World Press Photo winning photographs

December 16, 2007

World Press Photo have been organising the world’s largest and most prestigious annual press photography contest for over 50 years. Today we look at 15 news images that are memorable for both the skill of the photographer and the events they portray.

World Press Photo winner 2004
Arko Datta, India, Reuters, 2004.
Woman mourns relative killed in tsunami, Cuddalore, India, Tamil Nadu, 28 December 2004

An independent non-profit organization founded in the Netherlands in 1955, World Press Photo organizes the world’s largest and most prestigious annual press photography contest. The prize-winning photographs are assembled into a traveling exhibition, which is visited by over two million people in more than 80 cities and 45 countries each year.

This year’s winning image by Spencer Platt depicts a car filled with young, affluent Lebanese returning to their homes after several weeks of bombings in Beirut. It could be debated that it is not the most provacative of photojournalistic images, but it does remind the viewer that victims of war don’t always fit into the usual historical view of war.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the contest and displays 200 images. The categories include spot news, contemporary issues, daily life, general news, portraits, people in the news, sports action, nature, sports features and arts and entertainment. Each of the images are explained with captions that completes the visual story. One image by Per-Anders Petterson depicts a nine year old sex worker from the Congo smoking a cigarette. A series by Pep Bonet shows several images from the single leg amputee sports club in Freetown Africa. Another memorable image by Akintunde Akinleye shows a man rinsing soot from his face at the scene of a petrol pipeline explosion in Nigeria.

Two Canadians have earned a place in the final standings. Paul Nicklen took first prize in Nature Stories for his images of sea leopards and Chris Anderson for his single entry in People in the News of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The World Press Photo Exhibit will take place at the Allen Lambert Galleria in Brookfield Place (Formerly BCE Place) until October 24th.

The winning photographs since its inception in 1955 can be found here

Winning image courtesy of Spencer Platt, USA, Getty Images20071002pressphotos.jpg

>Copyright information

World Press Photo of the Year: 1984

Pablo Bartholomew, India, Gamma.

Bhopal, India, December 1984.
Child killed by the poisonous gas leak in the Union Carbide chemical plant disaster.

About the image
Following the vehicles that were taking the dead to be cremated and buried, Bartholomew saw the body of a child, with eyes glazed, milky-white and staring up at him. He says winning put him on the map in the photojournalism world, while his image became an icon of grief and greed in the face of industrial disaster.

>About the foundation
>About the contest
>World Press Photo exhibition

>Copyright information

World Press Photo of the Year: 1975

>Stanley Forman, USA, The Boston Herald.

Boston, USA, 22 July 1975.
A woman and a girl are hurled down as the fire escape of their apartment building collapses.

About the image
Forman watched helplessly through his lens as everything gave way, with people, plants and metal tumbling through the air. His pictures were used in a safety campaign afterwards, and he still daydreams about taking more photographs that have that kind of impact.

>About the foundation
>About the contest
>World Press Photo exhibition

December 2005

Click Here for printable version of this article.

World Press Photo Contest Winners Editorial Staff
Professional Press Photography on an International Scale

Held annually, the World Press Photo Contest creates an overview of how press photographers tackle their work worldwide. It is the only international event of this stature, not simply bringing together pictures from all parts of the globe but also reflecting trends and developments in photojournalism, and revealing how the press gives us the news.

3rd prize; Portraits, Singles: Brent Stirton, Getty Images for Global Business Coalition against AIDS; AIDS orphan, South Africa: A young AIDS orphan stands in a field near Richards Bay, on the South African east coast. Both her parents are dead, and she is being cared for by members of her community. At least 15 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents to AIDS, most of them in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa has the largest number of individuals living with the HIV virus in a single country. In 2003 the government approved a national strategy to provide anti-retroviral treatment to 1.4 million South Africans within five years.

The entry forms for the annual contest come out in October and the deadline for entries is mid-January. Photographers, photo agencies, newspapers and magazines from around the globe submit their best news-related pictures of the previous year. The prizewinning photographers are invited to receive their awards at the annual Awards Days in Amsterdam. After the contest, the prize-winning photographs are assembled into a traveling exhibition that visits 40 countries. A yearbook presenting all prize-winning entries is published annually in six languages.

The contest jury is comprised of 13 picture editors, photographers and representatives of press agencies from different parts of the world and with widely divergent backgrounds. This brings to the process a breadth of experience, a variety of perception, and a contrast in viewpoint that keeps judging dynamic and fosters objectivity. The jury acts independently of World Press Photo, and the organization has no influence on its decisions. First, second and third prizes are awarded in 10 categories—for picture stories as well as single images—to encourage the submission of across-the-board and in-depth news photography.

2nd prize; Arts and Entertainment, Singles: Alfred Seiland, Austria, New York Times Magazine; Hanging gardens: A Marc Jacobs sundress, an Alexander McQueen chiffon gown, and a Max Mara printed silk dress hang among spring blossoms.

