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Here are 20 of the most spectacular pictures from this year's Sony World Photography Awards

Sony World Photography Awards
Sony World Photography Awards Copyright Sony World Photography Awards
Copyright Sony World Photography Awards
By Theo Farrant
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From piercing yellow-eyed owls to electrifying Moroccan horse racing festivals, here are 20 of the most stunning photographs from this year's Sony World Photography Awards.

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Get ready to be wowed. 

The World Photography Organisation has just revealed the National Award winners for the Sony World Photography Awards 2023, and the results are nothing short of spectacular.

The National Awards program is an initiative set up to support local photographic communities around the world, with 55 countries taking part this year.

Over 415,000 images from over 200 countries and territories were submitted to the Sony World Photography Awards 2023 and over 200,000 were entered to the Open competition (from which the National Awards winner was selected).

But, don't worry, we've sifted through all the entries and handpicked 20 of the most breathtaking photos for you.

From the piercing gaze of yellow-eyed owls to the exhilarating energy of the Moroccan horse racing festival, buckle up for a visual journey that will leave you in awe.

1. Bosnia Old Bridge Diving (Armin Durgut)

Armin Durgut, Bosnia And Herzegovina, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
Stefan Jevtic dives from the Old Bridge during the 456th traditional annual high diving competition in Mostar, Bosnia.Armin Durgut, Bosnia And Herzegovina, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

Stefan Jevtic dives from the Old Bridge during the 456th traditional annual high diving competition in Mostar, Bosnia. A total of 31 divers from Bosnia and surrounding regions leapt from the 23-metre-high bridge into the Neretva river.

2. Knights (Oday Shanshal)

Oday Shanshal, United Arab Emirates, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
This photograph was taken in November 2022 at a horse festival in Morocco.Oday Shanshal, United Arab Emirates, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

This photograph was taken in November 2022 at a horse festival in Morocco. The picture was taken using a slow shutter speed, while panning the camera to follow the movement of the knights.

3.  Glare of a Predator (Rajeev Abeysekara)

Rajeev Abeysekara, Sri Lanka, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
A Sri Lankan leopard rests on a tree at Sri Lanka’s Kumana National ParkRajeev Abeysekara, Sri Lanka, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
During a game drive in Sri Lanka’s Kumana National Park I came across this magnificent Sri Lankan leopard resting in a tree, staring at us through the branches. It was an unforgettable encounter.
Rajeev Abeysekara

4. The Girl with the Red Hat (Elena Georgiou)

Elena Georgiou, Cyprus, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
A little girl walking through Eleftheria Square in Nicosia, Cyprus.Elena Georgiou, Cyprus, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

5. The Captivating Eyes (Protap Shekhor Mohanto)

Protap Shekhor Mohanto, Bangladesh, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
This spotted owlet was photographed from a hide at the National Botanical Garden of Bangladesh.Protap Shekhor Mohanto, Bangladesh, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

This spotted owlet was photographed from a hide at the National Botanical Garden of Bangladesh. 

During the day these amazing birds tend to hide in nests made in the holes of tree trunks, but they sometimes peep out to observe their surroundings with their captivating yellow eyes. 

6. Vojtech (Ivana Dostálová)

Ivana Dostálová, Czech Republic, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
Vojtech by Ivana DostálováIvana Dostálová, Czech Republic, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

Vojtech, a ballet student in Prague. This portrait is from the series 'Ballet Life'.

7. Convergence (Dávid Balogh)

Dávid Balogh, Hungary, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
Team Brazil competes in the preliminaries of the women’s team highlight artistic swimming event during the 2022 World Aquatics ChampionshipsDávid Balogh, Hungary, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

Team Brazil competes in the preliminaries of the women’s team highlight artistic swimming event during the 2022 World Aquatics Championships at the Alfréd Hajós National Swimming Stadium, Budapest. 

8. Wonderland (Yawar Abbas)

Yawar Abbas, Pakistan, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
Wonderland hometownYawar Abbas, Pakistan, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

9. Exhausted (Andreas Mikonauschke)

Andreas Mikonauschke, Germany, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
Men taking part in Easter processions in Andalusia SpainAndreas Mikonauschke, Germany, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

In Andalusia, Spain, the traditional Easter processions are a fascinating event to watch. The different brotherhoods (Hermandades) with their uniformed brothers (cofrades) are an everyday sight during the holy week, Semana Santa. 

