The best student and youth photographers of 2022


The shortlists for the Youth and Student categories of the Sony World Photography Awards have just been announced. As you might expect, there are some cracking images from up-and-coming artists. Here are some of our favorite picks.

The Youth World Photography Prize

The Youth category of the Sony World Photography Award works a little differently than most competitions. Admission was free and the winner will receive “the best Sony digital imaging equipment”, possibly a mirrorless camera.

The contest was open to photographers between the ages of 12 and 19. Each month between June and December last year, a theme was announced and young photographers could submit up to three images. One winner (along with 10 runners-up) was chosen each month, and those seven winners make up the shortlist for the overall prize.

June: Composition and Design

Elijah Baptiste, United States, Winner, Youth Competition, Youth Competition 2022 – Composition + Design, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards. © Elie Baptiste

Elijah Baptiste from the United States won the Competition and Design category for his contrasting, mysterious and incredibly composed portrait.

July: Street Photography

Zinuo Shi, Mainland China, Winner of the Month, Youth Competition, 2022 Youth Competition - Street Photography, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Zinuo Shi, Mainland China, Winner of the Month, Youth Competition, 2022 Youth Competition – Street Photography, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards © Zinuo Shi

Zinuo Shi from China won the Street Photography category with this outstanding shot. When I first saw it, I assumed it was made up. It’s good.

August: Landscape

Emery Sanderson, Canada, Monthly Winner, Youth Competition, Youth Competition 2022 - Landscape, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Emery Sanderson, Canada, Monthly Winner, Youth Competition, 2022 Youth Competition – Landscape, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards © Emery Sanderson

Canada’s Emery Sanderson won the Landscape category with his fantastic winter shot. I love how the track draws my eyes into the scene.

September: Culture and travel

Cameron Borg, Australia, Monthly Winner, Youth Competition, 2022 Youth Competition - Culture _ Travel, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Cameron Borg, Australia, Monthly Winner, Youth Competition, Youth Competition 2022 – Culture _ Travel, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards © Cameron Borg

Cameron Borg from Australia won the Culture and Travel category with this photo (presumably by drone) of a surfer catching a wave. It’s the color contrast that does it for me with this one.

October: Wildlife and Nature

Rayhan Mundra
Rayhan Mundra, USA, Monthly Winner, Youth Competition, Youth Competition 2022 – Wildlife _ Nature, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards © Rayhan Mundra

Rayhan Mundra from the USA won the Wildlife and Nature category with this awesome action shot of a bear killing a fish – salmon, maybe? The spray circles give it so much intensity and action.

November: Portrait

Tri Nguyen, Vietnam, Monthly Winner, Youth Competition, 2022 Youth Competition - Portraiture, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards
Tri Nguyen, Vietnam, Monthly Winner, Youth Competition, 2022 Youth Competition – Portraiture, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards © Tri Nguyen

Tri Nguyen from Vietnam won the Portrait category with this super interesting shot. I love how the mirror adds another perspective. It’s almost like two portraits in one.

December: open call

Benjamin Joel, USA, Winner, Youth Competition, Youth Competition - Open Call, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
Benjamin Joel, USA, Winner, Youth Competition, Youth Competition – Open Call, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards © Benjamin Joel

Benjamin Joel from the United States won the Open Call category with his portrait as a fencer. I love how the slightly low angle and center framing gives the subject such a strong feeling.

The World Student Photography Award

Aidan Murgatroyd, South Africa, Finalist, Student Competition, Connections, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
Aidan Murgatroyd, South Africa, Finalist, Student Competition, Connections, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards © Aidan Murgatroyd

Like the Youth award, the Student category of the Sony World Photography Award is a bit different. It is open to students between the ages of 18 and 30 who were studying for an accredited photography degree, Bachelor of Arts or Master of Arts. In addition to personally winning Sony photo equipment, the grand prize winner will win photo equipment for their establishment.

Sergey Pronin, Russian Federation, Finalist, Student Competition, Connections, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
Sergey Pronin, Russian Federation, Finalist, Student Competition, Connections, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards © Sergei Pronin

Given the somewhat restricted group eligible to participate, the brief was also a bit more specific. Students were asked to interpret in their own way:

Recently, we’ve had to think differently about how we connect in more ways than we could have imagined. Around the world, we have embraced a modern evolution of communication, giving us a new perspective on connection. It was also an opportunity to reflect on establishing new relationships while maintaining old ones as well as reconnecting with our surroundings.

How do you connect with your surroundings or the local environment? How do you bond with your family, friends and colleagues? How do you nurture and develop these connections to ensure they last for years to come?

Whether connecting virtually or in real life, show us in five to ten images how you, or someone you’re documenting, interact with the world.

You can view each finalist’s gallery on the World Photography Organization website.

The short list

Oriel Naxhielly Martins, Argentina, Finalist, Student Competition, Connections, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
Oriel Naxhielly Martins, Argentina, Finalist, Student Competition, Connections, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards © Oriel Naxhielly Martins

The ten photographers who made the shortlist are:

  • Angela Stoll, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • Xu Han, Nanjing University of the Arts, China
  • Ezra Bohm, Nederlandse Acedemie voor Beeldcreatie, Netherlands
  • Dennis Mubanga Kabwe, Open Window University Zambia
  • Alexander Komenda, Aalto University, Finland
  • Chris Rosas Vargas, Parsons, USA
  • Oriel Naxhielly Martins, ENFO Escuela Nacional de Fotografía, Argentina
  • Aidan Murgatroyd, Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography, South Africa
  • Sergey Pronin, Docdocdoc, School of Modern Photography, Russian Federation
  • Sachi Deshmukh, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, Italy

How to Enter Next Year’s Contest

Alexander Komenda, Canada, Finalist, Student Competition, Connections, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
Alexander Komenda, Canada, Finalist, Student Competition, Connections, 2022 Sony World Photography Awards © Alexandre Komenda

In addition to the Youth and Student categories, the World Photography Awards also has Professional and Open categories, as well as regional awards based on entrants to these categories. The different categories all have different entry requirements, submissions and closing dates, so keep an eye on the World Photography Organization website for more information.

If it’s the same as this year:

  • The Youth competition will take place from July to December 2022.
  • The student competition will end in November 2022.
  • The professional competition will end in January 2023.
  • The open competition will end in January 2023.
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