The Sony World Photography Awards, organized by the World Photography Organisation, has announced its 2019 professional and student shortlists. Chris Donovan (Toronto) was shortlisted in the Professional Sport category, and Léonie Synnott-Bruson (Québec) was shortlisted in the Student competition. In addition, Montreal-based French artist Maela Ohana was shortlisted in the Professional Natural World & Wildlife category. Shortlisted professional photographers compete for category winner and Photographer of the Year, which will be announced on April 17. Student Photographer of the Year will also be announced at the same time. From April 18 through May 6, the shortlisted and winning images will be on view in the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition in London, U.K. The exhibition will later travel internationally.
Chris Donovan, Professional Sport category
Documentary photographer Chris Donovan is shortlisted for his series The Only Team in Town. Shot in Nairobi, Kenya, the images focus on Tasha Otieno, one of the five women who play on the 25 person Nairobi Ice Lions, East Africa’s sole ice hockey team.
As the country enters the final stages of creating the Kenyan Ice Hockey Federation, plans are in the works to build a men’s national hockey team. There currently are not enough players to support a women’s team, but those in the photographs hope to change this.
Talking about his success, Donovan says: “I was incredibly honoured to have my work recognized by the Sony World Photography Awards. I hope that this recognition will lead to more visibility for the incredible women who are pioneering the sport of ice hockey in East Africa.”
Maela Ohana, Professional Natural World & Wildlife category
Maela Ohana is a French artist and curator based in Montreal. She is the co-founder of The Earth Issue, a collective of artists positioned at the intersection of visual art and environmentalism.
Her shortlisted work, Two Headed Eagle, is a collection of botanical portraits and landscape photographs shot during the short moments of dusk and dawn. The photographs were taken in February 2018 during a month hiking in the Sierra Madre mountains of Oaxaca. Each image creates mystery and an uncanny interaction between the flora and their natural surroundings.
Ohana says: “I am so grateful, and stunned, to have been selected in this year’s Natural World & Wildlife category. Nature’s weird and wonderful creations – its glorious landscapes, flora, colours, formations – have brought immense joy and inspiration into my life. I can only hope that our generation, not only of photographers and artists but all human beings, will continue to appreciate our natural world and to protect it from harm.”
Léonie Synnott-Bruson, Student shortlist
For the student competition, students were challenged to submit a series on the theme Evolution. Ten students worldwide were selected to submit a second series on the theme Belong. Léonie Synnott-Bruson, a student at Cégep de Matane, was shortlisted for her series Dream Production, submitted for the first theme. Her second series on belonging is called Made in Québec.