Two Belgian photographers shortlisted for the 2019’s Sony World Photography Awards

The 2019 Awards’ final shortlist announcement shows exceptional bodies of work from around the world

● All Professional and Student shortlisted images announced available at
● Photographer of the Year, ten Professional category winners and Student winner announced April 17, 2019

Showcasing exceptional series by the best artists working worldwide in photography, the World Photography Organisation today reveals the shortlisted photographers for the Professional and Student competitions of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards. Within the shortlist are two Belgian photographers who are behind some of the world’s best bodies of work published in 2018. This includes a rare instance of one photographer being shortlisted in two Professional categories.

Alain Schroeder (Brussels) has been shortlisted in the Professional Natural World & Wildlife and Sport categories, and Rebecca Fertinel (Brussels) has been shortlisted in the Brief category.

Being shortlisted is significant as the Awards offer photographers unparalleled opportunity to showcase their art to a global audience and present a vibrant and diverse insight into photography today. All shortlisted Professional photographers will now compete to win their category and be named Photographer of the Year, revealed April 17.

© Alain Schroeder, Belgium, Shortlist, Professional competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2019 Sony World Photography Awards


The Professional shortlist comprises stunning series selected across ten diverse categories. The two shortlisted Belgian photographers are recognised in three categories.

Alain Schroeder, Professional Natural World & Wildlife and Sport categories

Judges praised the work of Brussels-based photojournalist Alain Schroeder for its technical ability and insight. An award-winning, widely published photographic artist, Schroeder founded the Belgian photo agency ‘Reporters’ and has illustrated over thirty books.

His shortlisted series in the Natural World & Wildlife category is titled Saving Orangutans, and highlights the urgent threat to Indonesia’s Sumatran orangutans which are being forced out of their natural rainforest habitat due to the depletion of the country’s rainforest.

The photographs capture the work of the Orangutan Information Center and its immediate response team, the Human Orangutan Conflict Response Unit, who rescue orangutans in difficulty, and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme which cares for, rehabilitates and resocializes orangutans, aiming to reintroduce them into the wild and create new self-sustaining, genetically viable populations in protected forests.

Schroeder’s other successful series, Taekwondo North Korea Style, has been shortlisted in the Professional Sport category. The series explores the historic influences of Korea’s national martial art, Taekwondo, translating to “way of kick and fist”. The sport is practiced in every school in North Korea and is part of the Daily Sports and Health Routine of all DPRK citizens. Schroeder’s dynamic black and white series explores this sporting culture.

Rebecca Fertinel, Professional Brief category

Artist Rebecca Fertinel (b. 1991) is shortlisted for her work Ubuntu – I Am Because We Are.

Responding to a brief of ‘identity’, the images capture ‘Ubuntu’, a Nguni Bantu language term meaning ‘humanity’ and the belief of a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.

Talking about the series, Fertinel says: “In August 2015 I was invited to a wedding by my friend Tracy. Here, I was introduced to the warm, unabashed approach to life of the Congolese community in Belgium and the Nguni Bantu concept ‘Ubuntu’. The concept of Ubuntu seems to intertwine with the desire to belong to a group and maintain a group identity in a changing environment. Showing the ambiance but also the silent moments in between, I tried to capture the feeling of an event that seems like a true celebration, focused on joy and ritual and not on the need for a perfect venue. This project wants to place the viewer in an environment that most have experienced at one time or another at a wedding, party or a wake.”

Fertinel is based in Brussels and her work includes a wide range of different subjects, with a keen interest in personal views and connection with others. Her images often capture the specific ways in which people act, perceive, think or feel in varying life events.

Specially selected by a panel of the world’s leading judges from academia, museums, publishing, festivals and the media, the Professional shortlist contains exceptional bodies of work which demonstrate artistic prowess and provide audiences with captivating stories about humanity and the contemporary world.

This year’s Professional competition judging was chaired by Mike Trow (Editor, Photographer and Consultant, UK). Speaking of this year’s shortlist, he comments: “The work in this year’s Professional shortlist provoked a lot of debate and interest amongst the jury, with interesting conceptual work and juxtapositioning of images to make new narratives, seen alongside more traditional storytelling. It is in some ways a more challenging and contentious year than ever before – which is a great thing, and important for pushing the boundaries of photography and to challenge the perceptions and expectations of the audience.”

Prizes and Exhibition

All those shortlisted will go on to compete against talented photographers from across the world to win their categories and have the chance to become Professional Photographer of the Year to be announced at the London Awards ceremony on 17 April. Prizes include $25,000 (USD) for the overall Professional winner, as well as the latest cutting-edge Sony camera equipment and flights to the London Awards ceremony for category winners. The winning images will also be included in the 2019 Awards’ book. All shortlisted and winning images will be exhibited as part of the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition in London from April 18 until May 6, 2019 before touring globally to countries including Japan, Italy and Germany.

Record number of entries to 2019 Sony World Photography Awards

Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the internationally acclaimed Sony World Photography Awards are one of the most important fixtures on the global photographic calendar. As one of the world’s largest and most prestigious global photography competitions, the Awards annually celebrate and promote the best contemporary photography from the past year across a wide variety of photographic genres.

Now in their 12th year of partnership with headline sponsor Sony, the Awards consist of four competitions in total: Professional (for a body of works), Open (for a single image), Student (for academic institutions) and Youth (for 12-19-year olds). A total of 326,997 entries across – from 195 countries and territories were submitted across the four competitions of the 2019 Awards, the highest ever number of entries to date.