Art Meets Culture: 2013 Sony World Photography Awards

Intimate close-ups of endangered gorillas, teenagers celebrating their birthday parties and Botswanan heavy metal fans are among the stunning pictures that have been shortlisted for a prestigious photography competition.

The Sony World Photography Awards shortlist, announced today, was compiled from more than 122,000 entries from 170 countries – the most ever. Judges have whittled the submissions down to a few hundred in categories including nature and wildlife, architecture, people, landscape and lifestyle.

The shortlist gives a unique insight into the global events of 2012 through the eyes of some of the best photographers in the world. Chosen topics included the historic Burmese elections, eye-popping fashion shoots and dramatic shots of African tribes. The entries also reveal the technical challenges in capturing their subjects.

This black and white image depicts the ‘sada pala’ of these Southern Ethiopian men – distinctive decorate scars that show their valour and bravery. The image by Fausto Podavini is nominated in the lifestyle categoryThis black and white image depicts the 'sada pala' of the men - distinctive decorate scars that show their valour and bravery. The image by Fausto Podavini is nominated in the lifestyle categoryIn the pink: Myriam Meloni’s picture ‘Limousine porte’ of twins Laura and Bel on their 15th birthday in Argentina, is in the final three of the arts and culture categoryItalian Myriam Meloni picture called 'Limousine porte' of twins Laura and Bel on their 15th birthday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, is in the final three of the arts and culture categoryRock on: Daniele Tamagni’s series following heavy metal music fans in Botswana and elsewhere in Africa has been shortlisted in the arts and culture categoryThis arts and culture shortlisted picture by Daniele Tamagni follows metal music fans in Botswana
Bling: Photographer Ivan Kashinsky was nominated for his work following the ultra-wealthy Roma. This image shows six-year old twins Gelu and Edi Petrache in a mansion on Buzescu, a small town in RomaniaPhotographer Ivan Kashinsky was nominated for his work following the ultra-wealthy Roma. This image shows six-year old twins Gelu and Edi Petrache in a mansion on Buzescu, a small town in Romania Gotcha: A tree frog captures its prey in Brazil. The image was taken by Hudson Garcia using a high-speed laser sensorA tree frog captures its prey in Brazil. The image was taken by Hudson Garcia using a high-speed laser sensorCanadian photographer Meaghan Ogilvie chose not to wear scuba equipment and instead held her breath for an underwater fashion shoot. Elsewhere Hudson Garcia used a high-speed laser sensor to snap the exact moment a Brazilian tree frog caught its prey.

Catherine Chermayeff, director of special projects at Magnum Photos, who chaired the jury panel said: ‘What an invigorating three days – which resulted in lively and passionate debates. I think we, the jurors, all began this process and felt overwhelmed.’

‘I am delighted to say that by day three, each group proudly presented and argued for our respective shortlists and found surprising strength in the shortlist submissions across all categories.’

Moving: This intimate picture of a gorilla by Regis Boileau is part of a series of photographs highlighting the demise of the animal’s natural habitat. It has been shortlisted in the nature and wildlife category This intimate picture of a gorilla by Regis Boileau is part of a series of photographs highlighting the demise of the animal's natural habitat. It has been shortlisted in the nature and wildlife categoryChicken: Ernest Goh’s photograph of a cockerel was named in the nature and wildlife category Ernest Goh's dramatic picture of a cockerel has also been nominated for the nature and wildlife category The egg: Walter Fogel’s Happy Birthday picture was named in the nature and wildlife categoryWalter Fogel's Happy Birthday picture, right, shows a chick hatching and has been shortlisted in the nature and wildlife categoryFilm fan: This Reuters picture of an Afghan cinema goer attempts to capture change in Kabul and how the cinema is no longer a luxury for the elite This Reuters picture of an Afghan cinema goer attempts to capture change in Kabul Celebration: This picture capturing the ecstasy among National League for Democracy supporters as they celebrate outside the NLD headquarters during Burmese elections has been shortlisted in the contemporary issues category This picture capturing the ecstasy among National League for Democracy supporters as they celebrate outside the NLD headquarters during Burmese elections has been shortlisted in the contemporary issues category

Astrid Merget, creative director of the World Photography Organisation, said: ‘The World Photography Organisation is dedicated to finding the best international contemporary photography from across the world. The shortlist is a clear indication of the exciting photography which is out there and, as we do every year, we are looking forward to presenting this collection of photographers to a global audience.’

The entries were divided into professional, open and youth categories:

Professional photographers will win the title of L’Iris d’Or/Sony World Photography Awards Professional Photographer of the Year 2013, plus a $25,000 cash prize. 

Amateur photographers in the Open Photographer of the Year 2013 title, plus $5,000.

Bricks and mortar: Fabrice Fouillet’s dramatic picture, left, of the church at St Remy in France was named in the final three of the professional architecture category 
Fabrice Fouillet's dramatic picture, of the church left
Bricks and mortar: Reinis Hofmanis’ stark image of a guard booth has been named in the final three of  the professional architecture categoryReinis Hofmanis' stark picture of a guard booth have both been shortlisted in the professional architecture categoryGlamming up: Paul Wenham Clarke took a series of photographs of a group of Irish gypsies, left, that have been shortlisted in the people category
Paul Wenham Clarke took a series of photographs of a group of Irish gypsies who live under the a massive elevated highway known as The Westway, leftGlamming up: Lisa Wiltse’s series of pictures following eight-year-old beauty pageant contestant Mary has also been nominated. The child trains every day in gymnastics, ballet and dance after school Lisa Wiltse's series of pictures following eight-year-old beauty pageant contestant Mary has also been nominated. The child trains every day in gymnastics, ballet and dance after school
Ice cold: Klaus Thymann’s photograph is in the final three of the fashion and beauty category and was shot on the remote east coast of Iceland
Klaus Thymann's photograph has been named as a finallist in the fashion and beauty category and was shot on the remote east coast of Iceland, on the glacier lake of Vatnajokull Strike a pose: Thymann is up against Rory Carnegie in the category, who has also been nominated for his bright portrait from his Mannequin series Thymann is up again Rory Carnegie in the category, who has also been nominated for his bright portrait from his Mannequin seriesDramatic: Photographer Meaghan Ogilvie colorful fashion shoot Photographer Meaghan Ogilvie held her breath to shoot models underwater, left, in the nominated series. Dramatic: Photographer Yannick Cormier’s picture of South Indian villagers 
Yannick Cormier's picture of village residents from Kulasekarapattinam in South India Fired up: This Pete Muller image of a young boy being supported as he fires a fully automatic machine gun at the OFASTS gun shoot is nominated in the people category
This Pete Muller image of a young boy being supported as he fires a fully automatic machine gun at the OFASTS gun shoot is nominated in the people category Cycle of life: Michela Taeggi’s Love Grows picture is part of a series depicting pregnancy and maternity. It has been shortlisted in the people category Michela Taeggi's Love Grows picture is part of a series depicting pregnancy and maternity. It has been shortlisted in the people category
Underwater: Zhang Kechun’s series of photographs was inspired by the novel River of the North by Zhang Chengzhi. This photograph shows swimmers crossing the Yellow River holding a picture of MaoZhang Kechun's series of photographs was inspired by the novel River of the North by Zhang Chengzhi. This photograph shows swimmers crossing the Yellow River holding a picture of Mao
All category winners across the awards will receive the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony.

The overall winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony in London on April 25, 2013.

The work of all the shortlisted photographers will also be exhibited at Somerset House, London, from April 26 to May 26 as part of the 2013 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition.

The images will also be published in the 2013 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards book. The Open and Youth category winners will be announced on 19 March.

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