Photography

Discover the 2021 Winner of the World Press Photo Contest

The hug between an elderly woman and her nurse at the beginning of the health crisis in Brazil is the Best Photograph of the year

The World Press Photo Contest has once again recognized the best of visual journalism from the past year. In an online ceremony held today, the winner of the photo of the year 2021, the photo story of the year, the interactive photo of the year, and the video photo of the year were announced. The jury chose the winners from 4,315 photographers from 130 countries who submitted 74,470 images.

The top prize for the World Press Photo of the Year has been awarded to Danish photographer Mads Nissen, who already won World Press Photo of the Year in 2015.

Discover the 2021 Winner of the World Press Photo Contest 1
The First Embrace, by Mads Nissen.

This photo's protagonist is 85-year-old Rosa Luzia Lunardi receiving the embrace of her nurse and carer, Adriana Silva da Costa Souza. The photograph portrays the vulnerability of older people in one of the countries most hit by the pandemic. The image was shot in the Viva Bem care home in São Paulo on August 5th last year by Danish documentary photographer Mads Nissen, who won World Press Photo of the Year in 2015.

5 other shortlisted photos

Rodrigo Orrantia, curator, and member of the contest’s jury declared that what stood out the most during this edition was the variety of themes. “Photographers in general, and photojournalists in particular, are discovering new ways to tell stories visually. This year the visual language has been truly sophisticated, which represented a move from a more classical tradition of press photography”, he noted.

Orrantia and the other 13 members of the jury, made up of photo editors, photographers, and representatives of press agencies, concluded that the winning photograph by Mads Nissen prevailed among the other five highly impactful shortlisted images, as shown below.

Fighting Locust Invasion in East Africa, by Luis Tato

Spanish photographer Luis Tato was selected for his photographs which are a snapshot of what it meant to be living in the Kenyan desert during the largest locust plague in the last 70 years. The photo, published by The Washington Post, helps us understand how the COVID-19 health crisis impacted this area of the planet, where the administration of pesticides had been abruptly interrupted. It was taken on April 24th and depicts Henry Lenayasa, chief of the Archers Post settlement in Samburu, trying to chase a swarm of locusts that devastated a cultivated area.

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Fighting Locust Invasion in East Africa, by Luis Tato.

Lincoln Emancipation Memorial Debate, by Evelyn Hockstein

The key to this photo is the statue in the background: Lincoln holding the Emancipation Proclamation in one hand, with his other hand over the head of a Black man in a loincloth. During the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, many people gathered around this statue, while others joined together to defend it. The image of the white man talking to the black woman while she looks up and does not reply is representative of the tensions. It was captured by Evelyn Hockstein, who is also president of the Women Photojournalists of Washington organization.

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Lincoln Emancipation Memorial Debate, by Evelyn Hockstein.

Leaving Home in Nagorno-Karabakh, by Valery Melnikov

On November 28th of last year, Azat Gevorkyan and his wife Anaik were preparing to leave their home in Lachin, Azerbaijan, after violence erupted in the territory taken by Armenian soldiers the following day. The moment was captured by Russian photographer Valery Melnikov who had already been nominated for his work in 2017 in the Long-Term Projects category of the World Press Photo Award.

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Leaving Home in Nagorno-Karabakh, by Valery Melnikov.

Injured Man After Port Explosion in Beirut, by Lorenzo Tugnoli

Last year on August 4th, in the capital of Lebanon, Beirut, an explosion in a depot in the city's port released more than 2750 tons of high-density ammonium nitrate. The force of the blow was such that more than 6000 buildings were destroyed, 190 people were killed and 6000 injured, and another 300,000 were forced to leave their homes. This image was taken soon after the explosion.

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Injured Man After Port Explosion in Beirut, by Lorenzo Tugnoli.

The Transition: Ignat', by Oleg Ponomarev

Russian photographer Oleg Ponomarev took this image on April 23rd, 2020, in Saint Petersburg. Ignat, a trans man, poses with his girlfriend Maria, who embraces him. The image has particular significance in a homophobic country like Russia, which aims to remove the freedom of people for expressing their desire, affection, and sexuality.

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The Transition: Ignat', by Oleg Ponomarev.

To see the winners of other categories, such as Environment, Portraits, and Sports, visit the official World Press Photo website. All images are courtesy of World Press Photo and their creators.

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.

English version by @acesarato

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