Press Releases

Sony World Photography Awards 2011 L’Iris D’Or and Winners announced

Press release

Sony World Photography Awards 2011

L’Iris D’Or and winners announced

  • Argentinean photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg wins the coveted L’Iris D’Or Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year 2011
  • Chan Kwok Hung announced as overall Open winner
  • Professional category winners and Student Focus Award winner revealed
  • Bruce Davidson receives the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award

Argentinean photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg has tonight, 27 April 2011, been announced as this year’s winner of the illustrious L’Iris D’Or, the 2011 Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year. Over 105,000 images were entered into the 2011 competition from 162 countries. Chaskielberg was presented with the award during the Sony World Photography Awards Gala ceremony at the Odeon Leicester Square. Previously held at Cannes’ prestigious Palais des Festivals, this is the first year that the awards have been held in London.

Beginning his career at the age of 18 as a photojournalist for a local newspaper, 34 year old Buenos Aires born Chaskielberg has spent 16 years developing a highly successful career as a photographer. His winning photographs offer a rare and insightful look into the lives of a community of islanders who live on the Parana River Delta. Devoting himself entirely to his ‘High Tide’ project, Chaskielberg lived with the islanders for two years, immersing himself in their daily life in order to document the way they live and work. Chaskielberg said of his series of striking night time portraits, “Using photography I have been able to present another version of the Parana River Delta and its community that has been photographically ignored throughout the years.”

Chaskielberg was chosen as the winner of the L’Iris D’Or by a panel of 12 judges. In addition to winning a $25,000 cash prize plus Sony digital SLR camera equipment, he joins previous L’Iris d’Or winners David Zimmerman, Vanessa Winship and Tommaso Ausili as a member of the World Photographic Academy. Attending the gala award ceremony at the Odeon Leicester Square, Chairman of the 2011 Honorary Judging Committee Francis Hodgson said, “The judging process is never straightforward when comparisons are made between imagery of so many different types on such a wide range of subjects. Yet this year’s panel of judges found no great difficulty in agreeing to honour the powerful work of Alejandro Chaskielberg’s series High Tide. These carefully directed pictures tell solid truths – about toil and communality and marginal economic survival – in a splendidly allusive way.”

The Sony World Photography Awards Open Photographer of the Year title was awarded to Chan Kwok Hung for his stunningly dramatic image ‘Buffalo Race’. The 37 year old jewellery manufacturer from Hong Kong was at the awards ceremony to collect his $5,000 cash prize as well as Sony digital SLR camera equipment. Chan purchased his first SLR camera in 2006 and using books and the internet taught himself basic photography skills. He began to develop a passion for travelling to undeveloped places, and hearing about the buffalo race, Chan made a special trip to Indonesia in search of his spectacular image. After an early start and hours of waiting, Chan’s patience paid off, and what he describes as an unforgettable trip culminated with his winning photograph.

Other announcements on the night included the professional category winners, covering Current Affairs to Commercial, Travel to Fine Art Portraiture. Among the winners are Javier Arcenillas from Spain who, after being shortlisted in four categories, triumphed in the Current Affairs and Contemporary Issues categories, and the UK’s Adam Hinton, winner of the Commercial Campaign category, who began his photographic career at the age of 12 when his father bought him an SLR camera.

Astrid Merget, Creative Director, said: “Alejandro’s spectacular winning images are testimony to the incredibly high standard we have seen this year. We have been extremely impressed with the quality of entries across all categories, notably the standard of entries for the Open competition. The Student Focus Award also continues to flourish year on year and it is very exciting to be working with the next generation of photographer.”

Tatsuya Akashi, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Sony Europe, said: “This year’s entrants have once again amazed and enthralled us with the sheer diversity and high caliber of entries submitted from across the globe. We would like to congratulate all the winners on their fantastic achievements.”

The Winners’ Showcase is the flagship exhibition and one of several photography exhibitions running as part of the World Photography Festival at Somerset House, London, 26 April – 22 May. Featuring a vast collection of international contemporary photography, spanning genres including documentary, sport, portraiture, landscape, fashion and much more, the Showcase captures a unique view of the world in 2010/11 as recorded through the lens of winning photographers who entered this year’s competition.

