Now marking its 14th year, the competition rewards professional photographers for an outstanding body of work that demonstrates “technical excellence and a fresh perspective on contemporary subjects.”
Over 330,000 images from 220 territories were submitted to the competition, with subject matter ranging from still life to wildlife. Of these, more than 145,000 made it to the award’s 10 categories, the highest number of entries to date. This year, a new “Portfolio” category has been introduced to allow photographers to submit individual images from different bodies of work, as long as their style and technical skills remain consistent.
Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic dominates this year’s entries. Some shortlisted images capture the suffocation of life under lockdown, while others celebrate people’s resilience in coping with the devastating disease. The escalating effects of climate change are another principaltheme, with images of a heavily polluted river in India and a Brazilian town wrecked by rising sea levels. The entries also capture some of last year’s major events, from the devastating Beirut blast to a locust plague of biblical proportions in Kenya. There are also moments of beauty and levity, and arresting images of wildlife doing its thing.
The winners will be selected from the list of finalists and revealed on April 15 in a live-streamed event hosted by British art historian Jacky Klein and stand-up comedian Nish Kumar.
Until then, enjoy this selection of outstanding finalists: