Student Photographer of the Year 2023


I feel amazing! The moment that I received this award will be imprinted in my memory. It’s a stunning acknowledgement of my efforts and an opportunity to show off Yunnan, China to the world. I am overwhelmed by happiness and profound gratitude.

Your acclaimed program Keep the Yunnan Opera shows the diminishing numbers of actors and audience members in traditional opera. How did you learn about this particular opera? What enticed you to create an image story?

Yunnan My hometown has the distinction of being the place where it all began for Yunnan Opera. In 2019, I first discovered the magic of this particular art form and since then my desire to understand the rich tapestry of its culture has never stopped. In the span over three months, I set off on a series of trips to the bustling sanctuaries in Yunnan Opera, immersing myself in its past. It has stood the years, traversing the times from its heyday of the Qing Dynasty, the Xinhai Revolution and China’s Republic of China, and the birth of the People’s Republic of China. Through a series of difficulties, this remarkable cultural heritage has risen with its stunning beauty being a constant reminder to the amazing history.

Unfortunately, many people in the area remain ignorant of this treasure. So, fueled by my love of photography, I strive to bring out the beauty of Yunnan Opera, unveiling its stunning beauty to a larger audience, and encouraging people to discover the secrets of this opera and protect its rich history. By doing this I pay tribute to the rich culture of my dear home town.

(c) Jing Long, China Mainland, Student Photographer of the Year, In a Changing World, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

What advice would you offer students considering a participation in the next Sony World Photography Awards?

In the world of sensory overload, where our eyes are constantly bombarded by visual stimuli We must strive to slow down, think and make works that have importance and are grounded in compelling stories. These words have ignited a fire in me which has reminded me that, as a young generation, it is essential to discover and develop our own art forms, while remaining committed to our goals. We will surely forge our own path, ultimately developing a persona that is unique.

What do you think you felt like go to this ceremony, and then accept the award on the stage on April 1st?

I’m ecstatic and absolutely filled with joy! The applause and thunderous cheers from the crowd and the encouragement that I’ve received have brought an unimaginable emotion within me. I feel a profound love for everyone who has cherished me and have an immense amount of respect for this prestigious award.

(c) Jing Long, China Mainland, Student Photographer of the Year, In a Changing World, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

What was it like seeing your images being put on display in the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition?

Then, artworks and diverse cultures from around the globe came together and gave a glimpse into the many different art and culture to a larger public. This is a deep desire of photographers just like us to act as documentary photographers, sharing our images and artistic expressions with a wider range of people.

Have you learned about your photography following the announcement of overall winners?

I have gotten a significant amount of media coverage and have was privileged to participate in discussions with other award-winning photographers. This has not only boosted my personal perspective, but also enhanced my perceptions.


Have you thought about what you’ll photograph / do the next time around?

I will continue to observe my surroundings for cultural manifestations while actively searching for the subtle aspects of culture that are teetering in the midst of demise amid the rapid waters of growth. By using the power of images art I will preserve and preserve these precious objects. As I look ahead, once I have completed my art studies and photography, I would like to pursue an education in law and pass the judicial test, contributing to the protection of property rights and copyright in China’s rapidly growing new media landscape. The next step is to obtain the opportunity to study for an advanced program for documentary photography at London, UK. This transformational journey is bound to further improving my photographic perspectives.

What makes platforms such as the Awards crucial in promoting your story and getting your photos noticed around the globe?

As photographer, I’ve realized that the power of an individual is restricted, especially for independent photographers who are exploring their own themes. It can be difficult to find the right balance between producing outstanding artworks and making an impressive self-promotion that is often essential for photographers. The images and concepts that we create are begging for an audience that is larger, since they are through the acceptance that we gain the motivation and ability to continue to improve our work. I’d like to convey my deepest gratitude to the contest for giving me this amazing chance.

(c) Jing Long, China Mainland, Student Photographer of the Year, In a Changing World, Sony World Photography Awards 2023

What do you think the Awards helps photographers at every phase of their career?

I am convinced that each step of the photographer’s journey is crucial, particularly for photographers who are young and aspiring who face difficulties like limited resources and choosing subjects that are suitable, which can cause feeling of being unimportant or anxious. My opinion is that the most important thing awards provide photographers is motivation! It is the most powerful source of motivation, or at the very least that’s what I see it.

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