Bernard Ward from Co Derry took the Irish top prize at this year’s Sony World Photography Awards, with preparations for bonfire night setting the scene.
How many pallets of wood do you need to build a bonfire? For Bernard Ward’s award-winning photo, the sky seemed to be the limit.
On 15 August last year, Derry prepared for bonfire night and Ward had his camera ready. Portraying the scene before a match had been sparked, the Derry native captured this year’s winning photo in the Ireland section of the Sony World Photography Awards.
“To win such an award like this, especially in the Ireland category, is such an honour for me,” said Ward.
“I enter the [competition] every year and I have always dreamed of winning such a prestigious award. Winning this award means everything to me and makes all the years of hard work in photography worthwhile.
“Photography is a passion, and to win an award like this is overwhelming for me. I have always admired the level of talent every year across all categories, and to be considered a winner is one of my biggest achievements to date.”
The photo was captured in Bogside area of Derry and, according to Ward, this bonfire was particularly controversial as it blocked a public road.
Gillian Hyland took second place in the Ireland category, with her image of a man in Havana. Aaron Dickson’s hospital shot landed him third prize.
“It’s wonderful to receive the award; the global exposure of the Sony Awards is impressive and a privilege to be a part of,” said Hyland.
In the open competition, ten winners were revealed, each receiving a Sony a7 II camera with lens kit. They were also shortlisted for the overall prize, announced in April.
Damien Demolder, chair of the open competition, said of the winning images: “It has been a pleasure and an inspiration to be exposed to such a volume of great work, and a privilege too that I could share in the personal moments, the joys, tears, life and losses of photographers from all around the globe, who recorded their experiences through their pictures.”
Below are the Irish trio’s images, as well as the 10 overall category winners.