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Awe-Inspiring Photos: Sony World Photography Awards 2022 Reveals National Winners From 200 Countries

BY Michael Wing TIMEApril 8, 2022 PRINT

Heaps of digital pictures, numbering in the hundreds of thousands, were uploaded for the purview of the judges earlier this year to compete in Sony’s World Photography Awards 2022, now in its 15th year.

Cameras in 211 different nations or territories across the globe trained their lenses on sights—breathtaking, melancholic, weird, or wonderful—to portray a year when life was put on hold for many of its citizens; a year when trials, societal- and health-related, loomed; where nature and wildlife waxed, while human industry and prosperity waned in the wake of a pandemic. In many ways, it was terrifying and awful.

Yet hiding amidst the bleakness, there was beauty to be discovered.

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“El Vigia” by Gonzalo Javier Santile, Argentina; “A strong, hot wind known as Los Colorados was blowing when I took this photograph in Cafayete, Argentina, so I buried my tripod the best I could, using rocks to stabilize it. The image consists of 20 shots – six of the sky and six of the foreground shot at 15mm with a shutter speed of 20 seconds. I love the combination of the Milky Way and these unique mountain rocks.” (© Gonzalo Javier Santile, Argentina, 2nd Place, National Awards, Creative, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Photographers—many with more time on their hands than they knew what to do with—found themselves vacating cities to stargaze in vast and empty deserts. They brought their star trackers with them, of course. Others found themselves snapping exquisite portraits of Asian beauties in traditional dress, strangely out of place in a health emergency.

Camera-wielding wildlife artists captured equines in mysterious and misty landscapes, or on wonderfully empty beaches. Drones scouted out unreal citadels from far above. Elsewhere, life appeared to go on like normal, yet feeling strangely surreal. Some visited vast rivers of lava flowing from a live volcano in Iceland. Others witnessed a surfing festival underway in the Netherlands on a cloudy day.

After a painstaking elimination process of 340,000 submissions, the national winners were declared. The Epoch Times is pleased to present highlights from some of the world’s top photography talent, courtesy of the Sony World Photography Awards 2022 and The World Photography Organisation.

Austria

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“Milky Way in Salzkammergut” by Sonja Ivancsics, Austria; “I planned this photo for about a year, and on that night in June 2021 the conditions were just perfect. The Gosausee lake in Salzkammergut reflects its surrounding mountains beautifully, especially the mountain Dachstein with its glacier. The picture blends two images, one taken in the blue hour, and one taken at about midnight.” (© Sonja Ivancsics, Austria, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Korea

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“Curve and Contrast” by Jung Woon Park, Korea, Republic of; “A scene in front of Tokyo Station during the declaration of a state of emergency related to Covid-19.” (© Jung Woon Park, Korea (Republic of), 3rd Place, National Awards, Portraiture, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Slovenia

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“Wild Horses” by Matjaž Šimic, Slovenia; “When we visited France this summer, we saw the famous white Camargue horses. Their elegance and energy fascinated me so much that I was left speechless.” (© Matjaž Šimic, Slovenia, Winner, National Awards, Natural World & Wildlife, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)
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“Frozen Rock” by Damon Beckford, Finland; “In January 2021 the temperature went down to -25°C on the south coast of Finland. I went to Emäsalo in the city of Porvoo to capture the freezing of the Baltic Sea. As the sea starts to freeze, it creates beautiful ice sculptures on the rocks, and a few days later the sea is frozen. The picture was shot at night with a slow shutter speed on extremely slippery ice.” (© Damon Beckford, Finland, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Estonia

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“Surfing Festival” by Raido Nurk, Estonia; “The waves were the biggest I’ve ever seen in the evening when I took this photo in The Hague, Netherlands. The waves and the pouring rain created quite a unique atmosphere.” (© Raido Nurk, Estonia, Winner, National Awards, Motion, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Turkey

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“Le Mont.Saint-Michel at Sunset” by Cigdem Ayyildiz, Turkey; “For me, this piece of art on the shores of Normandy is a candidate for Eighth Wonder of the World; providing a legendary view and atmosphere especially at sunset and when the tide is low.” (© Cigdem Ayyildiz, Turkey, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

