Winner and Nominees of World Press Photo of the Year 2020


A photojournalistic photograph’s intent is to inform and educate, and eventually, fuel the commencement of necessary reparations. Since 1955, the World Press Photo Awards has been an instrumental force in this arena, by bringing harrowing stories of terror, as well as those of hope and resilience. These stories scream vociferously of the world’s apathy against its citizens, that we need to do better. The foundation has announced the winners of the contest on its online channels on the 16th of April. Here is a look at the photographs from the 63rd edition of the awards.

Winner: Yasuyoshi Chiba, Japan, Agence France-Presse

Straight Voice: A young man, illuminated by mobile phones, recites protest poetry while demonstrators chant slogans calling for civilian rule, during a blackout in Khartoum, Sudan, on 19 June 2019. Photograph/Yasuyoshi Chiba

Yasuyoshi Chiba            After studying photography at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, Chiba started working as a staff photographer for Asahi Shimbun. He became a freelance photographer and moved to Kenya in 2007, and then joined AFP in Brazil in 2011. Image credit: Shiggy Yoshida

Straight Voice: Protests in Sudan began in December 2018 and spread rapidly throughout the country. By April 2019, protesters were staging a sit-in close to army headquarters in the capital Khartoum, and demanding an end to the 30-year rule of dictator Omar al-Bashir. On 11 April, al-Bashir was removed from office in a military coup, and a transitional military government was established. Protests continued, calling for power to be handed to civilian groups. On 3 June, government forces opened fire on unarmed protesters. Scores of people were killed and many more subject to further violence. Three days later the African Union suspended Sudan, in the midst of widespread international condemnation of the attack. The authorities sought to defuse protests by imposing blackouts and shutting down the internet. Protesters communicated by text message, word of mouth and using megaphones, and resistance to military rule continued. Despite another severe crackdown on 30 June, the pro-democracy movement was eventually successful in signing a power-sharing agreement with the military, on 17 August.

Nominees of the World Press Photo of the Year

Mulugeta Ayene, Ethiopia, Associated Press

Relative Mourns Flight ET 302 Crash Victim: A relative of a victim of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302 plane crash throws dirt in her face as she grieves at the crash site, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 14 March 2019. Photograph/Mulugeta Ayene

Mulugeta Ayene is a photographer for the Associated Press (AP) and works on regular assignments for prominent international organizations such as UNICEF the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to mention a few. Image credit: Houssem / Labo Photo Olympic

Relative Mourns Flight ET 302 Crash Victim: On 10 March, Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET302, a Boeing 737 MAX, disappeared from the radar six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa airport and crashed into a field, killing all 157 people on board. The impact was so great that both engines were buried in a crater 10 meters deep.  A week after the crash, empty coffins were buried at a ceremony at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, as victims were unable to be identified. Officials gave relatives bags of earth from the crash site. On 14 November, eight months after the crash, the site of the impact was covered and the unidentified remains of victims buried in rows of identical coffins. Comparisons were made with the crash of a Lion Air aircraft, also a 737 MAX, 12 minutes after take-off from Jakarta in October 2018. Countries across the world, initially with the exception of the US, grounded the 737 MAX. First reports showed that pilots had been unable to prevent the plane repeatedly nosediving, despite following procedures recommended by Boeing. It appeared that in both cases pilots were struggling to deal with an automated safety system designed to prevent stalling, which was repeatedly pushing the nose of the plane down. It seemed that the system was being activated, possibly due to a faulty sensor, even though nothing was wrong. It later emerged that American Airlines pilots had confronted Boeing about potential safety issues with the MAX. Boeing had resisted their calls but promised a software fix, which had not been done by the time Flight ET302 crashed. Planes remained grounded into 2020.

Farouk Batiche, Algeria, Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Clash with the Police During an Anti-Government Demonstration: Students scuffle with riot police during an anti-government demonstration in Algiers, Algeria, on 21 May 2019. Photograph/Farouk Batiche

Farouk Batiche is a press photographer with over 20 years of experience in photojournalism, covering stories in Algeria, North African countries, and the Middle East. Image credit: Dorota Borodaj

Clash with the Police During an Anti-Government Demonstration: Algeria had been embroiled in protests since February. Initially, protests had been aimed at ousting long-time president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, an 81-year-old veteran of Algeria’s independence struggle who had been in ill-health and not seen in public for some time. Bouteflika resigned in April 2019, handing over to a military-backed caretaker government, but demonstrations continued. Protesters demanded the cancellation of the presidential elections set to take place on 4 July and a return to civilian democracy. They also called for the departure of government officials associated with the Bouteflika administration, including the interim president and prime minister. Protests continued into 2020 without successful resolution.

