Adam Ferguson wins 2022 Sony World Photography Awards
April 13, 2022
Australian photographer, Adam Ferguson, has won the prestigious 2022 Sony World Photography Awards Photographer of the Year grand prize for his series, Migrantes.
Migrantes is a series of ‘black and white self-portraits of migrants in Mexico, taken as they waited to cross the border into the United States’.
‘Photographed in collaboration with the subjects, Adam set-up the scene for each image, mounting a medium format camera on a tripod with a cable release and then stepped back, allowing the individuals to choose the moment of capture and participate in the process of documenting their lives.’
Adam described the work as ‘collaborating’ with migrants, in an attempt to ‘images that inspired empathy, rather than sympathy’.
‘By surrendering the control of capture and giving each migrant agency in the process of their representation, I hoped to subvert the narrative of marginalisation and create a story that felt more human, relatable and honest. I’m grateful to the brave and resilient individuals who agreed to work with me, and receive this award on behalf of them also. Winning the Photographer of the Year award gives this story another life. It allows a new audience to connect with the important stories of the individuals who shared their story with me.’
Adam pitched the project to the New York Times after US President Joe Biden took office, in anticipation of a rush of migrants to the US-Mexico border. While he feels the classic documentary photography done at the border was ‘valid and important’, Adam wanted to collaborate with his subjects to ‘add something new to the conversation’ that was ‘more intimate’.
Chair of the jury, Mike Trow, explained how by providing the migrants the shutter release and allowing them to choose how they want to be seen, ‘he’s given control back to people who normally probably feel they don’t have that much control in their life. So for us it quickly became clear it would be the winner of the Portraiture Section.’
The New York-based Adam has produced some brilliant photography over the last few years, which has caught the attention of judges from the Sony World Photography Awards and World Press Photo Contest (WPP). In 2020 he won the WPP Portrait category for a series showing Northern Iraq minority groups displaced by Islamic State; and another portrait series of Hong Kong protesters was a finalist in the 2020 Sony World Photography Awards.
Adam wins US$25,000, and the series also won the Portrait category. Click here for the category winners’ gallery.