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Sony World Photography Awards capture everyday struggles across the world

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  • Ten finalists aged 21-28 from every continent present stunning images to Sony World Photography Awards
  • Pictures give glimpse into lives of everyday people around the world from children to the elderly
  • Images include a blind man in china and young twins whose world will change when forced to live apart
  • Student photographers competing for prize of £28,860 (€35,000) worth of Sony photography equipment

By Deni Kirkova

PUBLISHED: 06:05 EST, 20 February 2014 | UPDATED: 07:44 EST, 20 February 2014

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It's not your average street scene but a proud, defiant and somewhat hairy man stands wearing fishnet tights in a dark alley holding a pair of spiked heels.

Was he caught unawares while dabbling in his hidden past time? Luckily not, because this image is actually the work of young photography student Nadia Navarro, 28, from Argentina; one of ten finalists competing for the Sony World Photography Awards Student Focus gong.

Nadia hopes her portrait, highlighting the plight of men who feel they need to hide their female sides, will scoop the prize of £28,860 (€35,000) worth of Sony photography equipment.

Nadia Navarro, 28, from Argentina hopes her portrait Men's Doesn't Hide Their Women Side Anymore will scoop the Sony prize

Nadia Navarro, 28, from Argentina hopes her portrait Men's Doesn't Hide Their Women Side Anymore will scoop the Sony prize

She says of the idea behind her work: 'People who fight against the society prejudices with daily little actions which defy the pre-establishment are tomorrow's rebels'

Other photos in the running include the work of Danish Tor Birk Trads, 27, dubbed Jens who has ADHD. His portrait shows a young, blue-eyed boy staring sleepily down the lens of the camera and highlights the struggle of children with special needs.


He explains: 'The story behind the picture is that the Danish government has decided to include special needs children in regular public schools. And they have closed a lot of the schools who took care of special needs children,' says Tor.

'The idea is that the special needs children should be included in the daily life of kids with "normal" intelligence.

'But the backside is that the inclusions don't always work very well. The teachers are not yet educated and they lack time to deal with the special needs children.'

In the running is the work of Danish Tor Birk Trads, 27, dubbed Jens Has ADHD. The Danish government has decided to include special needs children in regular public schools

In the running is the work of Danish Tor Birk Trads, 27, dubbed Jens Has ADHD. The Danish government has decided to include special needs children in regular public schools

The Sony World Photography Awards Student Focus competition aims to showcase and reward emerging photography talent and support and inspire the future generation of photographers.

Photography students around the world were asked to submit a single image to the brief Tomorrow’s News, and a jury of industry experts selected ten finalists.

The finalists range between 21 and 28 and come from from every continent in the world. They now compete for tens of thousands of pounds worth of Sony photography equipment.

One of the youngest finalists is South Africa's Tara Mette, 21. Her photo, Human Nature At Its Best portrays disabled Don Wessels, 53, lovingly cradling his two-year-old son and surrounded by his family.

'[He] has been disabled and blind for 27 years,' explains Tara.

'In 1987 he was conscripted into the Apartheid era South African army, compulsory at the time. In 1988 he was on a reconnaissance investigation in the Angolan bush where he suffered a near fatal explosion from a misidentified object that was in fact a landmine. The explosion took his sight and both his hands.

Tara Mette, 21, presents her Human Nature At Its Best portrait of disabled Don Wessels, 53, cradling his two-year-old son

Tara Mette, 21, presents her Human Nature At Its Best portrait of disabled Don Wessels, 53, cradling his two-year-old son

'Since his accident, Don has obtained a BA Degree at the University of Stellenbosch, an Honors and Masters post graduate degrees in international politics with UNISA. He was nominated as a candidate running for Parliament in 1999.

'To Don, his best accomplishment was to marry his wife, Maatje van Wyk in 2001. The couple have had many adventures including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and they have twice completed a four day canoeing trip down the Orange River. Their first born baby, Matteo, was born on the 15th October 2007 and their second, Francois, on 8 June 2009.

'The image talks about Don living in two worlds, his own world and his families. Don spends each day with his two-year-old son whom he is holding; he keeps him occupied through out the day because he is too young to go to kindergarten. Don lives in a world were his senses are the most important factor of his life, all this combined with his roles as a father and husband .His reality is different from anyone around him and he has mastered that reality as best as he can.'

