Following the announcement of this year’s winners, we spotlight the 10 female nominees
The World Press Photo Contest recognizes the best visual journalism of the last year, rewarding images and stories in eight categories: Contemporary Issues, General News, Environment, Long-Term Projects, Nature, Spot News, Sports, and Portraits. This year, 4315 photographers from 130 countries entered 74,470 images.
Of the 45 photographers nominated, only 10 are women. Following the announcement of this year’s winners, we spotlight the 10 female nominees, two of whom have just been awarded first place in their categories.
Evelyn Hockstein is a photojournalist based in Washington, DC, and the only woman to be nominated for World Press Photo of the Year 2021. The nominated photograph, Emancipation Memorial Debate, was awarded the first prize in the singles Spot News category. It shows a white man disagreeing with a Black woman about the removal of the Emancipation Memorial in Lincoln Park.
The photo was taken on June 25, 2020, a day that saw around 100 people gather at the monument, clashing over whether it should be removed or not. Hockstein has worked in more than 70 countries covering civil war, political unrest, humanitarian crises, and natural disasters for The Washington Post, The New York Times, Helsingin Sanomat, and others.
Ami Vitale is a photographer, writer, and filmmaker currently based in Montana. As an ambassador for Nikon and a contract photographer with National Geographic, her work has taken her to over 100 countries. She has documented wildlife and poaching in Africa, covered human-wildlife conflict, and concentrated on efforts to save the northern white rhino and reintroduce pandas to the wild.
In her photo, Rescue of Giraffes from Flooding Island, which was awarded first prize in the singles Nature category, an endangered Rothschild’s giraffe is transported to safety in a custom-built barge from the flooded Longicharo Island, where nine giraffes had become stranded. The local community worked with conservationists from the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Northern Rangelands Trust, and Save Giraffes Now to build the barge and transport the marooned animals to a sanctuary in the Ruko conservancy on the shores of the lake.
Maya Alleruzzo is an American photojournalist with the Associated Press based in the Middle East. She has worked extensively in Iraq since the 2003 United States invasion. Since the Islamic State’s ascent in 2014, she has documented the group’s destructive legacy in Iraq and Syria.
In her photo story, Islamic State’s Yazidi Survivors, which was nominated in the category of Contemporary Issues, Alleruzzo captures portraits of Yazidi women who were held captive by IS militants for years; a 24-year-old Saudi IS member who traded in Yazidi slaves being moved in a prison; and Yazidi youths taking part in a program to reacquaint them with their religion and culture.
Newsha Tavakolian is a self-taught photojournalist and documentary photographer working with Magnum Photos and is currently based in Tehran. She began working for the Iranian press at the age of 16 and has since covered regional conflicts, natural disasters and created social documentary projects. Tavakolian’s work is in the private collections of international institutions, including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the British Museum, and the Boston Museum of Fine Art.
In her photo, Ceremony to Mourn Qasem Soleimani in Tehran, which was nominated in the category of General News, women mourn the death of Major General Qasem Soleimani who was killed on January 3rd at Baghdad airport, along with other Iran-backed militia figures, in an airstrike ordered by US president Donald Trump.
Karolina Jonderko (1985) is a Polish photographer whose work has been recognized by the Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism, Grand Press Photo, Magnum Photos Awards, and many others. She is a member of Napo Images Agency.
Most of her long-term projects focus on the aftermath of loss and the issues people face as a result. In her photo story, Reborn, nominated in the category of Long-Term Projects, Jonderko explores the effect artificial babies, known as “reborn babies,” have on adults. For some, these dolls are a means of dealing with loss or anxiety; for others, they provide companionship.
Tatiana Nikitina is a Russian photographer exploring cultural traditions, ecology, and the ways that people with disabilities socially adapt. In her photo, In Flight, nominated in the category of Portraits, we see a father teaching his 10-year-old autistic daughter Ksenia to launch a toy plane in Moscow.
The concept of autism is relatively new in Russia, where there is frequently a negative attitude to people who have such behavioral disorders, and people are often ashamed of being on the autism spectrum. Not many medical and non-medical professionals are familiar with autism, and it is frequently misdiagnosed. Parents of children with ASDs can experience difficulty in finding support programs.
Alisa Martynova is a Russian photographer who lives and works in Florence, Italy. Her work has been published by magazines including Internazionale and Leica Fotografie International, and she is currently a member of the photography agency Parallelozero.
In her photo story, Nowhere Near, nominated in the Portraits’ category, Martynova captures the stories of immigrants from Africa who live in Italy. The photographer compares migrants in Italy to scattered stars, a constellation of young people from different countries, of different genders, and with different traits.
Natalia Kepesz is a Polish photographer based in Berlin, Germany. In her photo story, Niewybuch, nominated in the category of Portraits, Kepesz captures children taking part in exercises and simulations at military schools, clubs, and camps, which are popular in Poland.
The young participants are put through boot camps, challenged physically and mentally, and given instruction—often on former army training grounds—in skills such as tactics, survival, self-defense, and topography. They are also taught to shoot using air rifles and sometimes replica weaponry such as machine guns and grenade launchers.
Fereshteh Eslahi is a documentary photographer based in Iran who has been working with Iranian news agencies since 2014. In her photo story, Thoughts of Flight, nominated in the category of Sports, Eslahi captures photos of Saeed Ramin, a former professional traceur (practitioner of parkour) living in Gachsaran, Iran.
Seven years ago, Saeed fell in a parkour competition, injuring the spinal cord in his neck. A year before he was injured, Saeed broke the Iranian record for jumping over an air bridge over asphalt. Despite the doctors' predictions, Saeed has been able to regain the mobility of his hands and still likes to do things other people are afraid of.
Nadia Buzhan is a photojournalist from Minsk, Belarus. Currently, she works for Nasha Niva, the oldest Belarusian newspaper, and she previously worked with Zviazda and TUT.BY. In her photo, Waiting for Release at a Temporary Detention Center in Belarus, nominated in the category of Spot News, Olga Sieviaryniec waits for her husband Paval to be released from a detention center in Minsk.
Olga waited outside the prison for two hours, but Paval was not freed. Paval Sieviaryniec is a Christian Democrat politician and a well-known political activist. He was arrested while collecting signatures in support of candidates to stand against President Alexander Lukashenko in his bid for a sixth consecutive term in office. Lukashenko had been in power since 1994 and has been dubbed ‘Europe’s last dictator’ by media outlets.
The winning pictures are usually included in a traveling exhibition attended by more than a million visitors in 40 different countries. While the exhibition's start is still uncertain, due to the pandemic, a yearbook in six languages has been published.
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