The Sony World Photography Awards are in full swing for another year, and yet again the early signs are nothing short of amazing. The jury has just finalized the shortlist for the Open category of the 2019 edition, with those to make the cut putting all cultures and corners of the globe under the spotlight in breathtaking fashion.

Last year's Sony World Photography Awards drew more than 300,000 submissions and the 2019 event has again attracted huge numbers, with judges sifting through 327,000 photos sent in from 195 different countries, the largest haul in the competitions's 12-year history.

This means that just like last year, the shortlisted images are not only visually striking works of art, they offer fascinating insights into cultural peculiarities from all over the world. Take, for example, this snapshot captured during Bishwa Ijtema, the second largest Muslim congregation in Bangladesh.

Then there's this image from a show by a special horse unit of the Polish police.

Also in the mix are artful portraits and opportunistic snaps of endangered wildlife like the Arabian red fox (below) and the Ethiopian wolf.

The images are sorted into 10 different categories, including Architecture, Landscape, Motion, Culture, Portraiture, Natural World and Wildlife and Travel. In addition to battling it out to top those individual categories, contestants are also in the running to be crowned the Open category best overall image, which will be announced on April 17, 2019.

Alongside this competition, the Sony World Photography Awards also hold a contest for professionals and students, with those shortlisted images to be revealed on March 26.

Only 10 finalists for the Open category will be revealed later this month on February 26, but there's plenty on the shortlist to marvel at right now. Jump on into the gallery to see for yourself.

View gallery - 120 images