Another South African entry is from Russell Bruns, 26. He says of his work: 'South Africa's desegregated top-tier schools still face challenges of diversity and old institutional ideologies'

Another South African entry is from Russell Bruns, 26. He says of his work: 'South Africa's desegregated top-tier schools still face challenges of diversity and old institutional ideologies'

Another South African entry is from Russell Bruns, 26, with his picture of a lone shcoolboy looking unsure, standing in a corridor.

Entitled Heewon, Grade 1, Courtrai Primary School, Paarl, South Africa, Bruns says of his work: 'South Africa's desegregated top-tier schools still face challenges of diversity and old institutional ideologies.'

British Scarlet Evans, 22, who studies at Central Saint Martins, presents her entry #ThenewNewTestament - a picture of a sign outside a church, promoting Bible scripture and social media engagement.

She says: 'The internet has become an almost holy entity in the supreme power that it represents, can religion really be immune to its take over? In truth, the internet is already its own kind of religion.'

British Scarlet Evans, 22, who studies at Central Saint Martins, presents her entry #ThenewNewTestament

British Scarlet Evans, 22, who studies at Central Saint Martins, presents her entry #ThenewNewTestament

Jordan VanSise, 24, from the USA, submits a Self Portrait. 'I often find it difficult to know where I stand with myself,' he says

Jordan VanSise, 24, from the USA, submits a Self Portrait. 'I often find it difficult to know where I stand with myself,' he says

Jordan VanSise, 24, from the USA, submitted his Self Portrait, above, explaining:

'I often find it difficult to know where I stand with myself. While I try to hold on to the value and the beauty of this life, I am constantly reminded of the things I have come witness to and I wonder what the point of all this is,' he says.

Li Dandan, 22, from China, offers his portrait Liu Yuanhuang, who has an eye condition. He said on September 23, 2013, in Qikou, Shanxi, China, of his work: 'I'm not an alien, it's just glaucoma!'

Rahul Talukder, 23, from Bangladesh, presents his work, Rana Plaza Tragedy. 'More than 1,130 workers died and 2,500 injured in this deadliest garment-factory accident in history,' he says.

Li Dandan, 22, from China, takes his portrait Liu Yuanhuang through to the final. He said: 'I'm not an alien, it's just glaucoma!'

Li Dandan, 22, from China, takes his portrait Liu Yuanhuang through to the final. He said: 'I'm not an alien, it's just glaucoma!'

Rahul Talukder, 23, from Bangladesh, presents his work, Rana Plaza Tragedy. 'More than 1,130 workers died and 2,500 injured,' he says

Rahul Talukder, 23, from Bangladesh, presents his work, Rana Plaza Tragedy. 'More than 1,130 workers died and 2,500 injured,' he says

Chloe Riddell, 25, from New Zealand's picture The Twins portrays brother and sister in their final moments before being separated

Chloe Riddell, 25, from New Zealand's picture The Twins portrays brother and sister in their final moments before being separated

Perhaps one of the saddest images is Chloe Riddell, 25, from New Zealand's picture The Twins. It portrays brother and sister in their final months before being separated to live separatly. 'Twins Tayah and James living with Nana, three months before their separation from each other,' she says.

Romania's Sebastian Vacariuc, 23, submits Old Man On A Field Where The City Ends. He says: 'This photography was taken on a field at the limit of Cluj-Napoca city in Transylvania. At a certain moment, an old man appeared and started walking around. He seemed absorbed by inner thoughts, by a sort of vision or premonition.'

All ten finalists have now been set a second brief, to submit a series of images under the title Self-Portraits. They will be shown at the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at Somerset House, London from May 1-18 and published in the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards book.

From this work, the Student Focus judges will choose one overall student winner who will be announced at the Sony World Photography Awards gala ceremony in London on 30 April.

Many previous finalists of the Student Focus competition are now working regularly in the photography industry, say Sony.

Romania's Sebastian Vacariuc, 23, submits Old Man On A Field Where The City Ends. The photography was taken in on a field at the limit of Cluj-Napoca city in Transylvania

Romania's Sebastian Vacariuc, 23, submits Old Man On A Field Where The City Ends. The photography was taken in on a field at the limit of Cluj-Napoca city in Transylvania

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