The Sony World Photography Awards , an annual competition hosted by the World Photography Organisation, just announced its shortlist of winners for 2016. This years contest attracted 230,103 entries from 186 countries. The organizers have again been kind enough to share some of their shortlisted images with us, gathered below. Overall winners are scheduled to be announced on April 21. All captions below come from the photographers.
Running Away with the Circus . There are more than 300 people with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus blue unit, representing 25 different countries, speaking everything from Russian to Arabic to Guarani. A few travel in cars and trailers, but a majority, 270, live on the trains. Most come from multigeneration circus families, to the extent that collectively, the circus staff represents thousands of years of circus history. The men and women all say that only circus people like them can understand the lifestyle. They spend 44 weeks of the year traveling an average of 20,000 miles from coast to coast on a train that is 61 cars “a full mile” long. It is a life of close quarters and rigorous training, a life that many of the performers began in childhood. Their job is to convince the world that the circus still matters.
Bryce Amphitheater at Golden Hour . The hoodoos of the Bryce Amphitheater glistened as the golden rays of the sun illuminated them, while the vista took my breath away.
Fight for your dreams – The boxers of Bukom . If one is thinking about countries being successful in boxing, just a few will have Ghana in mind. But Ghana produced a couple of world champions in boxing—the most famous one being Azumah Nelson. The weird fact about boxing in Ghana is all world champions are from Bukom, a small neighborhood of Accra. Bukom is a poor suburb, most people work as fishermen. But boxing here has a long tradition—it is the second nature of the people as many say. Hundreds of years ago, the Ga-People, an ethnic group who lives mainly in Accra, developed their own way of fighting. Due to the British influence during colonization, the Ga came in touch with boxing. Since then boxing is the most famous sport in Bukom. Nowadays boxing is much more than a sport, it is a way to escape poverty and everyday problems. Many kids and juveniles dream of being a professional boxer in the US or Europe. They fight for their dreams, literally.
Blue Moon . Four centimeters of mightiness that moves slowly and relentlessly on a tree, while the moon rises in the background. The rhinoceros beetle is a nocturnal insect, during the day they stay safe under the trees and with the summer they become very active flying at dusk to find a mate.
Lesbos, Greece, October 18, 2015. A mother and child wrapped in an emergency blanket after disembarking on the beach of Kayia, on the north of the Greek island of Lesbos. According to the UNHCR, approximately 850,000 refugees and migrants, including children, arrived in Greece by sea in 2015. Of these, just over 500,000 landed on Lesbos, a Greek island around eight nautical miles from the Turkish coast. Although at the center of migration flows, Lesbos had nothing to offer the mainly Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who arrived there. Once they reached Europe’s beaches, they were welcomed with a long trek across the islands mountainous interior, followed by days and nights spent in crowded refugee camps, where not even a place in a tent was guaranteed and where basic amenities such as toilets and showers were lacking. But it was in those under-serviced and poorly managed camps that they had to stay, in order to obtain the required registration to allow them to travel legally through Greece and continue their journey of hope towards other European countries, such as Germany and Sweden.
BLOCK . An urban exploration into new residential areas of megacities in the People's Republic of China. In transforming cities, these impressive sites are built in sometimes very distant suburbs where their vastness contrasts with the surrounding rural landscapes. Their dizzying redundancy offers a surreal and sinister scenery where it is difficult to imagine any human activity.
The death of migratory birds . In the migratory season, there are still some people that catch migratory birds by erecting nets seeking large profits although the Chinese government has prohibited the activity. Thousands of migratory birds are killed each year, and the ecological balance is being destroyed. Day by day, the ultimate victims will be the man himself. I wish these photos can play a role in the protection of migratory birds.
Chess / Youth Tournaments . Chess is for many of us, the most boring sport in the world. Many even do not know that chess is officially classified as a sport discipline. This documentary photo series proves that for some people chess in fact represents the world full of strong emotions, adrenaline and stress. Professionals work on their chess between 6-8 hours a day and perform theoretically, practically, mentally and physically. All this mental tension and exertion manifests itself physically, as witnessed by Anatolij Karpov’s 10 kilo weight loss during his World Championship match against Garri Kasparov in 1984. In addition to that, this series focuses especially on youth tournaments in order to motivate young people through the emotions captured in “decisive moments” to replace electronic devices with a real-world physical interpersonal communication and entertainment.
Dead End – oil exploration in the Arctic . Underwater image of Norwegian company TGS Nopec conducting seismic blasting off northeast Greenland, firing airguns that emit 259 decibel blasts towards the seabed in order to find possible oil reservoirs. Above water, this sound intensity would be perceived by humans as approximately eight times louder than a jet engine taking off. Global oil companies including BP, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell all own drilling rights in the Greenland Sea and are the likely customers for the data uncovered by the seismic testing company. A Greenpeace expedition onboard the icebreaker Arctic Sunrise is currently documenting the seismic testing fleet, which plans to complete 7,000km of ‘survey lines’ of the seabed in the high Arctic, between 75 and 80 degrees north. According to a new scientific review, seismic blasting is ‘alarming’ and could seriously injure whales and other marine life in the Arctic.
