Out of nearly 320,000 entries, VII’s Anush Babajanyan and Ashley Gilbertson’s photos were shortlisted for the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards (in the Portraiture and Landscape categories, respectively).
All shortlisted and winning images will be exhibited as part of the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London, which will run from April 20 until May 6, 2018.
About Anush Babajanyan’s series “The Twins of Koumassi”:
Mothers dress them in mirroring and often traditional outfits and bring them out and about the streets of central Abidjan, Ivory Coast. It is a belief that is centuries old here, and in several countries of West Africa, that twins have spiritual and mystical powers. When in need for a problem to be solved or for a positive change to happen, people often come to twins, donate to them and seek for a blessing, with the hope that the power of the twins will help their wishes come true. In the district of Koumassi in Abidjan, the twins and their mothers are concentrated around the area of the Koumassi Grande Mosque, where visitors of this mosque can see them after their prayers. The twins of different ages spend most of their day in this area, with others’ trust in their spiritual powers supporting the children and their families.
About Ashley Gilbertson’s series “Nigeria’s Battles With Boko Haram Scar the Land and Its People”:
Fom the sky, Borno State, the region where Boko Haram is most active, is a patchwork of fallow farmland, swaths of desert and a few swampy areas. Famine-like conditions are raging in the area, a region with a rich history of agriculture. Boko Haram has chased off all the farmers, and the militants themselves have fallen victim to food shortages. We spotted only a handful of vehicles on the roads as we passed overhead. The area is mostly a ghost town.