Ravensbourne student shortlisted for Sony World Photography Award

Award-nominated photo of man on a building site in Ecuador
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Article by: David Millett

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Matias Garcia, a Ravensbourne BA (Hons) Digital Photography student, has been shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Awards 2021 in the student category for his series depicting life on an Ecuadorian construction site.

The Sony World Photography Awards are run annually by the World Photography Association and are split into four competitions, separated into Professional, Open, Student and Youth categories. The theme for the 2021 Student Competition was ‘Building a Better Future’, with entrants tasked to find and depict stories of hope after a challenging 2020. They had to submit between 5 and 10 images showcasing individuals or communities working towards this goal.

Award-nominated photo of man on a building site in Ecuador

Matias’s entry is ‘Faces’, a series shot in Ecuador featuring David Vasconez, an architect building his own house using sustainable methods. The black-and-white photos depict David and his team as they bring the project to life during the pandemic.

Portrait of an Ecuadorian man on a construction site

Located 2km from the equator, the project features canals, solar panels, a natural refrigeration system and an irrigation system, designed to help reduce energy and water consumption in an area where these are both especially precious resources.

In the next stage of the competition, Matias and the other finalists must fulfil a second brief, titled ‘Our Time’. One overall winner will be announced on 15 April 2021, taking home a prize which includes €30,000 of Sony imaging equipment for their institution.

Reflecting on his win, Matias said: “This is a great prize to have won – I'm really happy that my work has been acknowledged in this way. The subject of my submission was a series of photographs based on the building of a sustainable house in Ecuador, focusing on the builders and the process of building the house that was building a better future.

“Currently, I am working on a follow up project that will be my second submission to the Sony awards. This is based on a small community in the Amazon who are working hard to refocus their identity using a more natural and traditional form of living.

Portrait of an Ecuadorian man on a construction site

“I really feel that this work has transcended the competition into something more meaningful, and I have been overwhelmed by how this community is living in such an authentic way. There is a real lesson here for us all.”

Digital Photography Course Leader Geraint Cunnick said: "This is a significant achievement for Matias but also for the university as well. Matias's work has been recognised as being of real excellence within a global context and is a real testament to his abilities as a photographer that puts him in the top 10 globally of students studying photography."

We are incredibly proud of Matias for this major achievement, which recognises him as one of the world’s most talented photography students. He is one of only 10 students from institutions across the globe vying for the overall prize, which will be presented to one winner in April. We wish Matias all the best with the second round of the competition. 

Ravensbourne's brand new Digital Photography top up (year 3 entry) launches in September 2021. This one-year, online level six award is the flexible choice for final-year photography students.