The Sony World Photography Awards, the world’s leading photographic competition, is aimed at recognizing and rewarding the best contemporary photographers from across the globe.

The competition offers an unparalleled opportunity for exposure to photographers at all stages of their career. Free to enter, photographers of all abilities are invited to submit either their best single shots or series of work. Photos are then judged by the World Photography Organisation (WPO), and a specially selected jury from the World Photographic Academy made up of the industry’s most esteemed individuals.

The competition includes categories across all genres of photojournalism, fine art and commercial photography. In 2015, it attracted over 173,000 entries from 171 countries. In addition to $30,000 in cash prizes for Professional and Open Photographers of the Year, category winners are also awarded the latest digital imaging equipment from Sony.

Every year the publication relations campaign for the competition permeates all types of media and sparks huge interest not only in the winners, but for those on the shortlist too. Coverage can be seen everywhere from the world’s most widely circulated publications and most read websites to spreads in glossy magazines and renowned photographic trade titles.

Flip through the mind-blowing images above to get a taste of this year’s top photography talent.

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