From family quests to Lucha libre, the finalists and shortlist in this year's Professional competition are the very best photo series from the past year. With 10 distinct categories to enter, we challenged photographers around the world to submit between five to 10 images that tell us something in a powerful way. The range of approaches was vast, with some offering their interpretations of key topics and others presenting insightful personal projects. With 10 distinct categories to choose from, choice of subject matter, technique and narrative could be far-reaching.
The finalists go on to the next stage of the competition to compete to be the winner of their category and, if successful, then go on to be considered for the coveted title Photographer of the Year, announced 12 April.
Here we highlight some of our favourite series.
Debora Lombardi, Italy, Shortlist, Professional competition, Wildlife & Nature, Sony World Photography Awards 2022
These images were created using ultraviolet induced visible fluorescence photography (UVIVF), a technique that captures the fluorescence of flowers and plants hit by UV light – and which makes visible what is generally invisible to the naked eye. Photographing in this way reveals vivid, incandescent colours – a chromatic world not detected by our eyes, but that some animals (such as bees) can perceive. I started experimenting with this technique in the darkness of my studio during the lockdown of March 2020, making it my main outlet in that equally dark period. My experimentation then continued throughout 2021, making improvements and customisations, and this series represents an excerpt.
Jan Grarup, Denmark, Finalist, Professional competition, Documentary Projects, Sony World Photography Awards 2022
More than 8.5 million people in Colombia urgently need help. The financial collapse in Venezuela has left many with no access to emergency aid, shelter, clean drinking water or food. Children pay the highest price.
Haruna Ogata & Jean-Etienne Portail, Japan and France, Finalist, Professional competition, Still Life, Sony World Photography Awards 2022
These images were taken in a studio in Paris, in September 2020 – for the pure creation of a still life photo.
Manuel Enrique González Carmona, Spain, Shortlist, Professional competition, Landscape, Sony World Photography Awards 2022
I photographed the surroundings of Minas de Rio Tinto in the province of Huelva, Spain, throughout 2021. It is a landscape altered by man's hand in which pine forests coexist with the remains of minerals extracted from the earth and dumped copper extraction. With the passage of time, these minerals sediment and form a diversity of textures. In some situations they resemble trees, and in these cases the terrain seems to pay homage to the trees that existed before the transformation.