South Africa’s Coenraad Heinz Torlage of the Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography has been named Student Photographer of the Year 2021 by the World Photography Organisation.
The overall winner in the Sony World Photography Awards 2021, earning the Photographer of the Year title, is documentarian Craig Easton of the United Kingdom, for his series Bank Top. He was awarded a $25,000 cash prize and a range of Sony’s digital imaging kit.
Torlage won €30,000 worth of Sony photography equipment for his institution, for a series entitled Young Farmers. It was created in response to the brief, Our Time, which asked students to depict the way they and their contemporaries see the world and how they plan to change it for the better. In Young Farmers, Torlage, who grew up on a farm himself, set out to photograph the next generation of farmers as they face challenges concerning severe droughts, safety and debates around land ownership alongside their contributions towards a fairer and more equitable future of sustainability and food security.
“I have been through an experience that is almost impossible to describe,” says Torlage. “I often dreamt of winning and prayed that I could share my country and the amazing people in it with the world. I believe in the young farmers of South Africa which this country needs in terms of food sustainability and ecological awareness.”
Currently in his final year of studies at the Stellenbosch Academy, Torlage says he aspires to share South African perspectives within a global sensibility. The South African narrative is visually strong and culturally complex, and Torlage sees it as his mission to tell these stories truthfully through the lens of his camera. Visit www.torlages.co.za for more information about him.
The video features interviews, behind-the-scenes clips and reactions from winning photographers and is available to view via worldphoto.org/ceremony-2021.
A virtual exhibition of winning and finalists’ work, A Year in Photos from the Sony World Photography Awards 2021, a documentary feature hosted by art historian Jacky Klein and entertainer Nish Kumar; can be viewed at worldphoto.org/announcement-2021.