Outstanding Contribution

A further highlight of tonight’s gala ceremony was ground-breaking photographer Bruce Davidson receiving the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award. Davidson, 77, has a career spanning more than half a century, and is one of America’s most distinguished photographers. An exhibition of his work is being shown as part of the World Photography Festival at Somerset House. The exhibition, selected by Bruce Davidson with Simon Baker, curator of photography and international art, Tate, will include some of his most famous works from the East 100th Street and Circus collections.

Student Focus

Tonight’s Leicester Square event also saw student photographer Louis Boulet from École Nationale Supérieure Louis Lumiere, France announced as the winner of the Student Focus award. Recognised as the world’s most high-profile student photography prize and open to universities worldwide, Louis fought off fierce competition from entries from over 200 institutions across six continents.

Created in partnership with the Young Tate Online, Tate’s digital programme for young creative’s, photographers from each of the shortlisted institutions were given one month to produce a series of images on the subject of ‘Actions speak louder than words’ with Sony Alpha cameras. Having been flown to London to receive his prize, Louis has been awarded approximately 45,000 Euros worth of Sony digital imaging equipment for his school.

Focus Award 2011/12

Each year WPO collaborates with an international charity for the special Focus Award, dedicated to using photography in order to raise awareness on a particular global issue. As part of the ceremony, WPO and Sony announced a partnership for the 2011/12 Focus Award with Save the Children.

Chosen by the 2011 Honorary Judging Committee, chaired by Francis Hodgson, the professional category winners are:


Current Affairs
• Winner: Javier Arcenillas (Spain)
• 2nd: Robin Hammond (New Zealand) / Panos
• 3rd: Ahmad Masood, (Afghanistan) / Reuters
Contemporary Issues
• Winner: Javier Arcenillas (Spain)
• 2nd: Christian Lutz (Switzerland) / Agence VU
• 3rd: Balazs Gardi (Hungary) /
• Winner: Alejandro Chaskielberg (Argentina)/ Michael Hoppen Gallery
• 2nd: Denis Rouvre (France)
• 3rd: Lucia Herrero (Spain)
• Winner: Pavel Wolberg (Israel)
• 2nd: Javier Arcenillas (Spain)
• 3rd: Palmer + Pawel (United Kingdom)
Arts and Culture
• Winner: Amit Madheshiya (India)
• 2nd: Tommaso Bonaventura (Italy)
• 3rd: Mahesh Shantaram (India)


• Winner: Adam Hinton (United Kingdom) / Saatchi & Saatchi
• 2nd: Richard Bailey (United Kingdom)
• 3rd: Tomg Meng (China)
• Winner: Liz Loh-Taylor (Australia)
• 2nd: Javier Arcenillas (Spain)
• 3rd: Andrew McConnell (Ireland) / Panos
• Winner: Saja Seus (Germany)
• 2nd: Frank Bayh & Steff Rosenberger-Ochs (Germany)
• 3rd: Fabrizio Cestari (Italy)


• Winner: Alnis Stakle (Latvia)
• 2nd: Frank Meyl (Germany)
• 3rd: Frank Bayh & Steff Rosenberger-Ochs (Germany)
• Winner: Alain Willaume (France)/ Tendance Floue /Galerie Vu
• 2nd: David Kretschmer (Germany)
• 3rd: Paolo Verzone (Italy) / Agence VU
• Winner: Florence Iff (Switzerland)
• 2nd: Guido Castagnoli (Italy) / Periscope Creative
• 3rd: Frank Day (United States)
Still Life
• Winner: Renhui Zhao (Singapore)
• 2nd: Peter Franck (Germany)
• 3rd: Charles Emerson (United Kingdom)
• Winner: Paul Gisbrecht (Germany)
• 2nd: Ana Cop (Canada)
• 3rd: Zhongyin Gao (China)