The Sony World Photography Awards, an annual competition hosted by the World Photography Organisation, just announced its shortlist of winners. This year's contest attracted 173,444 entries from 171 countries. The organizers have been kind enough to share some of their shortlisted images with us, gathered below. Overall winners are scheduled to be announced on April 23. All captions below come from the photographers.
Reinefjorden. Panorama of Reine (Lofoten) made from three frames.
First Sight 2. Blind girls Sonia, 12, and Anita Singh, 5, were born into poverty with congenital cataract blindness. They must accompany their parents everywhere as they cannot be left alone without risk. The surgery to cure this is simple and takes 15 minutes but because of the level of poverty in this family, they have been unable to pursue the necessary operation. India has more than 12 million blind people, the majority of who suffer from cataract blindness. Poverty is the main reason these millions of people are trapped in this condition. Donor funding has recently enabled both sisters to finally go for this operation. This image is part of an essay made as an attempt to tell the story of their lives before surgery, during the operation to regain their sight and after, as they begin to discover light.
Black days of Ukraine, 1. Part of a series of photos taken in June and July near the city of Luhansk, Ukraine. In 2014, the conflict between rebels and the government army in Ukraine led the country to the full-scale hostilities. The local residents of the strategically located city of Luhansk were left without water and electricity for three months over the summer, while constant gunfire could be heard above their heads.
Blue Room. Omu Fereneh stands over her husband Ibrahim after he fell, knocking him unconscious in an Ebola holding center set up in a school classroom on August 15, 2014 in the West Point township of Monrovia, Liberia. He died the same day. The Liberian capital was quickly overwhelmed by the epidemic in late summer, as the Ebola virus moved from a rural to an urban environment, making Monrovia the Ebola epicenter in West Africa. Only a decade after a long civil war, Liberia's fragile health system was unable to cope, international agencies were slow to react, and fear gripped the nation.
Restricted Areas, 1. Part of a project about technological progress and the human striving for Utopia. I travel in search of places which used to have great importance for the technical progress—and which are now deserted. Those places lost their significance together with the utopian ideology which is now obsolete. Secret cities that cannot be found on maps, forgotten scientific triumphs, abandoned buildings of almost inhuman complexity. The perfect technocratic future that never came.
Blue Fields, 1. One of a series of images shot from a light aircraft flying at between 4,000 and 5,000 feet above the Useless Loop solar salt operation situated in Shark Bay, the westernmost point of mainland Australia. The height was crucial in order to flatten perspective by using long focal lengths. Time of day and cloud cover were also critical, the abstract effect being heightened by complete lack of signifying shadow.
When I Am Laid In Earth, 1. Mapping with a pyrograph, the melting away of the Lewis Glacier on Mt. Kenya. One of a series of fire lines I have drawn indicate where the front of the rapidly disappearing Lewis Glacier was at various times in the recent past. In the distance, a harvest moon lights the poor, doomed glacier remnant; the gap between the fire and the ice represents the relentless melting.
Northern Lights 2. One of a series of images captured above the arctic circle in Norway. The wintertime in the northern part of Norway is extraordinary when speaking about light. Total darkness in December. In this series I have tried to combine sports and light.
One hundred and forty centimetres, 1. One in 700 babies are born with Down syndrome. Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality in newborns. Down syndrome is not a disease—it is not curable. People with Down syndrome have often physical and mental impairments that make them different from others. Since 2012 it has been possible to determine by means of non-invasive tests before birth whether a child will have Down syndrome, and determine to, if necessary, initiate an abortion. This is one shot in a series that raises questions about our relationship with the stigma of "living with impairment," and the technical possibilities to determine this even before birth.