Sony World Photography Awards: the winners

Veil Cloud. Copyright: Mitch Dobrowner, USA, Professional Winner, Landscape, Sony World Photography Awards 2012.

Over 112,000 images were submitted by entrants from 171 countries to the 2012 Sony World Photography Awards. With 14 different categories in the professional division; ten categories in the open division; the student focus, youth, 3D, and moving image awards, too; and a bundle of prizes up for grabs ($25,000 to the winner of the Iris d'Or, no less) then the numbers are hardly surprising. Not to mention a swanky awards ceremony at a posh central London hotel. But really, who won what?

The 2012 Iris d'Or was awarded to American Mitch Dubrowner for his series of images Storms. WM Hunt, who was chairman of the 2012 honorary judging committee, commented on Dubrowner as the choice of winner: 'He brings a sense of its [photography's] history and enormous skill in his craft while pushing his imagination and, even, physical strength. The work offers a visceral rush while being wonderfully well made.' Hold on to your lunches when you look at his work then.

The Open Award went to a 29 year old software engineer from Germany, Tobias Bräuning. He won with Daning Queen, from the Split Second category, which was a new addition to the 2012 line-up. He's bagged $5,000 and a goody bag of Sony's latest imaging equipment.

We already knew who'd won the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award–that was William Klein.

Asef Ali Mohammad, from Middlesex University, won the Student Focus Award with a series of images documenting the life of young people in Kabul. His institution has picked up €45,000-worth of equipment.

Sergey Kolyaskin, from Russia, picked up the Youth Award for his image The Last Hero. The 3D Award went to Nick Saglimbeni for his image Nuclear Summer. When it came to the Moving Image Award, it was Canadians Natasha Nicholson and Michael McDougall who took the spoils for their piece Dead Languages.

The winning images are all on display at Somerset House, London, over the next month. It's worth popping in to take a look for yourself.

If you're intersted in seeing just who won what and came where in the professional division, here's the complete run down:

Photojournalism and Documentary

Current Affairs

  • Winner: Donald Weber (Canada) / VII PHOTO
  • 2nd: Fernando Alfonso Brito Lizárraga (Mexico)
  • 3rd: Rémi Ochlik (France) / IP3 Press

Contemporary Issues

  • Winner: Kasia Bielska (Poland)
  • 2nd: Gustavo Jononovich (Argentina)
  • 3rd: Alessandro Grassani (Italy)


  • Winner: Simon Norfolk (United Kingdom)
  • 2nd: Maja Daniels (Sweden)
  • 3rd: Alejandro Cartagena (Mexico)


  • Winner: Palmer + Pawel (United Kingdom)
  • 2nd: Pawel Kopczynski (Poland)
  • 3rd: Andrew McConnell (Ireland)

Arts and Culture

  • Winner: Rob Hornstra (Netherlands)
  • 2nd: Mattia Vacca (Italy)
  • 3rd: Anastasia Taylor-Lind (United Kingdom)

Nature & Wildlife

  • Winner: Jacek Kusz (Poland)
  • 2nd: David Chancellor (United Kingdom) / Institute
  • 3rd: Palani Mohan (India)



  • Winner: Peter Franck (Germany) / Büro stoltenhoff
  • 2nd: Laura Pannack (United Kingdom)
  • 3rd: Javier Arcenillas (Spain)


  • Winner: Luis Henry Agudelo Cano (Colombia)
  • 2nd: Peter Franck (Germany)
  • 3rd: Jan Brykczynski (Poland)


  • Winner: Peter Franck (Germany)
  • 2nd: Elizaveta Porodina (Germany)
  • 3rd: Jayden Tang (China)

Fine Art


  • Winner: David Airob (Spain)
  • 2nd: Simon Norfolk (United Kingdom)
  • 3rd: Igor Chirikov (Russian Federation)


  • Winner: Irina Werning (Argentina)
  • 2nd: Paolo Marchetti (Italy)
  • 3rd: Lei Liu (China)


  • Winner: Mitch Dobrowner (United States)
  • 2nd: Lee Chee Wai (Malaysia)
  • 3rd: Rona Chang (United States)

Still Life

  • Winner: Helen Thompson (United Kingdom)
  • 2nd: Renan Cepeda (Brazil)
  • 3rd: Rena Effendi (Azerbaijan) / INSTITUTE


  • Winner: Manuel Geerinck (Belgium)
  • 2nd: Cristina De Middel (Spain)
  • 3rd: Luis Mallo (United States)