Two American Photographers Take Sony World Photography Awards’ Top Honors

Two American Photographers Take Sony World Photography Awards’ Top Honors


San Diego, CA—American photographer Mary Ellen Mark is the recipient of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards’ Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award. And 31-year-old American photographer Sara Naomi Lewkowicz was announced as the overall winner of the 2014 L’Iris d’Or, Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year.

Lewkowicz beat out more than 139,554 entries—the highest number in the competition’s history—and collected her award, Sony digital imaging equipment and $25,000, at the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards gala held in London on April 30.

The judges voted unanimously for Lewkowicz’s hard‐hitting series, Shane and Maggie—an intimate examination of domestic violence as a process. The L’Iris d’Or is the organization’s most prestigious award. It is presented to a single photographer whose work represents the pinnacle of the entries received. The photographer is chosen from the first-place winners of all the professional categories.

The L’Iris d’Or winning series of work, alongside a retrospective of Mary Ellen Mark’s work, are being shown at Somerset House from May 1–18, 2014 as part of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition. A further selection of their images will be published in the 2014 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards winners’ book.

In addition, images by the best established and emerging contemporary photographers from across the world are part of the 2014 exhibition. This year the exhibition was expanded, being hosted in both the East and West Wings of Somerset House in London. Winning and shortlisted photographers are also on display, as well as two exclusive bodies of work commissioned by Sony for their new Global Imaging Ambassadors program. These include the UK debut of American-French photographer William Klein’s newest work, “Brooklyn”—a landmark departure for Klein who for the first time has produced work entirely on digital cameras. It also features a group show from the international photo agency, Panos Pictures, showcasing projects by five Panos photographers. 

Mary Ellen Mark is recognized as one of the world’s most influential photographers, and her work has become the benchmark for excellence in the field of documentary photography. Beginning as a freelancer often working on film sets, Mark’s career has spanned four decades. Primarily working in black and white, her work is characterized by a constant vision to make pictures that reflect a high degree of humanism and to capture and acknowledge people on the edges of society. 

“Mary Ellen equates nothing short of excellence and we are honored to present this award to her. Having spoken to dozens of her peers and critics, it is clear that Mary Ellen has made a permanent mark on our industry,” commented Astrid Merget, creative director of the World Photography Organization. “She is fiercely committed and consistent in her work and is bound to show us a great deal more in the coming years.”

Sony World Photography Awards Winning and Shortlisted Photogr
Selected from more than 139,000 entries from 166 countries, the highest in the awards’ seven-year history, the winning and shortlisted photographers’ works of the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards reflect the best international contemporary photography from the last year.

Work includes a powerful portrait on domestic abuse by American photographer Sara Naomi Lewkowicz, alongside work of Italian photographer Salvatore Esposito’s exposure of the secret Napolese Camorra crime syndicate, and Guy Martin’s unusual vision of protesting at the recent Istanbul riots.

Humor also shines through in the exhibition, with the work of French photographer Sophie Gamand. Her series of portraits of dogs caught during their least favorite activity—bath time—offers light relief. 

British photographers in the exhibition include the dramatic post-race portraits of jockeys by Spencer Murphy, stunning still life photography by Bristol-based photographer Amanda Harman, and a captivating series looking at the very British institution of pantomime dames by Mary Turner.

The exhibition will also include special displays of the winning, shortlisted and highly commended books of the KKF Book Awards for the Best Photography and Moving Image Books of the Year, and the winning and finalist images of a UK-wide student photography competition run in conjunction with Hotel Indigo.

Tickets for the exhibition can be booked at