Sony World Photography Awards to Honor RongRong & inri

Sony World Photography Awards to Honor RongRong & inri

Artistic duo named recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to Photography Award


San Diego, CA—RongRong & inri, the influential husband and wife team who have shaped contemporary photography in China, were named the recipients of the Sony World Photography Awards’ Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize. The Sony World Photography Awards are organized by the World Photography Organization (WPO).

RongRong & inri self-portrait

Chinese photographer RongRong and Japanese artist inri will be presented with their award in London on April 21, 2016 at the Sony World Photography Awards ceremony.

The photographers are being recognized for their careers as artists and their significant impact on Asian photography. RongRong & inri’s photography pushes the boundaries of traditional black-and-white darkroom techniques. Together they founded China’s first contemporary art space dedicated to the medium—Three Shadows Photography Art Centre. They also founded the 2015 Jimei x Arles Photo Festival in partnership with Les Recontres d’Arles.

A special exhibition of RongRong & inri’s current and past work, curated by Zelda Cheatle, will be shown at Somerset House in London from April 22 to May 8 as part of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition. It will be the first time so many of the photographers’ works will be brought together outside of Asia. The exhibit will include the European premiere of new works from their latest, critically acclaimed series, Tsumari Story.

Untitled, 2008, No. 25, © RongRong & inri

Previous recipients of the award include Marc Riboud, William Eggleston, Mary Ellen Mark, Elliott Erwitt and Phil Stern.

“RongRong & inri’s contribution to photography goes well beyond their extensive and exquisite production of still images. For over fifteen years they have personally contributed to the industry as a whole, specifically within their community, creating venues and resources for artists to flourish,” said Astrid Merget Motsenigos, creative director of WPO. “Their photography has captured the great intimacy they have shared over the years and presents their unique interpretations in critically acclaimed photo stories, collages and installations.

“Despite the significant contribution they have made, they are not broadly known internationally and we, the World Photography Organization, want to help change that by celebrating the remarkable influence they both have had on the Asian photography community.”

Tsumari Story No. 6-18, 2012, © RongRong & inri

Following successful individual careers, RongRong & inri have worked together since 2000. Although they did not speak the same language when they first met, the pair immediately connected via their photography. Throughout their collaboration, the photographers’ images have been both acutely personal and widely relatable. They touch upon fundamental motifs of the human experience.

Their past critically acclaimed series of works, such as Mt. Fuji, in Nature, Liulitun, and Tsumari Story focus on the beauty of the human body in nature and the urban environment.

Caochangdi, Beijing, 2011, No.6, © RongRong & inri

RongRong & inri: Three Shadows Center

In 2007, RongRong & inri established the Three Shadows Photography Art Centre in the Caochangdi art district of Beijing. The building was designed by Ai Weiwei and is also China’s first privately run nonprofit devoted to photography and video art. The photographers’ annual Three Shadows Photography Award was introduced in 2009 to discover and encourage China’s most promising photographers. The pair also opened a new Three Shadows space in Xiamen in 2015.