Sony WPA Photographer of the Year

02 May 2014

Competitions, Industry news

Thirty-one year-old American photographer Sara Naomi Lewkowicz was the winner of the 2014 L’Iris d’Or, Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year. Beating over 139,554 entries from 166 countries, this represents the highest number of entries in the Awards’ seven year history. The photographer collected her award - Sony digital imaging equipment and $25,000 (USD) prize money - at the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony held in London.

© Sara Lewkowicz.The judges voted unanimously for Lewkowicz’s hard-hitting series, ‘Shane and Maggie’, - an intimate examination of domestic violence as a process - as this year’s winner. Through her project, Lewkowicz seeks to take a deeper, unflinching look at domestic abuse as a process as opposed to a single incident.  She examines how a pattern of abuse develops and eventually crests, as well as its short and long-term after-effects on victims, their families, and their abusers. The story is inescapable; horrific and tender, fierce and unfathomable, luridly colored.

Talking about her win, Lewkowicz comments: ”I'm completely stunned; there was such extraordinarily strong work, I figured there was no way I would win - I was just excited to receive one award! I am completely overwhelmed'”

The jury chair, W M Hunt commented: “Vibrating colour, crackling, dramatic and full of impact, intimate and unsettlingly provocative.”

Sara Lewkowicz is a native New Yorker pursuing a master's degree in visual communication from Ohio University in Athens. She received her bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina. Her work has been published in publications such as Time Magazine, Stern and Days Japan. She has won several grants and awards, including the 2013 Alexia Student Grant, first place in the Contemporary Issues Category for World Press Photo and the 2013 Ville de Perpignan Remi Ochlik Award. She has been named the 2013 College Photographer of the Year by COPY and other awards and honours include POYi, Days Japan, the World Report Award by Festival for Ethical Photography in Italy and numerous others.

The L’Iris d’Or - our most distinguished award - is presented to one single photographer whose work represents the pinnacle of the entries received. The photographer is chosen from within the first place winner of all the professional categories.

All the winners can be seen at the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House from 1-18 May. The images will also be published in the 2014 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards book.

Image top and above: © Sara Naomi Lewkowicz. 

Above: One month into their courtship, Shane had Maggie's name tattooed on his neck in large black letters.