In Mexico, Mennonite Farmers Struggle With Water Shortage . Mexican Mennonite children play as they entertain nearby family visiting for a Sunday lunch gathering on the 1st of November, 2015 in Capulin, Mexico. Nearly a century after the Anabaptist Mennonites migrated from Canada to Chihuahua State, hundreds are trading the land they call home in search of cheaper land, where water is more plentiful. Underground reservoirs in Chihuahua have been drained by thirsty crops, like corn, that are the mainstay of the Mennonites’ success. Meanwhile, competition for groundwater has strained their relations with other farmers.
Bird Hunter . This photo was clicked in Mumbai, India. One day when I was cycling through an abandoned/deserted area I encountered a group of street kids who were aiming for birds in the sky using their slingshots. I managed to convince these kids to demonstrate their shooting skills by aiming for a bottle. Surprisingly the situation became quite competitive among them self as each wanted to perform/showoff by doing better than their colleagues. This photo was clicked exactly during that moment as I thought of capturing uncondensed energy of this kid who looked vigorous and heated.
California Drought From Above . A worker walks through farm fields in Los Banos, California, on May 5, 2015. Days before, California water regulators adopted the state's first rules for mandatory cutbacks in urban water use as the region's catastrophic drought entered its fourth year. Urban users will be hardest hit, even though they account for only 20 percent of state water consumption, while the state's massive agricultural sector, which the Public Policy Institute of California says uses 80 percent of human-related consumption, was exempted.
Protection . Her name is Malaika. She is well known in Masai Mara reservation (Kenya). Her behavior towards her cubs is a great example of perfect motherhood. She spends the whole day trying to keep her cubs safe. After a lioness killed one of her cubs, she is left with five cubs. Series of wildlife images taken in Masai Mara reserve in Kenya.
The secret of his eyes . Almeria, Spain.
Enchanted Bamboo Forest . Firefly season comes around in Japan at the beginning of the rainy season. This firefly is a species called Luciola parvula, found in bamboo forests. The population of these firefly decreases every year in Japan. These may be influenced by environmental destruction. This picture was taken under a little moonlight.
Fire of Hatred . Acid throwing is a kind of violence and according to the official statistics and local news increased compare to the past IRAN.This kind of violence is mostly against women and children. These attacks have been done with intent to disfigure, maim, torture, and destroy the social life and the future of the victim. The motivation to commit this type of violence is cultural destitution, intolerance, and happens in situations such as family conflicts,rejected marriage proposal, revenge, and divorce requests. In addition to physical and psychological damages, victims face the experience of social stigma, blame, and social unpleasant tags. The victims are in dire need of medical and financial support, and counseling services. Unfortunately there is no governmental and nongovernmental organizations to follow these issues in the country and they have to treat themselves only by public aid and donations.
The diving frog . This photo was taken in a paludarium belonging to a friend, a breeder of batrachians and reptiles.
Lucha Libre Extrema . I had been taking pictures of wrestling for a while before getting the opportunity to assist a Hardcore Wrestling Match. This type of wrestling is currently forbidden in Mexico City, because of numerous accidents, but still allowed outside the capital. The organization DTU organizes almost every month a wrestling spectacle in the village where El Santo, Mexico´s most famous wrestler, was born. The students receive a professional wrestling training before being allowed to do the extreme style and they get paid a bit more for their bravery. A local carwash is turned into a real arena and place of this ultraviolent wrestling match. The public, old and young, receives the wrestlers as their local heroes.
Captured this fun and panning shot during an outing with my son in Singapore, early 2015.
Selfie Nero Lake . Perspective and human presence are the most important things in a image, not always is possible to have both! In this image I left my camera on the tripod with the remote control that activated the shot every 30 seconds after a initial delay of 10 minutes. In ten minutes I went to the opposite side of the lake to search the right one rock for have a human presence in the image. The perspective makes the rest. I appear very big near the huge Brenta mountains and the moon. The highest and biggest peak is Brenta peak; in this image, near Madonna di Campiglio in Trentino, north Italy.
Wake up call . It's Easter, and after a large celebratory meal, a moment's peace is an opportunity for a nap. The youngest member of the Nawrot family, having none of it, climbs onto the sofa and prepares to wake 'Dziadzia Jacek' (his grandfather). This brief moment before jumping on his grandfather's legs is one of pure joy.
Empire of dust . Amelie Labourdette interrogates what is in the landscape is a priori invisible. There is always a blurred zone of concern and a landscape located below the visible landscape, another landscape that is not given at first gaze. This series of photographs has been realized in south Italy, in the regions of Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata, and Puglia, where financial crises and embezzlement have made incompleteness an architectural aesthetic.
Nomadic Life Threatened on the Tibetan Plateau. August 5, 2015, in Yushu, China. Tibetan nomads face many challenges to their traditional way of life including political pressures, forced resettlement by China's government, climate change, and rapid modernization. The Tibetan Plateau, often called “the Roof of the World,” is the world's highest and largest plateau.
Stairways from Heaven . Taken under a bridge in Belgium in April 2015.
Sea baby . A baby fur seal off the Commander islands in the Bering sea.