Blue Room: Omu Fahnbulleh stands over her husband Ibrahim after he fell and died in a classroom used for Ebola patients. © John Moore / Getty Images, US, Winner, Current Affairs, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Last week (23/04/2015) the Sony World Photography Organisation announced the winners of the world’s largest photography awards, with American photographer John Moore winning Current Affairs Photographer of the Year for his project Ebola Crisis Overwhelms Liberian Capital and then taking home the L’Iris d’Or/ Photographer of the Year and $25,000 (USD) prize as well as the latest Sony digital imaging equipment.
Moore is a Senior Staff Photographer and Special Correspondent for Getty Images, and his winning photographs have been universally credited for the early exposure of the scale of the Ebola epidemic in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. Based in New York, Moore has photographed in more than 70 countries, and is a past recipient of the Robert Capa Gold Medal, been named Photographer of the Year by both Pictures of the Year International and the National Press Photographers Association and has been recognised four times by World Press Photo.
In a collective statement, judges Xingxin Guo, Xinhua News Agency Image Centre, China; Jocelyn Bain Hogg, photographer, UK; and Oliver Schmitt, Spiegel Online, Germany, said of the work: “John Moore’s photographs of this crisis show in full the brutality of people’s daily lives torn apart by this invisible enemy. However, it is his spirit in the face of such horror that garners praise. His images are intimate and respectful, moving us with their bravery and journalistic integrity. It is a fine and difficult line between images that exploit such a situation, and those that convey the same with heart, compassion and understanding, which this photographer has achieved with unerring skill. Combine this with an eye for powerful composition and cogent visual narrative, and good documentary photography becomes great.”
Sister’s Grief: A woman crawls towards the body of her sister as Ebola burial team members take her away. © John Moore / Getty Images, US, Winner, Current Affairs, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Suspect: A Doctors Without Borders (MSF), health worker in protective clothing carries a child suspected of having Ebola at the MSF treatment center on October 5, 2014 in Paynesville, Liberia. The girl and her mother, both showing symptoms of the virus, survived and were released about a week later. © John Moore / Getty Images, US, Winner, Current Affairs, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Bedroom: A burial team from the Liberian Red Cross sprays disinfectant over the body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus on August 14, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. Teams retrieved dozens of bodies from all over the capital of Monrovia, where the Ebola virus spread quickly last summer. © John Moore / Getty Images, US, Winner, Current Affairs, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Ebola Crisis Overwhelms Liberian Capital: In the summer of 2014 Monrovia, Liberia became the epicenter of the West African Ebola epidemic, the worst in history. Although previous rural outbreaks were more easily contained, once the virus began spreading in Monrovia’s dense urban environment, the results were described by Medecins Sans Frontieres as “catastrophic”. With a tradition of burial rites that include the washing of the dead bodies of loved ones, Liberians became infected at alarming rates. Only a decade after a long civil war, Liberia’s fragile health system was unable to cope, international agencies were slow to react, and the country struggled. President Sirleaf declared a state of emergency, and a military quarantine of the nation’s largest township of West Point, proved futile. Slowly healthcare workers, both Liberian and foreign, made progress in slowing the spread of the disease, but by year’s end the outcome of the regional epidemic was far from certain.
While John Moore’s moving photographs certainly stand out, we have made our own complimentary selection of the best of The Sony World Photography Awards 2015 from the thirteen professional categories including 2nd and 3rd placements. Those categories included Architecture, Arts & Culture, Campaign, Conceptual, Contemporary Issues, Current Affairs, Landscape, Lifestyle, People, Portraiture, Sport and Still Life. We’ll begin with an image by Scott Typaldos, whose work from his Butterfly Chapter series was included in SMBHmag ISSUE16 Accident and Emergency.
Scott Typaldos, Contemporary Issues Photographer of the Year
Butterflies Chapter 3: Documentary project on mental illness. © Scott Typaldos / Prospekt, Switzerland,Winner, Contemporary Issues, Professional, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Giovanni Troilo, People Photographer of the Year
La Ville Noire – The Dark Heart Of Europe: Philippe passes most of his time in his beautiful house in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in Charleroi. © Giovanni Troilo, Italy, Winner, People, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Ruben Salgado Escudero, Portraiture Photographer of the Year
Solar Portraits In Myanmar: Construction workers dig a household latrine in Pa Dan Kho Village, Kayah State. © Ruben Salgado Escudero, Spain, Winner, Portraiture, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Daesung Lee, Conceptual, 2nd place
Futuristic Archaeology: Still 35% of Mongolians are living a nomadic life and depend on their land for survival. This is increasingly difficult due to serious changes: 25% of the Mongolianland has turned into desert in the past 30 years. Potentially 75 % of Mongolian territory is at risk of desertification. These environmental changes directly threaten the Mongolian nomadic way of life, which has been passed from generation to generation. This project attempts at recreating the museum diorama with actual people and their livestock in a real place where decertifying is taking place in Mongolia. It is based on an imagined image that these people try to go into museum diorama for survival in the future. This is accomplished with printed images on a billboard placed in conjunction with the actual landscape horizon. I hope to accomplish a sense that the lives of these nomadic people occur between this reality and a virtual space of a museum. Mongolian traditional nomadic lifestyle might only exist in a museum in the future. © Daesung Lee, Republic of Korea, 2nd place, Conceptual, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Simon Norfolk, Landscape Photographer of the Year
When I Am Laid In Earth: Mapping with a pyrograph, the melting away of the Lewis Glacier on Mt. Kenya. 1963 The flame line shows the Lewis Glacier’s location in 1963. © Simon Norfolk/INSTITUTE, United Kingdom, Winner, Landscape, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Valery Melnikov, Current Affairs, 2nd place
Black Days Of Ukraine: Civilians escape from a fire at a house destroyed by air attack in the Luhanskaya village. © Valery Melnikov / ROSSIYA SEGODNYA, Russia, 2nd place, Current Affairs, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Rahul Talukder, Conceptual Photographer of the Year
Faded History Of The Lost. © Rahul Talukder, Bangladesh, Winner, Conceptual, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Donald Weber, Still Life Photographer of the Year
Molotov Cocktails: Molotov Cocktails have been the weapon of choice for the EuroMaidan protestors in Kiev. Using fire to their advantage, the protestors were able to defend their barricades, extend their lines and fortify their positions. In order to set fire to tanks, armoured vehicles, buses, and tires in opposition to local cops, Kievís protestors used thousand and thousands of Molotov Cocktails, inspiring and mobilizing people throughout the city to collect as many bottles as possible. © Donald Weber / VII Photo Agency, Canada, Winner, Still Life, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Riccardo Bononi, Sport Photographer of the Year
Las Valkyrias de Bolivia: When I was working in the San Pedro prison in La Paz I met a woman living inside the jail and leaving only during the weekend for a fight. That made me curious to follow this woman in her world of the Bolivian female lucha libre. © Riccardo Bononi / IRFOSS, Italy, Winner, Sport, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards
Elliott Erwitt honoured with Outstanding Contribution to Photography award
USA Arlington, Virginia Nov 25, 1963. Jacqueline Kennedy at JFK funeral. © Elliott Erwitt, Magnum Photos
All the winning and shortlisted images will be exhibited at Somerset House, London from 24 April – 10 May along with a dedicated curation to Outstanding Contribution to Photography recipient, Elliott Erwitt.
More information about the award and exhibition can be found here.