The Sony World Photography Awards are edging towards their climax for another year, and that means another round of shortlisted images portraying subject matter as diverse as it is compelling. The jury has now filtered through the submissions of photographers hailing from 161 countries to wind up with the finalists in its Professional category. Let's take a look a some of the photos to make the cut.

The Professional competition is just one of four making up the Sony World Photography Awards, along with the Youth category for 12 to 19 year-olds, the Open category for the single best image, and the Student category, whose finalists were also announced this week.

Rather than an individual image, the Professional competition seeks to celebrate an artist's body of work by judging a photographic series of between five and 10 images as a whole. These are again sorted into 10 different categories, such as architecture, documentary, landscape and the natural world, and wildlife.

The shortlisted collection amounts to 120 images in all and includes action shots of protestors in Gaza (above), portraits of college students in their cramped dormitories, conflict at the Mexico-USA border and the night sky over Joshua Tree National Park (below).

The freshly announced Student shortlist, meanwhile, showcases the work of 10 students from around the world who were asked to respond to the themes of "Evolution" and "Belong." The 10 student finalists will all be flown to the awards ceremony in London on April 17, where the Photographer of the Year will also be announced, along with the winners of the Open and Youth categories.

To see the shortlisted images to catch our eye, jump on into the gallery.

View gallery - 62 images