By Katy Cowan
It’s official. The World Press Photo 2016 winners have been announced. The refugee crisis dominated the submissions with image after image of refugees reaching southern European shores, especially in Greece, refugees walking in groups small and large, crowds of refugees blocked at the borders, crammed into trains, clashing with police. The war in Syria, the Paris attacks in January and November, the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the clashes in the United States set off by police shootings – were all contenders in one of the world’s most prestigious photo contests.
The jury of the 59th annual World Press Photo Contest selected an image by Australian photographer Warren Richardson as the World Press Photo of the Year 2015. Richardson’s picture – which also won first prize in the Spot News category – shows refugees crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary, near Horgoš in Serbia and Röszke in Hungary. Taken at night on 28 August 2015, this man and child were part of the movement of people seeking to cross into Hungary before a secure fence on the border was completed.
Jury chair Francis Kohn, photo director of Agence France-Presse, said about the image: “Early on we looked at this photo and we knew it was an important one. It had such power because of its simplicity, especially the symbolism of the barbed wire. We thought it had almost everything in there to give a strong visual of what’s happening with the refugees. I think it’s a very classical photo, and at the same time it’s timeless. It portrays a situation, but the way it’s done is classic in the greatest sense of the word.”
General jury member and deputy photo editor Al Jazeera America Vaughn Wallace said: “This is an incredible image from the refugee crisis of 2015. It’s incredibly powerful visually, but it’s also very nuanced. We’ve seen thousands of images of migrants in every form of their journey, but this image really caught my eye. It causes you to stop and consider the man’s face, consider the child. You see the sharpness of the barbed wire and the hands reaching out from the darkness. This isn’t the end of a journey, but the completion of one stage of a very long future. And so, for me, this had to be the photo of the year.”
Here, we share some of the winners. See the full list on the World Press Photo website. A warning: some images may be disturbing.
World Press Photo of the Year: A man passes a baby through the fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border in Röszke, Hungary, 28 August 2015. Warren Richardson.
Contemporary Issues, first prize singles: A city in northern China shrouded in haze, Tianjin, China. Zhang Lei.
Contemporary Issues, second prize singles: Adam Abdel, 7, was severely burned after a bomb was dropped by a Sudanese government Antonov plane next to his family home in Burgu, Central Darfur, Sudan. Adriane Ohanesian.
Contemporary Issues, third prize singles: Lamon Reccord stares down a police sergeant during a protest following the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by police in Chicago, Illinois, USA. John J. Kim.
Contemporary Issues, first prize stories: Abdoulaye, 15, is a talibe imprisoned in a room with security bars to keep him from running away. Mário Cruz.
Contemporary Issues, second prize stories: A wooden fishing vessel sails from Libya to Italy carrying more than 500 migrants. Francesco Zizola.
Contemporary Issues, third prize stories: Emily and Kate brush their teeth together before going to bed. Sara Naomi Lewkowicz.
Daily Life, first prize singles: Chinese men pull a tricycle in a neighborhood next to a coal-fired power plant in Shanxi, China. Kevin Frayer.
Daily Life, first prize stories: A Chilean scientist walks above the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity on the Bellingshausen Russian Antarctic base. Daniel Berehulak.
General News, first prize singles: A doctor rubs ointment on the burns of Jacob, a 16-year-old Islamic State fighter, in front of a poster of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, at a Y.P.G. hospital compound on the outskirts of Hasaka, Syria. Mauricio Lima.
General News, first prize stories: Refugees arrive by boat near the village of Skala on Lesbos, Greece. Sergey Ponomarev.
Long-term Projects, first prize stories: Sexual Assault in America’s Military Long-Term Projects, first prize stories March 21, 2014 US Army Spc. Natasha Schuette, 21, was pressured not to report being assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Though she was hazed by her assailant’s fellow drill instructors, she refused to back down and Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is now serving four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees. The
Long-Term Projects, second prize stories: Howie sits beside his wife Laurel in what he calls their “his and hers” chairs as they get their weekly chemotherapy treatments. Nancy Borowick.
Long-Term Projects, third prize stories: At dusk, the skyline of central Pyongyang, North Korea. David Guttenfelder.
Nature, first prize singles: A massive ‘cloud tsunami’ looms over Sydney as a sunbather reads, oblivious to the approaching cloud on Bondi Beach. Rohan Kelly.
Nature, second prize singles: Divers observe and surround a humpback whale and her newborn calf whilst they swim around Roca Partida in the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico. Anuar Patjane Floriuk.
Nature, third prize singles: Colima Volcano in Mexico shows a powerful night explosion with lightning, ballistic projectiles and incandescent rockfalls; image taken in the Comala municipality in Colima, Mexico. Sergio Tapiro.
Nature, first prize stories: A Sumatran orangutan threatens another nearby male in the Batang Toru Forest, North Sumatra Province, Indonesia. Tim Laman.
People, first prize singles: A child is covered with a raincoat while she waits in line to register at a refugee camp in Preševo, Serbia. Matic Zorman.
People, second prize singles: A mine worker takes a smoke break before going back into the pit. Miners in Bani face harsh conditions and exposure to toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Matjaz Krivic.
People, third prize singles: Portrait of a Syrian refugee family in a camp in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. The empty chair in the photograph represents a family member who has either died in the war or whose whereabouts are unknown. Dario Mitidieri.
People, second prize stories: Young girls between the age of 7 and 11 are chosen every year as ‘Maya’ for the ‘Las Mayas’, a festival derived from pagan rites celebrating the arrival of spring, in the town of Colmenar Viejo, Spain. The girls are required to sit still for a couple of hours in a decorated altar. Daniel Ochoa de Olza.
Sports, second prize stories: Kherou, a young wrestling champion, performs a ritual in the water of the sea while pouring milk over his body in order to obtain the reinforcement of a ghost who lives in the stones at the shore. Christian Bobst.
Spot News, first prize stories: Smoke rises from a building following reported shelling by Syrian government forces in Douma, Syria. Sameer Al-Doumy.
Spot News, second prize singles: Demonstration against terrorism in Paris, after a series of five attacks occurred across the Île-de-France region, beginning at the headquarters for satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Corentin Fohlen.