRAPHY

2022 Sony World Photography Awards: Landscape and Architecture

"UN Renovation 1." Resident peacock on a bench in the park of the Palais des Nations, the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) being wrapped for renovation, part of an $800 million project. The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) – including the Palais des Nations, the organisation's principle European offices, dating from the 1930s – is under renovation. It’s part of a controversial $800 million project, with cost overruns, and brings into question whether the organisation itself is fit for purpose. This is a personal project, with a personal interest. As a member of the Press accredited to the United Nations in Geneva, I am directly affected by this work, and have had to move from the office that I rented within the Palais. © Mark Henley, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Now in its 15th year, the Sony World Photography Awards returns to celebrate contemporary photography and the ways the arts reflect the world around us. Here is a selection of the images from the winners of this year's national awards in the Landscape and Architecture categories.

“UN Renovation 2.” Empty office, with a large world map as decoration, prior to being stripped for renovation in the Palais des Nations, the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), part of an $800 million project. The map is divided on the wall through Greenwich. The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) – including the Palais des Nations, the organisation’s principle European offices, dating from the 1930s – is under renovation. It’s part of a controversial $800 million project, with cost overruns, and brings into question whether the organisation itself is fit for purpose. This is a personal project, with a personal interest. As a member of the Press accredited to the United Nations in Geneva, I am directly affected by this work, and have had to move from the office that I rented within the Palais. © Mark Henley, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Dorf 1.” The photo is a photo montage of a historic village house and local forests and plants taken in the Croatian agricultural region of Slavonia. The photo is part of a broader story about the mass exodus of people from the region. The photo montage was created in 2021 and its parts were shot in 2020 and 2021. ‘Dorf’ is the German word for village. In the 19th century, the Croatian region of Slavonia was inhabited by people from all nations of the Austro-Hungary empire. A fast economic development began with the exploitation of forest and land. Villages became an elementary demographic unit. German colonists made the largest cultural impact through language, crafts and architecture. Instead of building with mud, people started to build with baked bricks – this raised the quality of life. The irony of history is that today, due to the impact of the war in Croatia and subsequent industry decline, the population is leaving Slavonia for Germany, in search of a better life. With the extinction of the village, the historic houses that became part of its cultural identity are the first to decay. These photographs are a photo montage of houses and local nature. Exploitation of nature was the reason these houses came into being – now this very nature is destroying them. © Domagoj Burilović, Croatia, Finalist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Dorf 7.” © Domagoj Burilović, Croatia, Finalist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Bare Land.” An uninhabitable volcanic desert in the Icelandic Highlands. The climatic conditions here are so harsh that, for the majority of the year, life doesn’t thrive. Science and religions may all fall short in explaining the incredible miracle of life which, through millennials of evolution, has transformed barren land into a living planet. Mother Earth has been regarded by humans through the centuries as a fertility goddess; water is the most incredible terrestrial element, with all living beings depending on it to thrive. Water is the common denominator of the living world. There is an untamed world between sacred and magic, where the essence of life is safeguarded by silence, where the outer and the inner world coincide. This is what I am seeking to photograph. As philosopher Alan Watts said: “Each one of us, not only human beings but every leaf, every weed, exists in the way it does, only because everything else around it does.” And “If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.” © Lorenzo Poli, Italy, Finalist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“The Guardians.” Trees presiding over the glacial kingdom. They are the guardians of the water cycle. Trees help control the water cycle by regulating precipitation, evaporation and flows. © Lorenzo Poli, Italy, Finalist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
