A young girl crouches on a window ledge veiled by a net curtain, her toes scrunched as she draws another curtain towards her. Both she and her cat companion gaze up at something just out of shot.

The arresting image captured by Slava Sahalinscki from the Russian Federation is just one of hundreds of thousands that have been entered into a prestigious photography competition to be judged next year.

The annual Sony World Photography Awards celebrates global talent in photography with last year's awards receiving 327,000 entries from 195 countries and territories across the world.


The awards, now in its 13th year, has four categories that recognise photographers' bodies of work, standalone images, emerging photographers and photography students.

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Offering the chance for global exposure and professional opportunities, the awards ensure that people from varied backgrounds and experience have equal opportunities to win Sony digital imaging equipment, publication in the winners’ book and their work displayed in the touring exhibition that showcases contemporary photography.

Deadlines for the student awards are in November while the youth category closes in December and the national and professional groups close in January 2020.

Craig Alexander, The Herald's multimedia editor, picked four images for publication that stood out to him.

"I chose these as they're capturing a wee slice of life - the movement in the photograph of the Hasidic Jews, and the light and composition in the image of the girl. I chose that one because at first glance it could be perceived as quite ordinary but when you take the time to look it's actually technically challenging – balancing the light from two sources behind and in front of the subjects.

"The vibrant colours of the photograph of the threads give it an abstract quality and highlights that you don't always need to see somebody's face to feel engaged."


The images from Israel, the Russian Federation and Myanmar respectively, ask more questions than they answer, but therein lies their beauty and highlights the power of visual storytelling, says Mr Alexander.

He said: "We live in a very visual world and you can glance at a photograph for seconds and get a full story. The skill needed to capture a subject using light and the surroundings to naturally enhance it is immense.

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"Good photography is vital as an artistic medium and to be informative. For most stories pictures and words should be treated equally to create an excellent package. The awards allows us to see images from countries that don't necessarily have the freedom to tell their stories in words but can capture a visual that speaks volumes."


The detail in the close-up shot of a crocodile from Taiwanese photographer Yung-sen Wu, particularly struck Mr Alexander.

He said: "It's brave of the photographer because of the proximity to danger but what really makes the image is the use of under and above the water composition drawing attention to all sections of the picture and using the horizon and the time of day with the sun low in the sky - the detail is expert."