One photo of a pensive Congolese woman in her distinctive makeup could be mistaken for a Renaissance painting. Another, of a coal plant sending smoke plumes over a town in China, looks like a still from a 1950s propaganda film. And another, of a little girl yawning during an Indonesian festival, will just make you smile.
The images from the ninth annual Sony World Photography Awards, the largest photo competition in the world, come in many styles and flavors. More than 230,000 photos, taken from the past 12 months, were submitted by photographers in 186 countries. The World Photography Organization announced the grand prize winners for the 14 categories, ranging from sport to travel, last week.
The top award, the L'Iris d'Or Photographer of the Year, along with a $25,000 prize, went to a sobering subject: acid attack victims, documented by Iranian photojournalist Asghar Khamseh in his heart-wrenching series "Fire of Hatred."
The winning and shortlisted photos are on display at the Somerset House in London until May 8. We selected a few featured entries that show the faces and places we cover on our blog.
Editor's Note: Viewers may find the last image in this sequence disturbing.