Nursultan 03.” Nursultan City. Kazakhstan renamed its capital Nur-Sultan in honour of its former president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who resigned in 2019 after holding power for three decades. Formerly known as Akmola (‘white tomb’) and then later Astana (‘the capital’), the city was first designated as the capital by Nazarbayev in 1997, replacing Almaty. Until then, it was only a remote corner of the former USSR, a region known for its icy climate and for hosting one of Stalin’s notorious Gulags. Conceived by Nazarbayev, Nur-Sultan was designed to befit a country rich in minerals and oil. He recruited the talents of renowned architects such as Sir Norman Foster and over time constructed a city of concrete and glass, full of impressive futuristic buildings, huge shopping centres and enviable sports halls. What was once a forgotten and inhospitable territory is today a city of 800,000 inhabitants, as incredible and eccentric as any of its wealthier neighbours. © Javier Arcenillas, Spain, Finalist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Nursultan 04.” Kazakhstan renamed its capital Astana after its former president. The city is now called Nursultan in honor of Nursultan Nazarbayev who resigned earlier this year after holding power for three decades. The renaming of the capital makes perfect sense for Kazakhs, Astana was designated the capital by Nazarbayev in 1997 instead of Almaty. Until then, it was only a remote republic of the USSR. (A land known for hosting one of Stalin’s Gulag prisons where to lock up and forget all kinds of wayward citizens or renegades of communism and the worst due to its icy climate. Hence the name of Akmola which means “white tomb”) . Nazarbayev renamed it in 1998 as Astana which means “the capital”. The name has been short-lived, the extreme city considered the second coldest capital in the world with minus 40 degrees in winter after Ulan Bator (Mongolia), is the brainchild of the 78-year-old Kazakh president elected five times. As Kazakhstan is rich in mineral and oil resources, it needed a decent capital according to its president. For this he recruited renowned architects such as Norman Foster. The Kazakh capital (800,000 inhabitants) has become a city of impressive buildings, concrete, glass and luxury that flow in strange ways in a flat land like Central Asia. Where there was a forgotten and inhospitable territory has grown today is one of the strangest and most incredible cities. With its future towers and huge shopping centers or sports halls worthy of any fan. Today the capital is Nursultán, a capital center as eccentric as any of its wealthier neighbors. © Javier Arcenillas, Spain, Finalist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Vertical of the House.” In 2021, Lithuania once again experienced a winter of heavy snowfalls – a result of the climate crisis and global warming. Depicted in these photographs are sustainable energy sources such as dams, wind turbines and solar batteries – the very things we need in order to slow down the occurrences of climate disasters. Two of the three main elements of Solar Graphics – seasonality and sustainable energy – organically and purposefully complement each other. Winter’s monochromatic palette helps reveal the graphic elements found in the white snow. As the land is disrupted by dark lines new images appear – a mouth full of dazzling white teeth or a robot with a surprised look on its face. The high vantage point reduces the landscape to abstraction allowing the viewer to find new meanings and interpretations in the photograph. © Andrius Repšys, Lithuania, Finalist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Roboface.” © Andrius Repšys, Lithuania, Finalist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“blueprint #002.” In 1842, Sir John Herschel discovered the cyanotype. At a time when printing techniques were still developing, the cyanotype was the most efficient and stable printing method. Traditionally, the cyanotype was used in blueprints and to produce photographic prints. In this work, I imitate the process of creating a cyanotype by using digital post-production techniques to retrace the outlines of the buildings. The result is a multi-layered image resembling an architectural blueprint. © Yun Chi Chen, Taiwan, Finalist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“blueprint #003.” © Yun Chi Chen, Taiwan, Finalist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Tree 3.” Beech Tree, Autumn. This project was born of the Covid-19 lockdowns, and the impact upon my work as a portrait photographer. Inspired by my home county of Wiltshire, where the distinctive landscape features many knolls with lone trees raised above the horizon line. Unable to photograph people, I turned to my love of trees. I wondered if it was possible to take a unique portrait of these quiet giants. I chose to photograph against dusk skies and lit the trees with drones to create an otherworldly impression. As lockdowns took hold, so did this project. I started looking into every field and up every hill for aesthetically interesting treescapes. While many people discovered the joys of walking in nature during the lockdowns, once the sun had set it was just me, the trees and the darkness, which was an experience that at first terrified me but with time I began to relish. © Gareth Iwan Jones, United Kingdom, Finalist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Tree 5.” Elm Tree, Autumn. © Gareth Iwan Jones, United Kingdom, Finalist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Working Platform.” Skyscrapers are everywhere in Hong Kong. Sometimes you can see working platforms ascending and descending relentlessly along building facades, with cleaning workers performing their duty on those platforms. Geometric Hong Kong is a black-and-white street photography series that depicts my creative vision of my hometown. It comes with a fine art aesthetic and the compositional approach of isolating urban subjects, geometric elements and forms from the chaotic urban environment of Hong Kong. This series portrays the way of life for different urban characters in the context of their surrounding geometric environment – all captured from mundane everyday scenes, with fleeting moments seized from near and far. The minimalist approach seemingly contrasts with the maximalism of the dense Hong Kong cityscape, famously known as a concrete jungle. These subjects look trapped and lost inside an artificial geometric labyrinth without realising it. Perhaps this series is also a metaphorical view of urbanity and the hectic contemporary