Judges of the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards shortlisted one Israeli photographer in the professional competition and commended the work of another as one of the top 50 in the open competition.

In the professional competition, Ariel Tagar submitted a portrait gallery of proud Vespa enthusiasts in Kampala, Uganda.

Born and based in Tel Aviv, Tagar started out as a military photographer and then worked as a photojournalist for Israeli newspapers. He earned a bachelor’s degree in photography from the London College of Fashion in 2005. On his return to Tel-Aviv, he worked as a portrait, fashion and travel photographer in countries such as Jamaica, Uruguay, Ethiopia and Turkey.

“I’ve worked intensively across Africa in recent years and I’m thrilled this story got such international recognition,” Tagar said last week upon learning he was shortlisted. “I can’t wait for the Vespa Club members to see this!”

A picture of Joseph from the series “Uganda’s Vespa Club.” Copyright Ariel Tagar, Israel, Shortlist, Professional, Portraiture (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards

The judges also commended an image by Hadera resident Dina Alfasi as one of the top 50 entries in the culture category of the open competition.

Alfasi caught the judges’ eye with the image “Epiphany,” a meaningful shot of the Qasr El-Yahud baptismal site on the west bank of the Jordan River.

“I enjoy the challenge to tell a story with photos and to succeed in touching and exciting other people from different countries and cultures,” Alfasi said.

Orthodox Christian pilgrims participate in the traditional Epiphany baptism ceremony at the place where Jesus is believed to have been baptized. Copyright Dina Alfasi, Israel, Commended, Open, Culture (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards

She was shortlisted last year in the open street photography category for “Air,” a photo taken with her mobile phone while riding a city bus to her job as an engineer in Haifa.

The works of the shortlisted and commended photographers will be exhibited at the Sony World Photography Awards 2018 Exhibition in London from April 20 to May 6. The open competition winners will be announced March 20, and the overall and professional category winners revealed April 19, 2018.

Produced by the World Photography Organisation, the Sony World Photography Awards this year received a record breaking 320,000 submissions by photographers from more than 200 countries and territories.