Story behind the Sony World Photo Shortlist – Tugo Cheng

Rebecca Greig

Sony has recently announced the shortlisted photographers for the Sony World Photo awards, we talked to Tugo Cheng about Farming the Sea

© Tugo Cheng
© Tugo Cheng

 What camera and settings did you use to take the shot?

Camera: Canon EOS 5DS R (handheld)

Focal length: 600mm

Shutter speed: 1/1250 sec

Aperture: f/6.3

ISO: 400

How much planning was involved? Did you go out with an idea of the kind of shot you wanted?

The original idea was to capture the golden sunset with light and shadow on the sea but it turned out a cloudy afternoon without much sunlight on the day of shooting. However, it has an unexpectedly good result when the photograph is flattened with purely lines and shapes.

Can you tell us a little more about the image?

This photo was taken in Fujian Province, China, and is part of my black and white series “Discovering Fujian”. It captured a fisherman “farming” in the sea in between the long bamboo rods constructed offshore for aquaculture purposes. It illustrates that human beings have shaped the environment and created interesting sceneries unintentionally when they are struggling for food. Similar example is the UNESCO listed terraced fields in Yunnan Province constructed by the Hani people, an ethnic minority in China, for growing rice.

What do you like about the picture?

The black and white execution distilled the image into pure patterns and geometries with human scale. It signifies human activities in nature with an artistic approach to landscape photography. The result is an abstract and poetic composition which resembles Chinese painting.

 Did you do much to it in post-processing?

Only basic post-processing was involved.

How do you feel about being one of the shortlisted photographers?

I feel very honoured to be shortlisted especially when there is a record-breaking 230,000 entries this year. It is a great opportunity to share the beautiful and unique landscapes in China with more people from around the world. The shortlisted image ‘Farming the sea’ is a black and white photo with a minimal composition which is very different from my winning entry in National Geographic Photo Contest last year, a dramatically colourful and textured image.

All the shortlisted images will be shown at Somerset House, London as part of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition from 22 April – 8 May 2016.

The shortlisted photographers are now competing to win their category and the L’Iris d’Or Photographer of the Year and Open Photographer of the Year titles plus a share of the $30,000 grand prize, the winners will be announced at a Gala Ceremony in London on the 21 April 2016

The Sony World Photography Awards rewards and recognises the world’s best contemporary photography from the last year. Attracting photographers of all abilities, the awards incorporate four competitions: Professional; Open; Youth and Student.

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