British artist Alys Tomlinson named Photographer of the Year

The World Photography Organisation announced the overall winners of the prestigious 2018 Sony World Photography Awards at a London ceremony.

The coveted Photographer of the Year title was presented to British artist Alys Tomlinson for her series Ex-Voto, winning the photographer $25,000 (USD). The work was praised by the jury for its beautiful production, technical excellence and sensitive illustration of pilgrimage as a journey of discovery and sacrifice to a greater power.

Upon winning the title, Tomlinson said “I am very surprised to have won, there is so much amazing photography in this competition. This is a huge boost both personally and professionally. It’s a project I invested so much in, so this recognition makes it all worth it.” 

Tomlinson was selected from the 10 category winners of the Professional competition who were announced today alongside those in 2nd and 3rd place in each Professional category. The overall winners of the Awards’ Open (best single image), Youth and Student Focus competitions were also revealed.

All winners were flown to the London awards ceremony and received Sony digital imaging equipment, publication in the winners’ book and their work will be shown as part of the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London.

Outstanding Contribution to Photography recipient Candida Höfer was also at the ceremony to collect her prize.

Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the Sony World Photography Awards is the world’s most diverse photography competition. The 11th edition saw a record breaking 320,000 submissions by photographers from more than 200 countries and territories, presenting some of the world’s finest contemporary photography captured over the past year. The Awards’ annual London exhibition brings together the best established and emerging talent from around the world, providing winning and shortlisted photographers the opportunity to showcase their work on an international stage.

Photographer of the Year – Alys Tomlinson, British

Ex-Voto is a personal project by London-based photographer Tomlinson (age 43). The winning work encompasses formal portraiture, large format landscape and small, detailed still-life images of the ‘ex-votos’ (offerings of religious devotion) found at pilgrimage sites of Lourdes (France), Ballyvourney (Ireland) and Grabarka (Poland).

The photographer mainly explores themes of environment, belonging and identity.  She recently completed an MA (Distinction) in Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage and has been recognised by a number of photography prizes.

Image:
Alys Tomlinson, 2018
Series Name: Ex-Voto
Series Description: A handwritten note neatly folded and hidden in the crevice of a rock, crosses etched onto stone, ribbon carefully wrapped around piles of twigs. These are all offerings of religious devotion, known as ‘Ex-Votos’ and found at Christian pilgrimage sites worldwide. Often placed anonymously and hidden from view, pilgrims leave ex-votos as expressions of hope and gratitude, creating a tangible narrative between faith, person and the landscape. Taken at the pilgrimage sites of Lourdes (France), Ballyvourney (Ireland) and Grabarka (Poland), the project encompasses formal portraiture, large format landscape and small, detailed still-lifes of the objects and markers left behind. Shot on 5×4, large format film, the images evoke a distinct stillness and reflect the mysterious, timeless quality present at these sites of great spiritual contemplation. People and landscape merge as place, memory and history entwine. NB all images untitled and taken in 2016/2017

Copyright: © Alys Tomlinson, United Kingdom, Photographer of the Year, Professional, Discovery, 2018 Sony World Photography Awards