The main overall prize, the World Press Photo of the Year, is awarded for the single photograph that is not only the photojournalistic encapsulation the year, but also represents an issue, situation or event of great journalistic importance, and does so in a way that demonstrates an outstanding level of visual perception and creativity. The winner receives a cash prize and the latest digital camera from Canon.

In each category the photographer of the best single picture and the photographer of the best picture story/portfolio will receive Golden Eye Awards. The international jury of the 48th annual World Press Photo contest selected a color image of the Indian photographer Arko Datta of Reuters as World Press Photo of the Year 2004. The picture shows an Indian woman mourning the death of a relative who was killed in the Asian tsunami catastrophe. The picture was taken in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, on December 28, 2004.

Bottom: 1st prize; Portraits, Stories: Adam Nadel, USA, Polaris Images; Darfur portraits: Around two million people fled their homes and at least 150,000 were thought to have died as a result of violence that had affected the Darfur region of Sudan since early 2003. Rebel groups such as the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) claimed that Sudan’s government was oppressing black Africans in favor of Arabs. The government was accused of lending support to Arab militias such as the Janjaweed, which rebels said was conducting ethnic cleansing in the Darfur area. Amam Bohiger waits to return to a mountain hideout where she has been sheltering with her family for over a month. She has walked for two-and-a-half hours to fetch water, but says living nearer the well is too dangerous.

World Press Photo jury chairman Diego Goldberg from Argentina described the winning image as “a true spot news picture with a strong photographer’s point of view.” According to jury member Kathy Ryan, photo editor of the New York Times Magazine, Datta’s photograph is a “graphic, historical and starkly emotional picture.”

This year the World Press Photo contest broke two records: the number of photographers and the number of photographs entered: 4266 professional photographers from 123 countries entered 69,190 images. It was the first time that the judging was completely digital.

World Press Photo, founded in 1955, aims to support professional press photography on a wide international scale. Promotional activities include an annual contest, exhibitions, the stimulation of photojournalism through educational programs, and a greater visibility for press photography through a variety of publications. World Press Photo is run as an independent, non-profit organization with offices in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and is sponsored by Canon and TNT. Additional funding is derived from project sponsorship and subsidies. The organization is controlled by an independent management board.

Further information is available on the World Press Photo web site:

