Over 330 000 images from 220 territories were submitted to the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards and over 165 000 were entered to the open competition (from which the National Awards winner was selected).

Azelda Olivier's photograph was shot for a project that studied colour theory and uses a warm colour palette. The image further explores colour by analysing its socially constructed meaning. It uses the colour pink, which is often associated with femininity, to blur the lines between gender stereotypes.

Azelda Olivier is a 22-year-old second-year visual communications student at the Open Window Institute for Arts and Digital Sciences, South Africa. He says that he never took art in school and only began his creative journey in 2020, when he left his studies in finances to study graphic design.

He considers this a big leap of faith that led to him finding his true passion. Olivier says that he is excited to keep learning and see how his future will unfold.

"This award truly means the world to me. I shot this photograph at the very beginning of my photography studies, so the recognition from this award will unquestionably help me trust my creative instincts and to be more self-confident," says Olivier.

"I'm filled with gratitude for the opportunity to showcase my work and to receive a voice through this wonderful platform. I hope that this photograph inspires at least one individual," concludes Olivier.

As the South African National Award winner, Olivier receives Sony digital imaging equipment. The overall winners in the student, youth, open and professional competition of the Sony World Photography Awards 2021 will be announced on Thursday, 15 April via the World Photography Organisation's digital and video platforms.

For more information, visit www.worldlphoto.org.