Tomek Kaczor, Poland, for Duży Format, Gazeta Wyborcza

Awakening: Ewa, a 15-year-old Armenian girl who has recently woken from catatonic state brought on by Resignation Syndrome, sits in a wheelchair, flanked by her parents, in a refugee reception center in Podkowa Leśna, Poland, on 1 June 2019. Photograph/Tomek Kaczor

Tomasz Kaczor has worked as a freelance photographer for over 12 years, and an educator and photography instructor. He is a co-establisher and a photographer for Magazyn Kontakt magazine. Image credit: Dorota Borodaj

Awakening: Resignation Syndrome (RS) renders patients passive, immobile, mute, unable to eat and drink, incontinent and unresponsive to physical stimulus. It affects psychologically traumatized children in the midst of lengthy asylum processes, and seems most common in Roma and Yazidi children as well as those from the Balkans. It was first noted in the late 1990s, and was thought to be confined to Sweden, though cases have since been reported in the offshore refugee detention center run by the Australian government in Nauru. Remission and gradual return to normal function occurs after life circumstances improve. Ewa succumbed to RS while her family were trying for asylum in Sweden and threatened with deportation to Poland, which had been their country of first arrival as refugees. They feared being sent back to Armenia. The family was deported to Poland, despite Ewa’s illness, but she recovered eight months after they arrived.

Ivor Prickett, Ireland, for The New York Times

Injured Kurdish Fighter Receives Hospital Visit: Ahmed Ibrahim (18), an Syryan Democractic Forces (SDF) fighter badly burned in conflict with Turkish forces, is visited by his girlfriend at a hospital in Al-Hasakah, on 20 October 2019. She had at first been unable to enter the room, as she was horrified by his injuries, but a nurse encouraged her to go in to hold Ahmed’s hand and have a short conversation. Photograph/Ivor Prickett

Ivory Prickett              Working exclusively for The New York Times, he has spent months on the ground reporting in both words and pictures on the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. ased in the Middle East since 2009, Prickett documented the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Libya, working simultaneously on editorial assignments and his own long-term projects. Image credit: Rob Becker

Injured Kurdish Fighter Receives Hospital Visit: By early 2019, the territory held by the Islamic State group (IS) in Syria had reduced to a four-square-kilometer patch in the southeast, centered on the village of Baghuz. The IS retreat from northern Syria had been under the onslaught of the combined militias of the SDF, led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and supported by an international coalition of primarily US troops. As IS drew back, tens of thousands of people emerged from the enclave, many of them the wives and children of foreign IS fighters. Numerous IS fighters themselves surrendered or were captured. The Kurds were left with the conundrum of what to do with so many prisoners, many of them under 18 and orphaned or separated from their families. Then, at the beginning of October, US president Donald Trump ordered US troops out of northern Syria. On 9 October, Turkey—which had long seen Kurdish forces on its border as a security threat, given the decades-long Kurdish insurgency against Turkey—invaded northern Syria, aiming to end Kurdish control over the territory. As Kurdish forces refocused their attention on a new opponent, the fate of the many thousands of prisoners grew even more uncertain.

Nikita Teryoshin, Russia

Nothing Personal – the Back Office of War: A businessman locks away a pair of anti-tank grenade launchers at the end of an exhibition day, at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on 18 February 2019. Photograph/Nikita Teryoshin

Nikita Teryoshin         Based in Berlin, he has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Photography, Germany. He describes his work as street, documentary and everyday horror. Image credit: Korean army officer at the Korean defence fair ADEX 2017 in Seoul

Nothing Personal – the Back Office of War: IDEX is the biggest defense exhibition and conference in the Middle East, and one of the biggest arms trade-fairs in the world. No official attendance figures are released, but according to UAE state media, the event was expected to draw 1,200 global defense specialists, 1,235 exhibitors and more than 105,000 visitors. Attendees include defense ministers, military chiefs of staff and key government decision-makers, who interact in conference halls, social events and back-office meetings. War is staged in an artificial environment where mannequins and screen images take the place of real people, and with outdoor demonstrations and daily choreographed battle displays on water.

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