2nd prize; Sports Action, Stories: Donald Miralle Jr., USA, Getty Images; Olympic Games portfolio: Hao Wang of China and Seung Min Ryu of Korea compete for the gold medal in men’s singles table tennis. 1st prize; Sports Features, Stories: Daniel Silva Yoshisato, Peru, Agence France-Presse; Women’s football team, Peru: Churubamba is a farming community, 3850 meters above sea level in the Andahuaylillas district in the region of Cusco, Peru. Around 60 families farm and graze sheep and llamas. The women of Churubamba combine housework and farming activities with afternoons playing football in the village square. They are the Andahuaylillas district champions. The sports field doubles as village square and is central to community life.
1st prize; Sports Features, Singles: Adam Pretty, Australia, Getty Images; 200m freestyle heats at Olympic Games: Ian Thorpe of Australia starts from lane four and Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands from lane five, during the heats of the men’s 200m freestyle at the Olympic Games in Athens in August 2004. Both were picked to win the event. Thorpe beat the Dutch swimmer by 0.10 seconds in the heat, and went on to beat him again in the final, breaking an Olympic record in the process. (See Adam Pretty’s Pictures of the Year International winning image on page 16.) World Press Photo of the Year, 2004: Arko Datta, Reuters, December 28, 2004; Mourning a tsunami victim: A woman mourns a relative killed in the tsunami, at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, India. On December 26 a massive earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, triggered a series of deadly waves that traveled around the Indian Ocean, wreaking havoc in nine Asian countries, and causing fatalities as far away as Somalia and Tanzania. The quake was so strong that it altered the tilt of the planet by 2.5 cm. Nearly 300,000 people died or were reported missing, and millions were left destitute in the worst natural disaster in living memory. In India, the fishing communities in Tamil Nadu were among the worst hit, with homes, lives and livelihoods being wiped away.
2nd prize; Spot News, Singles: Shaul Schwarz, Corbis, February 27, 2004; Young boy looting: An Haitian child loots a piece of meat at the main commercial seaport at Port-au-Prince in February. In the last week of February, looters raided aid-agency warehouses, making off with hundreds of tons of food and commodities. News of oncoming rebel armies had thrown the streets into chaos. Looting, hijacking and rioting were widespread. For some months, opposition to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide had been growing in both violence and intensity. Originally heralded as a savior of the poor, Aristide was increasingly seen as corrupt and inefficient. The situation reached a head on February 5 when rebel forces seized Gonaïves, Haiti’s fourthlargest city, and went on to take other towns around the country. On February 29, President Aristide resigned and left the country. (See Shaul’s Pictures of the Year winning image on page 20.) 3rd prize; Art and Entertainment, Stories: Marcello Bonfanti, Italy; Cuban drag queens: Drag queens prepare for, and perform in, an underground show in Havana, Cuba. Similar shows happen in neighborhoods all over the city, but still need to be advertised through select networks of those in the know. Although macho attitudes remain embedded in Cuban society as a whole, the official stance on sexual minorities, including transvestites, has relaxed.
2nd prize; People in the News, Singles: Paul Vreeker, The Netherlands, Reuters; Protest against deportation: Iranian asylum-seeker Mehdy Kavousi sewed up his lips and eyelids and went on a hunger strike to protest against his threatened deportation from the Netherlands, in February 2004. That month, in a move to tighten immigration procedures, the Dutch government had proposed legislation to expel some 26,000 unsuccessful asylum-seekers. Kavousi ended his protest after 44 days, with the authorities refusing to budge. Officials had said that in order to stay with his Dutch partner, he needed to have filled out a form in Iran. The immigration department turned down his request that an exception be made to this rule. A month after ending his protest, after new information had come to light, Kavousi’s case was re-opened and he was given leave to remain in the Netherlands. 1st prize; Daily Life, Stories: Jan Grarup, Denmark, Politiken/Rapho for Geo Germany; Roma in Slovakia: The Roma form the second largest minority group in Slovakia, yet as a group they tend to suffer disproportionately higher rates of unemployment, poverty and disease. Most live in extremely deprived conditions, often in camps in marginal or devastated zones, with few facilities. Improved social welfare and human rights legislation, passed by the Slovak government on the eve of the country’s joining the European Union in May 2004, does not appear to have reached the ground. Slovak prejudice against the Roma is deep-rooted. In the village of Trebisov in eastern Slovakia, hundreds of Roma live in dilapidated old housing complexes.
2nd prize; General News, Stories: Paolo Pellegrin, Italy, Magnum Photos for Vanity Fair; Yasser Arafat’s funeral: Yasser Arafat died in a military hospital in Paris on November 11 at the age of 75, after decades as Palestinian leader. Tens of thousands of Palestinians converged on the Muqata compound in Ramallah for his burial two days later, even though the Israeli army had closed off other towns in the West Bank and prevented people travelling from the Gaza Strip. Mourners climbed on to the few high structures in the compound to get a first glimpse of the helicopter that arrived bearing his body, and crowds swarmed the landing pad. Arafat’s coffin was placed in a concrete and marble tomb, into which officials poured soil from Jerusalem. The Palestinian leader had said that he wished to be laid to rest in the ancient city, but permission had been refused. After the burial, mourners chanted and fired guns in the air in tribute. Arafat’s death was seen to mark a turning point in Middle-Eastern politics. The election of his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, as president of the Palestinian National Authority in 2005, lent renewed impetus to the peace process. 2nd prize; People in the News: Ami Vitale, USA, Getty Images; Kashmir: The dispute between India and Pakistan over claims to the mountainous northern region of Kashmir has continued for more than 50 years, and has at least twice led to war between the two nuclear powers. The area is controlled by India, but has a 60 percent Muslim majority. Since 1989, in addition to the demands of Delhi and Islamabad, several other separatist groups have pursued rival claims to the territory, and Muslim insurgency has been on the increase. Cross-border firing and separatist militancy have left a death toll running into the tens of thousands. Towards the end of 2004, India and Pakistan appeared to reach some rapprochement over Pakistan, and tensions eased.
1st prize; Nature, Stories: Carsten Peter, Germany, National Geographic Magazine; Inside tornadoes: Tornadoes number among the Earth’s most violent natural occurrences, yet no one fully understands how they work. Chasing tornadoes for science requires skilled forecasts, plenty of stamina and an ability to get out of the way quickly. Researcher Tim Samaras drops a probe in the path of a tornado before racing back to his van. 1st prize; Sports Action, Singles: Bob Martin, United Kingdom, Sports Illustrated; 200m freestyle heats at Paralympic Games: Spanish swimmer Xavi Torres sets off at the start of the 200m freestyle heats at the Paralympic Games in Athens in September 2004. Torres, all of whose limbs have been amputated, went on to come sixth in the 200m finals, but picked up a silver medal in the 150m individual medley and a bronze in the 4x50m relay medley. Swimming has been one of the main sports in the Paralympics since the first games were held in 1960. International swimming rules are followed with just a few exceptions, such as optional platform or in-water starts, but no prostheses or assistive devices are permitted.
1st prize; Contemporary Issues, Stories: Michael Wolf, Germany, Laif Photos & Reportagen for Stern Magazine, China; Factory for the world: In recent years China has grown to become the world’s fifth largest exporter of merchandise and has one of the world’s fastest growing economies. A huge influx of migrant workers is required to meet demand in city factories.

Akintunde Akinleye

The winners of 2007 were announced in February already, and today the exhibition tour, featuring many prizewinning photos, started in the Oude Kerk in Amsterdam. The exhibition will be in many cities around the world. If you would like to see if the exhibition comes in a city near you, click here.

Fayez Nureldine

By clicking on the photos I posted here, you can find out the story behind them and their photographers.

One Response to “World Press Photo winning photographs”

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