The independent non-profit organization World Press Photo recently announced the results of its 63rd annual competition. Last Thursday the winners were announced in the nominations Photo of the Year, Story of the Year plus winners in 8 categories. In total, about 74 thousand works from 4,282 photographers were sent. As a result, 44 winners were selected (30 of which received these prizes for the first time) from 24 countries.
A jury of 17 professionals from 6 countries selected Yasuyoshi Chiba’s “Straight Voice” as Photo of the Year.
“This was the only peaceful group of protesters that I met during my entire stay. I felt their invincible solidarity, like burning coals that continue to flare up again and again,” says Chiba about his photography.
Romain Lorendo’s “Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt” photo essay, capturing the discontent of Algerian youth, which led to the largest protests in the entire previous decade, was chosen as Story of the Year.
“Part of me could not help but recognize myself in these young people. They are young, but tired of this situation and just want to live like everyone else,” says Lorendo.
The works of all winners of the contest can be found on the World Press Photo page.
The photographs and multimedia projects of the winners will be exhibited at the World Expo held every year in Amsterdam. The launch date has been delayed due to the current pandemic. Those planning to attend events can register in advance on the World Press Photo event calendar.
Photo of the year: Straight Voice — Yasuoshi Chiba (Japan), Agence France-Presse.
Description: A young man illuminated by mobile phones reads a poem as protesters shout slogans calling for civil rule during a power outage in Khartoum, Sudan, on June 19.
Story: The protests began in the city of Atbara in December 2018. The reason was reportedly a tripling in the price of bread, but then the focus expanded and the protests quickly spread throughout the country. By April 2019, protesters staged a sit-in close to the army headquarters in the capital Khartoum demanding an end to Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year rule.
On April 11, al-Bashir was removed from office in a military coup and a transitional military government was installed. The protests continued with the demand for the transfer of power to the civilians. On June 3, government forces opened fire on unarmed demonstrators. Many people were killed and many more suffered in the ensuing violence. Three days later, the African Union suspended Sudan’s activities in the union in the midst of widespread international condemnation of the attack.
Authorities sought to stop the protests by cutting off power and blocking Internet access. Protesters communicated via text messages, word of mouth and megaphones, while resistance to the military government continued. Ultimately, the pro-democracy movement successfully signed a power-sharing agreement with the military on 17 August.
History of the year: “Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt” (Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt) — Romain Lorendo (France).
Description: Football fans gather outside and sing on the day of a match played behind closed doors due to violent outbreaks in Algiers, Algiers on November 22, 2014.
Story: Young people make up half of Algeria’s population, and according to a UNESCO report, 72% of people under 30 in Algeria are unemployed.
At key moments in Algeria’s history, such as the Black October uprising of 1988, angry youth were the driving force behind change. Black October was brutally suppressed — more than 500 people were killed within 5 days, followed by a “black decade” of violence and unrest.
Thirty years later, the effects of that decade are still being felt. High unemployment leaves many bored and frustrated with everyday life, and young people feel disconnected from the state and its institutions. In poor working-class neighborhoods like Bab el Oued in Algiers, young people often seek refuge and escape from the poverty of everyday life in “wilds” — private spaces that become “bubbles of freedom”, away from social oversight and conservative values. However, a sense of community and solidarity is usually not enough to cope with all the complexities of a poor life.
In February 2019, groups of young workers once again filled the streets, and became a real national challenge to the long-term rule of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Kho (a word meaning “brother” in colloquial North African Arabic) is about the beginning of a rebellion. It is a story of deep anxiety among young people who, daring to defy the authorities, inspired the rest of the population to join their action, spawning the largest protest movement in Algeria in decades.
Contemporary Issues, Photography, First Place: Nothing Personal — the Back Office of War — Nikita Tereshin (Russia).
Description: A businessman hides anti-tank grenade launchers at the end of an exhibition day at the International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 18.
Story: IDEX is the largest military exhibition in the Middle East and one of the major arms fairs in the world. No official attendance figures are released, but the event attracted 1,200 defense professionals, 1,300 exhibitors and over 105,000 visitors, according to UAE state media.
Visitors include defense ministers, chiefs of staff and key government decision makers who interact in conference rooms, various events during the show and at back office meetings. Combat actions are demonstrated on screens and dummies, as well as outdoor demonstrations and daily performances of water battles.
Modern problems, photo essay, first place: The Longest War — Lorenzo Tagnoli (Italy) for The Washington Post.
Description: A demining team from the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) detonates an improvised explosive device found on the Ghazni-Kandahar highway in eastern Afghanistan December 2, 2019. Improvised explosive devices are one of the main causes of casualties among civilians and ANDSF.
Story: In 2019, the Taliban recaptured significant territories and increased their influence in Afghanistan. Eighteen years after the US invasion and five years after the ANDSF became responsible for the defense of Afghanistan, the Taliban control or compete with troops for nearly half of the country, operating as a shadow government in some areas.
