From portraits of Bolivia's female wrestling team to scenes from China's 'Szechuan Alps', the winner and shortlist of the fifth annual Zeiss Photography Award captures far-reaching moments of the human experience in response to this year's theme of discovery.

Two young boys dressed up in bear costumes
Sakhawood documents the popular film industry in the remote

The World Photography Organisation recently announced the winner and shortlist of the fifth annual Zeiss Photography Award. This year's theme was Seeing Beyond: Discoveries. Taking home the top prize was South Korean photographer KyeongJun Yang for his series Metamorphosis, which explores the immigrant experience through a series of black and white photography with a focus on Julie Chen - a young woman who emigrated to the US from China at the age of 12.

"Winning this award still feels like a dream," Yang, an international student at the University of Texas, said. As the overall winner, he was awarded €12,000 worth of Zeiss lenses and €3000 to cover costs of a photography project. "I am glad not only because I've won, but also because now I know I'm not the only person who likes my images," he added. "I'm happy my photographs have been enjoyed by others, somehow they don't seem as lonely anymore."

KyeongJun Yang Korea Republic of ZEISS Photography Award 2020 2_0.jpg
Winner: Metamorphosis by KyeongJun Yang (South Korea) gives an insight into the immigrant experience o ©KyeongJun Yang

Other shortlisted entries include The Flying Cholitas by Luisa Dörr from Brazil, which documents the Fighting Cholitas of Bolivia, the female wrestling groups who now stand as a symbol of female empowerment. In Sakhawood, Russian photographer Alexey Vasilyev documents the popular film industry in the remote Yakutia region in Russia. While in Like a Father, Like a Mountain, Pan Wang (China) returns to the great Qinling mountain range, otherwise known as the Sichuan Alps, to recapture childhood scenes shared with his late father.

A Bolivian female wrestler performs in the ring while a referee looks on
The Flying Cholitas by Luisa Dörr (Brazil) looks at the Fighting Cholitas of Bolivia ©Luisa Dörr

Following the Zeiss award, the World Photography Organisation was set to present the Sony World Photography Awards 2020 exhibition but it has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The organisation said it is working on a series of online initiatives to support and celebrate the winner and shortlist entrants' works.

Explore related stories