United States of America

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“Polar Bear Cub” by Jenny Zhao, United States of America; “A polar bear cub staring wistfully into the distance, shot in Canada in November 2021.” (© Jenny Zhao, United States of America, Winner, National Awards, Natural World & Wildlife, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Vietnam

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“Bike with Flowers” by Thanh Nguyen Phuc, Vietnam; “A hundred years ago there were just 36 streets and now there are many more, but the street culture remains strong in Hanoi. There are lots of shops in the main streets but people in the old streets prefer to get serviced by mobile street vendors. I spent a weekend following street vendors and found that they were walking or riding their bikes all day. Here is one of my favorite moments.” (© Thanh Nguyen Phuc, Vietnam, Winner, National Awards, Travel, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Slovakia

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“Born of Fire” by Filip Hrebenda, Slovakia; “A photo from my ‘Born of Fire’ series. It was the first photo I took on my expedition to the volcanic area of Fagradalsfjall in southwestern Iceland. Volcanoes are a rare opportunity to observe the complete transformation of a landscape. Places that were only recently valleys and meadows became hills, craters and lava fields. Being there was a great experience.” (© Filip Hrebenda, Slovakia, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Japan

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“Milky Way And Circle” by Mituhiro Okabe, Japan. “April on the coast of Japan. I drew the foreground with light paint against the background of the Milky Way.” (© Mituhiro Okabe, Japan, 3rd Place, National Awards, Creative, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Iceland

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“Above” by Viktor Einar Vilhelmsson, Iceland; “Strapped in and standing above a big cliff. Watching the glacier go over the edge and fall 200 meters to the ground.” (© Viktor Einar Vilhelmsson, Iceland, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Taiwan

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“Bat Cave Sink” by Chihao Wang, Taiwan; “Many bats inhabited this cave in ancient times.” (© Chihao Wang, Taiwan, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Denmark

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“Silence is the Most Powerful Scream” by Sussi Charlotte Alminde, Denmark; “A forest story created on a cold winter’s day on 18 February, 2021. The idea was purely and simply to create a personal piece of art.” (© Sussi Charlotte Alminde, Denmark, Winner, National Awards, Creative, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Singapore

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“Sumo Wrestling 10” by Chin Leong Teo, Singapore; “Two sumo wrestlers attempting to trip each other out of the ring in a split-second finish.” (© Chin Leong Teo, Singapore, Winner, National Awards, Motion, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Belgium

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“Earth’s Eye” by Mathis Vandermeeren, Belgium; “This picture was taken with my drone in a geothermal area called Hverravellir in the center of Iceland, in August 2021. It shows a natural hot spring that has a wonderful blue color, especially when seen from above.” (© Mathis Vandermeeren, Belgium, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Bulgaria

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“Foggy Morning” by Minko Mihaylov, Bulgaria; “A foggy morning by the Rowing Canal in the city of Plovdiv, Bulgaria.” (© Minko Mihaylov, Bulgaria, Winner, National Awards, Lifestyle, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Egypt

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“Untitled” by Sherif Salem, Egypt; “A morning scene from the countryside where antique cars add a classic touch. The photo was taken with a 50mm lens on a photo tour in September, in the village of Idku in northern Egypt.” (© Sherif Salem, Egypt, Winner, National Awards, Street Photography, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Hungary

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“Rea” by Edina Csoboth, Hungary; “A classic portrait.” (© Edina Csoboth, Hungary, Winner, National Awards, Portraiture, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

India

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“White Stallion” by Haider Khan, India; “The Marwari or Malani is a rare breed of horse from the Marwar region of Rajasthan in northwest India, with an unusual, inward-curving ear shape.” (© Haider Khan, India, Winner, National Awards, Natural World & Wildlife, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Japan

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“Untitled” by Kaoru Sugiyama, Japan; “In Japan, celebrating the beauty of the moon is a popular pastime called ‘moon viewing’ or Tsukimi.” (© Kaoru Sugiyama, Japan, 1st Place, National Awards, Street Photography, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Korea