Peace talks that began in January seemed to be moving towards an agreement in August, but were thwarted by US President Donald Trump in September. Fighting intensified during the talks as both sides tried to gain leverage, while on the ground the talks gave the Taliban more political legitimacy. The spread of Taliban violence has overburdened the ANDSF and resulted in a large number of casualties.
The escalation of the conflict has also had a severe impact on the civilian population: high casualties, forced displacement, extreme security insecurity, lack of access to education, and a weakened public health system. A report published in June 2019 by the Institute for Peace and Economics named Afghanistan as the “least peaceful” country in the world, edging out Syria, although in early 2020 it seemed that a peace deal was once again possible.
Environment, photography, first place: “Polar Bear and her Cub” — Esther Horváth (Hungary) for The New York Times.
Description: A polar bear and her cub approach equipment installed by scientists from Polarstern, a vessel that is part of a scientific expedition investigating the effects of climate change in the Arctic, in the central Arctic Ocean.
Story: AT The Arctic is home to one of the fastest retreating sea glaciers on the planet, with a heating rate twice the global average. This will have a strong impact on the global climate in terms of temperature rise and sea level rise, however, the processes occurring in the Arctic climate system are poorly represented in climate models. This situation is explained by the fact that, until now, scientific missions could not penetrate the region during the Arctic winter, when the semi-annual night falls on the Arctic.
The Polarstern is the mission ship of the Multipurpose Drifting Observatory for the Study of the Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition, designed specifically to withstand extreme low temperatures and break through thick ice. The team has up to 100 people who can work year-round. Information from MOSAiC will be used in global climate models.
Nature, photography, first place: “Last Farewell” (Final Farewell) — Alan Schroeder (Belgium).
Description: The body of a one-month-old orangutan lies on a rescue team’s surgical sheet, near the city of Subulussalam, Sumatra, Indonesia. She died shortly after being found with her wounded materia on a palm oil plantation.
Story: Orantutans live on only two islands in the world, Sumatra and Borneo, and are gradually being displaced from their usual habitats in the rainforests, as palm oil plantations, logging and mining expand. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are only 14,000 orangutans left in Sumatra. Since female orangutans devote eight to nine years to raising each cub before having another, populations are easily at risk of decline and extinction. The mother of the cub in the photo, which rescuers have named Hope (translated from English as Hope), was found completely blind, with a broken collarbone and 74 wounds from pneumatic weapons. She was shot by the villagers after she stole fruit from their gardens.
Portrait, photography, first place: “Awakening” — Tomek Kachor (Poland), for Duży Format, Gazeta Wyborcza
Description: A 15-year-old Armenian girl who recently woke up from a catatonic state due to Resignation Syndrome sits on a wheelchair, accompanied by her parents, at a refugee reception center in Podkowa Lesna, Poland.
Story: Patients with withdrawal syndrome are passive, immobile, unable to speak, unable to eat or drink, incontinent, and unresponsive to physical stimuli. It appears in traumatized children during the long asylum process, and most often occurs in children from the Balkans, Roma and Yezidi children.
It was discovered in the late 1990s and was thought to be limited to Sweden, although cases have since also been reported at the Australian government-run refugee detention center in Nauru. Remission and a gradual return to normal functioning occurs after an improvement in life circumstances. An Armenian girl developed the syndrome while her family was seeking asylum in Sweden, but did not recover until eight months later, after they were deported to Poland.
Sports, photography, first place: “Leonard’s three-pointer after the siren in Game 7» (Leonard’s Game 7 Buzzer Beater) – Mark Blinch (Canada) for NBAE
Description: Kaui Leonard (crouching, center) of the Toronto Raptors watches as his “buzzer-beater” game-winner hits the net during Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers in the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference Playoff Semifinals at Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Canada.
Story: “Buzzer-beater” — a throw that flies into the basket immediately after the final beep, announcing the end of the period or the entire match. Leonard’s ball hit the rim as the final horn sounded and bounced off the rim four more times before hitting the net. It was the first buzzer-beater in NBA history to win in Game 7 (the decider of a seven-game series during the playoffs). The Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers have each won three games in a seven-game series so far. After that, the Toronto Raptors became the first team outside the United States to win the NBA Finals.
Breaking News, Photo, Winner: Farouk Batish (Algeria), for Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Description: Students against the police during an anti-government demonstration in Algiers, Algiers, May 21.
Story: Algeria has been involved in protests since February. Initially, the protests were aimed at overthrowing President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, an 81-year-old veteran of the independence struggle who was in poor health and had not been seen in public for some time. Bouteflika resigned in April, handing over power to an interim military government, but demonstrations continued.
The protesters demanded the cancellation of the presidential elections scheduled for July 4 and a return to civil democracy. They also called for the resignation of government officials associated with the Bouteflika administration, including the interim president and prime minister. The protests continued into 2020 without a successful resolution.
The full list of winners and finalists can be found on the World Press Photo page.
* when preparing the article, materials from worldpressphoto.org, dpreview.com, onfoto.ru resources were used.