way of life in a metropolis like Hong Kong. © Jason Au, Hong Kong, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Trigonometry.” I came up with an idea to capture a subject within the triangle architectural element of this building. A person immersed in his headphones and smartphone walked past the building, and I immediately took this shot. © Jason Au, Hong Kong, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Planet X Blues.” In a distant galaxy far away, there could be a giant planet that orbits a blue sun. If we were to thrive there, perhaps our eyes would be tuned in to see the violet end of the visible spectrum. There are infinite possibilities in life; it takes expansive imagination and critical thinking to explore the many ways in which we, as humans, transform the environments that we inhabit. Where will technology take us in the future? Will the waking world and the dream world ever converge in such a way that science fiction becomes real? Do you think that the first space colony created by mankind will happen during your lifetime? Technology has advanced so quickly over the past few years. In the overall scheme of things, we’re just a flash in the pan – and yet we’ve done so much to change our planet. Humankind is leaving a lasting impact on Earth, turning it into the paradise that we want it to be or perhaps the paradise that we’ve lost. 2021+ II: Utopia Broadcasting encapsulates everything about human construction, sheer curiosity, consumerism, as well as the wonders and dangers associated with science. The overall aim of this project is to transport the viewer’s imagination to another world that exists outside of time – and in doing so, to invoke conversation around themes of futurism amidst the darker side of human ideals. All of these images were taken in 2021 in Iceland, during the pandemic. Serena Dzenis is a fine art landscape, architecture and nature photographer from Australia who is based in Iceland. © Serena Dzenis, Australia, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards.
“Waterworld.” As a kid, I spent a lot of time pondering the illustrations of Gary Crew’s The Watertower. I found the storyline perturbing and the images of this alien structure, towering over a small rural town, to be quite sinister. I was fascinated by the high modality of the artwork, with depictions of satellites making a reference to the idea that technology might someday corrupt our lives. I still find the narrative of this mysterious masterpiece to be unsettling. Whenever I see a water tower, the images come flooding back and my curiosity is piqued. I find my imagination running wild as I think about all of the incredible technological advancements that we’ve made in such a short space of time, as well as the irreversible destruction caused by the human race to this planet. Do you think that the first space colony created by mankind will happen during your lifetime? Technology has advanced so quickly over the past few years. In the overall scheme of things, we’re just a flash in the pan – and yet we’ve done so much to change our planet. Humankind is leaving a lasting impact on Earth, turning it into the paradise that we want it to be or perhaps the paradise that we’ve lost. 2021+ II: Utopia Broadcasting encapsulates everything about human construction, sheer curiosity, consumerism, as well as the wonders and dangers associated with science. The overall aim of this project is to transport the viewer’s imagination to another world that exists outside of time – and in doing so, to invoke conversation around themes of futurism amidst the darker side of human ideals. All of these images were taken in 2021 in Iceland, during the pandemic. © Serena Dzenis, Australia, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Barcelona, Spain.” A pearl of Mediterranean architecture. A photo arrangement of 146 individual images. Every city has its own unique history and personality. My city portraits combine the diverse impressions, discoveries and events of a place into one picture. The compositions are inspired by vedute of the 17th and 18th centuries, but in a contemporary reality that includes objects of street art, public art, advertising signs and shopping areas as symbols of everyday urban life. Using digital collage techniques to merge a large number of my individual images, cityscapes turn into something between documentation and staging. All single photos were taken in Spain, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Morocco and Germany. © Rene Cassio Scholz, Germany, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Singapore.” A photo collage of Gardens by the Bay and cityscape. © Rene Cassio Scholz, Germany, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“The Bright G 1.” Taken in Dubai in 2019, the image of this unique building shows how the light dances on it, looking like the letter G between the highlights and shadows. The photos show the beauty of different buildings in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, in black and white. The shadows and lights harmoniously blend over the buildings to show the world their architectural beauty. © Khalid Najib, Palestine, State of, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Curves.” Taken in Baku in 2018 for the museum designed by Zaha Hadid, this photo shows the contrast and how the lights are dancing on the curves of the building, highlighting its uniqueness. © Khalid Najib, Palestine, State of, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture & Design, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Hidden dimension VII.” Hidden Dimension is a photo series captured at an altitude of about 300-400 metres. A bird’s eye view that inspires me every time I take off and climb into the