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“A City Among the Clouds” by Wonyoung Choi, Korea, Republic Of; “This is a photograph from Bukhansan Mountain in Seoul, South Korea. Lots of people climb the mountain to view the sunrise, but it’s a rare sight to see the city covered in clouds as the sun rises. I’ve gone there many times and was lucky to finally see it. I feel gratitude towards Mother Nature for changing Seoul’s architecture from monotonous to colorful.” (© Wonyoung Choi, Korea (Republic of), Winner, National Awards, Architecture, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Kuwait

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“Giant Tusker” by Mohammad Mirza, Kuwait; “Photographing a giant tusker like Craig was a big challenge for me. Getting so close, within a few meters from this big bull, and shooting from a very low angle with a wide lens, requires some courage! After five days with several attempts at photographing Craig in an open space, I managed to get this shot face to face, with Mount Kilimanjaro as a backdrop.” (© Mohammad Mirza, Kuwait, Winner, National Awards, Natural World & Wildlife, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Norway

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“Bondhusvatnet Glacier” by Hans Kristian Strand, Norway; “I love this peaceful place. I visit the Bondhusvatnet glacier every year hoping to get the perfect picture, and this year I finally got it.” (© Hans Kristian Strand, Norway, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Peru

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“Chimpanzee” by Pedro Jarque Krebs, Peru; “A chimpanzee portrait.” (© Pedro Jarque Krebs, Peru, 3rd Place, National Awards, Natural World & Wildlife, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Poland

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“Turquoise Lake” by Marcin Giba, Poland; “I took this photo of a turquoise lake in Poland with a drone in autumn 2021. Let us not be deceived by the blue color of the water, or the color of the sand. It is the result of human activity interfering with the natural environment. You cannot bathe in this lake, and the water is poisonous.” (© Marcin Giba, Poland, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Saudi Arabia

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“Stars over Yellowstone” by Mazin Alhassan, Saudi Arabia; “An astrophotography shot at the Norris Geyser Basin, the hottest geyser basin in Yellowstone. It is located near the northwest edge of Yellowstone Caldera near Norris Junction and on the intersection of three major faults.” (© Mazin Alhassan, Saudi Arabia, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Switzerland

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“Out of the White Room” by Tinu Müller, Switzerland; “Gian Simmen in his natural habitat at Grindelwald First on a perfect day in the Swiss Alps.” (© Tinu Müller, Switzerland, Winner, National Awards, Motion, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Thailand

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“Big Statue in the Middle of the City” by Kunuch Chutmongkolporn, Thailand; “This photo was taken in Bangkok, Thailand, on 27 October, 2021. The Big Buddha statue is from Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. Around the fourth week of October, the sun sets behind the statue. To get a high-impact shot, I used a super-telephoto zoom lens to compress the sun with a bird, the statue, and the city in the foreground.” (© Kunuch Chutmongkolporn, Thailand, Winner, National Awards, Travel, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Malaysia

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“A Top Down View of Penang’s First Bridge” by Yih Chang Chew, Malaysia; “The 13.5-km Penang bridge highway is the second-longest bridge in Malaysia. It was built in 1985 and until 2014 it was the only road connection between Peninsular Malaysia and Penang Island. Here it’s seen from the island end.” (© Yih Chang Chew, Malaysia, Winner, National Awards, Architecture, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

Pakistan

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“Golden Snake” by  Yawar Abbas, Pakistan; “In the light from this spectacular sunset the cold desert at Skardu looks like a Golden Snake.” ( © Yawar Abbas, Pakistan, Winner, National Awards, Travel, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards_

Sweden

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“Untitled” by Peter Angvarson, Sweden; “A landscape made by the lake Vanern in Sweden.” (© Peter Angvarson, Sweden, Winner, National Awards, Landscape, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

United Arab Emirates

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“Movement and Stop” by Salem Alsawafi, United Arab Emirates; “This picture, taken with a drone, shows a group of flamingos moving and coming to a stop.” (© Salem Alsawafi, United Arab Emirates, Winner, National Awards, Motion, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards)

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Michael Wing
Editor and Writer
Michael Wing is a writer and editor based in Calgary, Canada, where he was born and educated in the arts. He writes mainly on culture, human interest, and trending news.
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