Press Release – Two Singaporean Photographers Shortlisted For World’s Biggest Photography Competition – The 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

  • Record number of entries – 230,103 images from 186 countries
  • Entries from Singapore up over 120%
  • Overall winners to be revealed on 21 April 2016

(SINGAPORE, 24 February 2016) – Two Singaporean photographers are today named on the shortlist of the world’s biggest photography competition, the Sony World Photography Awards – one in the awards’ Professional competition with a stunning series of work investigating an architectural quirk unique to Singaporean housing, and one in the Open competition.

Entries to the awards from Singapore were up over 120% from 2015 and the photographers were selected from a record-breaking 230,103 entries from 186 countries to secure their place on the shortlist. The total number of entries received by the Sony World Photography Awards since its launch in 2007 has now surpassed 1 million images, reinforcing the awards’ position as one of the most respected and influential photography competitions in the world.

Selected by an expert panel of judges (full list here) the shortlisted photographers are:

  • Jonathan Tan, Professional Architecture category
  • Kajan Madrasmail, Open Travel category

Both Tan and Madrasmail are now competing to win their category and the L’Iris d’Or Photographer of the Year and Open Photographer of the Year titles plus a share of the $30,000 (USD) grand prize. All winners will also receive the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony. The winners will be announced at the Sony World Photography Awards Gala Ceremony in London on 21 April 2016. In addition, both photographers will also have their works shown in London as part of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition in April and May. Their works will also be published in the 2016 edition of the Sony World Photography Awards book.

The exhibition at Somerset House will also include the first major European exhibition of the artistic duo and fine art photographers, RongRong & inri, recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize at the awards.
RongRong (China) & inri (Japan) have shaped contemporary photography in Asia and are being recognised for both their careers as artists, as well as their significant impact on Asian photography. The exhibition will include new works from their critically acclaimed series Tsumari Story.

© Johnathan Tan, Singapore, Architecture, Professional, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Jonathan Tan ‘Your House Downstairs’ Professional Architecture category

Tan is a Senior Account Executive for the award-winning marketing agency DDB Group Singapore, and a photography enthusiast with a particular interest in street photography.

His shortlisted series ‘Your House Downstairs’ was shot entirely on a smartphone – Tan believes that photography isn’t about the equipment, but about observing and capturing the fleeting sights around us.

In this series, Tan captured the architectural wall features of the void decks of Housing Development Board flats – the homes of more than 80% of Singaporeans. This ‘hole-in-the-wall’ feature comes in various shapes and bright pops of colours which jazzes up the void decks, which are also common spaces for Singaporeans to gather. While they are more commonly found in older flats, these ‘holes’ are recognisable by Singaporeans as part of Singapore’s landscape and heritage. This series aims to compile these holes that are found in what Singaporeans would colloquially describe as, ‘your house downstairs’.

Talking about being shortlisted, Tan commented: “As a casual photography hobbyist, I am truly honoured to be shortlisted for such a prestigious competition. I am glad that my photos depicting a part of Singapore’s architectural heritage are showcased on an international platform.”

© Kajan Madrasmail, Singapore, Travel, Open, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Kajan Madrasmail ‘Spin Fun’ Open Smile category

Madrasmail is a self-taught photographer based in Singapore who has captured beautiful images across the Asia-Pacific; from India to Malaysia, and from Sri Lanka to Thailand.

His shortlisted image ‘Spin fun’ was taken during a regular walk at the playground with his seven year old son, who loves to spin around. With a camera hanging around his neck, Madrasmail was able to capture the panning shot of his spinning son smiling.

Madrasmail said, “I am very happy to be shortlisted in the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Open Competition as it is the most precious photography contest in the world.”

The Sony World Photography Awards rewards and recognises the world’s best contemporary photography. Attracting photographers of all abilities, the awards incorporate four competing categories: Professional; Open; Youth and Student. More information about the awards can be found at

Speaking about all the photographers who have been shortlisted this year, Scott Gray, CEO of the World Photography Organisation and organiser of the awards said, “We are extremely pleased with our jurors’ choices this year. Despite the increase in the number of photographers, and the amount of imagery that required judging, this year above all others we have witnessed a wealth of powerful imagery in both traditionally strong social documentary categories, as well as the art and conceptual work. It is wonderful for the medium that it can offer such rich diversity.”


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