Central elements of the processions are the heavy wooden frames (pasos) showing biblical scenes with one or more statues - these are carried through the streets by volunteer paso carriers underneath - usually one only sees their feet but sometimes during the rare breaks one gets an impression of the tough job they have.

10. Untitled (Erhan Coral)

Erhan Coral, Turkey, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
The famous hot springs at Güroymak, Bitlis, TurkeyErhan Coral, Turkey, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

The famous hot springs at Güroymak, Bitlis, Turkey. 

The hot springs maintain a temperature of about 40℃, even when the outside temperature is as low as -14℃.

11. Man and Nature (Hernan Jaramillo)

Hernan Jaramillo, Colombia, Shortlist, Latin America National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
Man and nature, a scene in Pamukkale, Turkey.Hernan Jaramillo, Colombia, Shortlist, Latin America National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

12. Imperfect (Angela Perez)

Angela Perez, United States, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
A man is photographed by Angela PerezAngela Perez, United States, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
What the world might see as imperfections are what make us unique. For this portrait I wanted to strip my subject to their most basic self, removing the colour and background distractions to show them in their true form.
Angela Perez

13. Lady of the Garden (Alexandros Othonos)

Alexandros Othonos, Greece, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
A portrait by Alexandros OthonosAlexandros Othonos, Greece, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
This image is from my series, Lady of the Garden. As with other portraits in the series, I wanted to create a sense of movement in the photograph.
Alexandros Othonos

14. Siren's Dawn (Mateusz Żurowski)

Mateusz Żurowski, Poland, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
A portrait by Mateusz ŻurowskiMateusz Żurowski, Poland, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
A portrait of a woman I met at the Baltic Sea in Poland.
Mateusz Żurowski

15. Confident (Abdulla AL-Mushaifri)

Abdulla AL-Mushaifri, Qatar, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
A picture of a young ‘knight’ demonstrating his horsemanshipAbdulla AL-Mushaifri, Qatar, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

A picture of a young ‘knight’ demonstrating his horsemanship, while simultaneously looking at the assembled photographers waiting to take a picture of him. 

This photograph was taken in the Sultanate of Oman.

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16. Natalia Ksenia (Vladimir Zivojinovic)

Vladimir Zivojinovic, Serbia, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
A portrait of Natalia Adamenko, 44, and her 17-year-old daughter, Ksenia, at a church housing Ukrainian refugees in Irota, HungaryVladimir Zivojinovic, Serbia, Shortlist, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

A portrait of Natalia Adamenko, 44, and her 17-year-old daughter, Ksenia, at a church housing Ukrainian refugees in Irota, Hungary, taken on 1 April 2022. 

‘Everyone from Hungary has tried to help us. They are amazing people’, said Natalia, who stayed in one of the church cottages when she first fled Kyiv.

17. Untitled (Rabik Upadhayay)

Rabik Upadhayay, Nepal, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
Untitled by Rabik UpadhayayRabik Upadhayay, Nepal, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

Youths jostle to drink alcohol as part of a cultural practice during the Indra Jatra Festival in Kathmandu, Nepal. 

During the week-long celebration a statue of Swet Bhairab (not seen in this picture) is unveiled and the alcohol is served through an extended brass pipe coming from the idol’s mouth. 

It is a crazy experience, even for spectators, with many participants getting injured every year.

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18. Nature's Abduction (Cristina Băzăr)

Cristina Băzăr, Romania, Winner, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
Nature's Abduction by Cristina BăzărCristina Băzăr, Romania, Winner, Regional Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
While travelling in Madeira, I was mesmerised by this specific tree engulfed in fog. I decided to photograph it alongside a mysterious human presence.
Cristina Băzăr

19. Same but Different (Chan Sithy Heng)

Chan Sithy Heng, Cambodia, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
Same But Different by Chan Sithy HengChan Sithy Heng, Cambodia, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
Phare performers tell Cambodian historical and folklore stories through performance, combining theatre, music, dance and circus techniques. I took this image during one of their series called Same But Different.
Chan Sithy Heng

20. The Jetty (Eng Tong Tan)

Eng Tong Tan, Malaysia, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023
The Jetty by Eng Tong TanEng Tong Tan, Malaysia, Winner, National Awards, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

A 132-second long exposure of the jetty at Desaru, Malaysia.

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