Latvian airspace with the pilot of an ultralight plane. The lines and shapes, natural and human-made structures, tell me something in a graphical language. I’m trying to learn this language and discover these hidden stories. My creative passion is aerial photography. © Mihails Ignats, Latvia, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Red Beds 1.” Developed during the Jurassic and Tertiary period, this is a red rock system in the Himalayan orogeny. With the uplift of the Earth’s crust, the hillside retreated – mainly through the collapse process. The remaining red sandstone has formed in isolation after long-term weathering, exfoliation and water erosion, resulting in strange rocks and stones. © Jonas Daley, China, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Red Beds 3.” © Jonas Daley, China, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Tehran Province – Damavand City – 2021.” Damavand Mountain is located in northern Iran, in the Mazandaran province.It is known as the highest mountain in Iran and the highest volcano in Asia and the Middle East. In the past, the slopes of this mountain were covered with unique anemones, known as Lar and Rineh. In recent years, global warming, low snowfall and air pollution have affected the greenery of this region and led to drought. Life has meaning in human beliefs with its symbols. Mountains, forests, plains, free and beautiful creatures, and clear blue skies are all creations that will come to mind when we hear the word ‘life’. Where it is free from the fence of man, and there is no trace of human presence in it, it is ‘nature’. Where humans stepped in without understanding and respecting the spirit of nature, they endangered the existence of other beings. And then from this soil, nothing but a lifeless body will remain. The mountains will forget the flight of the eagles, and the noble howls of the horses will not be heard in the plains; and even the lion, that king of the forest, will be only a name in the books. These elements belong to the planet and are inseparable from it, without them what is left is a cold, lost and distorted image that no longer resembles anything. Maybe it’s time to weigh what we have taken from nature and what we have given it and measure what we have done with the universe. © Majid Hojjati, Iran, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari Province – Kurd City – 2021.” A painting of lush nature, with the clean climate of Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari province’s past, is located in the dry desert of this province. The sign reads: ‘I must remember not to do anything that is against the law of the Earth’. © Majid Hojjati, Iran, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Labyrinth of Speleothems.” A diver navigating his underwater scooter through a chamber full of stalactites and stalagmites, showing the raw nature and amazing textures of the flooded caves in Mexico. This series was shot in the underwater cave system of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico – the biggest underwater river system in the world, with amazingly decorated tunnels and chambers that can compete with the best gothic churches in the world. These decorations took millennia to form in the dry caves and then got preserved when the caves flooded after the last ice age. A majestic world that is under our feet and is barely known due to the challenge of reaching and photographing it, with no natural light beyond the entry points (cenotes). These are locations that may be hours away from the closest exit to safety, through a labyrinth of underwater tunnels, but that can offer (to the daring photographer) some unique experiences to shoot. © Martin Broen, United States of America, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Measuring Time.” A split-level shot of a massive 12-metre stalactite that formed into the dry cavern millions of years ago, and stopped growing 8000 years ago when the cave flooded. I wanted to capture the strong contrast between dry and wet, and light and darkness. © Martin Broen, United States of America, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Empty messages 01.” Once message holders of fast-moving consumer goods, now yelling wounds in the landscape and mementos filled with emptiness. © Milan Radisics, Hungary, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Empty messages 05.” © Milan Radisics, Hungary, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Disturbed Landscape 05.” Minerals, water and water currents are the ingredients with which nature creates these ephemeral landscapes. With each rainy season the canvas is transformed. This canvas is actually a toxic waste pond of a copper mine, located in the province of Huelva, Spain, which has been captured in aerial shots. With a maximum surface area of 125 hectares and a capacity of 22 cubic hectometres, the equivalent of 8,800 Olympic swimming pools, the Gossan-Cobre reservoir is today the largest toxic sludge pond in Europe. Photographed the surroundings of Minas de Rio Tinto in the province of Huelva, Spain, throughout 2021. It is a landscape altered by man’s hand in which pine forests coexist with the remains of minerals extracted from the earth and dumped copper extraction. With the passage of time, these minerals sediment and form a diversity of textures. In some situations they resemble trees, and in these cases the terrain seems to pay homage to the trees that existed before the transformation. © Manuel Enrique González Carmona, Spain, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
“Disturbed Landscape 09.” © Manuel Enrique González Carmona, Spain, Shortlist, Professional, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
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