New photography award comes to Somerset House

This weekend, London's Somerset House has the privilege of hosting an exhibition of works by winners of the Syngenta Photography Award 2013 – a brand new competition that welcomes entries from amateur and professional photographers around the world.

The exhibition opens today and will run until Tuesday (May 17th to 21st), so those staying in London hotels this month have just a few days to see some of the best images that the contemporary photography world has to offer.

For its inaugural edition, the Syngenta Photography Award has chosen 'Rural-Urban' as its lofty theme. Participants have engaged with environmental concerns, tough living conditions and urban sprawl in a variety of inventive and arresting ways.

"The array of interconnecting themes which arise in the photos of this exhibition communicate an important dialogue regarding mankind's lack of resourcefulness," says Fariba Farshad, the award's curator.

An international panel of judges was tasked with selecting the very best images from a huge pool of 2,500 entries. The winners and runners-up in the professional and open categories represent a wide variety of different environments in countries around the world, including the US, Italy, Ukraine and Brazil.

Of the six finalists, exhibition-goers are sure to be astounded by Pablo Lopez Luz's vertiginous Mexico City landscapes and Vitaliy Popkov's image of a snowy rural Ukraine under the canopy of electrical wires.

The winner of the Open Competition Holly Lynton submitted a picture from a series taken on a farm in New England. "While photographing these workers, I was struck by how many mythical and religious references occurred naturally and spontaneously," she says.

Somerset House is one of the capital's most important artistic venues, enjoying an accessible central location between the Strand and the Thames. This impressive neoclassical building, looked after by the Somerset House Trust, is home to the Courtauld Gallery and hosts regular exhibitions – not to mention film screenings, concerts, workshops and even a winter ice rink.

The Syngenta Photography Award 2013 showcase is free to attend and takes place in the building's West Wing Galleries.

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