At Large  April 23, 2020  Chandra Noyes

See the World Press Photo Foundation's 2020 Prize Winners

© Yasuyoshi Chiba, Japan, Agence France-Presse

Straight Voice, Yasuyoshi Chiba, Japan, Agence France-Presse

Every year, the World Press Photo Foundation, an Amsterdam-based nonprofit whose mission is to “connect the world to the stories that matter,” selects a jury of professional photographers to pore over thousands of photos from the past year. Through these photos, we see humanity at its best and worst—the highs and lows of life on this planet.

Awards are given in eight categories: contemporary issues, environment, general news, long­-term projects, nature, portraits, sports, and sports news, in addition to a grand prize winner of the best World Press Photo Story of the year. This year, the contest’s 63rd edition, the seventeen-member jury has selected 44 photographers from 24 countries to compete for the final prizes. The winners, announced last week, will each receive a €10,000 prize.

These incredible images, representing the best in photojournalism from around the world, are stunning for their technical and artistic skill, as well as the stories they tell. Here are this year's winners, and a few unforgettable runner-ups.

© Yasuyoshi Chiba, Japan, Agence France-Presse
Straight Voice, Yasuyoshi Chiba, Japan, Agence France-Presse

World Press Photo of the Year

This year's winning photo comes from the French photographer Yasuyoshi Chiba as part of his coverage of political unrest in Khartoum, Sudan. The young man at the center of Straight Voice is reciting poetry at a protest while friends provide a spotlight with their cellphones.
Chiba said of the photo: “This moment was the only peaceful group protest I encountered during my stay. I felt their undefeated solidarity like burning embers that remain to flare up again.”
© Romain Laurendeau, France
Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt, Romain Laurendeau, France

World Press Photo Story of the Year

Romain Laurendeau's series Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt, shows how Algerian youth resist the conservative regime of long-time president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Through the wide-spread protests of February 2019, to more subtle, private moments like the one shown here, young people in this country continue to fight for a more liberal society.
“It was impossible for a part of me not to recognize myself in these young people. They are young but they are tired of this situation and they just want to live like everyone else,” Laurendeau said of his winning series.
© Alain Schroeder, Belgium, for National Geographic
Saving Orangutans, Alain Schroeder, Belgium, for National Geographic

First Prize Winner- Nature Stories

Photographer Alain Schroeder's series Saving Orangutans documents the efforts of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP). In Indonesia, the Sumatran Orangutan has become critically endangered due to the destruction of their natural habitat. Schroeder's images show where wildlife and industrialization meet, and the tender moments when humans can intervene to remediate some of our negative impact.
© Nicolas Asfouri, Agence France-Presse
Hong Kong Unrest, Nicolas Asfouri, Denmark, Agence France-Presse

First Prize- General News Stories

Nicolas Asfouri's photos of the protests for democracy that halted everyday life in Hong Kong show the individual passions behind a national movement. Here, a woman leading a march holds up an umbrella, a symbol of protest.
© Noah Berger, United States, for Associated Press
Battling the Marsh Fire, Noah Berger, United States, for Associated Press

Second Prize- Environmental Singles

As wildfires around the world become more and more commonplace, we struggle to comprehend the power and destruction of these forces. Incredible photos like this one can help. Noah Berger documented the Marsh Complex Fire, near the town of Brentwood, California, in August 2019. Nominated for in the environment category, his images give a sense of the massive scale of these natural catastrophes.
© Oli Scarff, United Kingdom, Agence France-Presse
Liverpool Champions League Victory Parade, Oli Scarff, United Kingdom, Agence France-Presse

Third Prize Winner- Sports Singles

Passions run deep in sports, too, of course, Oli Scarff's images of the Liverpool Champions League Victory Parade could be mistaken for war photos, with their screaming crowds and explosions of confetti. More than 750,000 fans turned out to celebrate the team's first trophy for Liverpool since winning the English Football League Cup in 2012.
© Kim Kyung-Hoon, South Korea, Reuters
Japan’s Veteran Rugby Players, Kim Kyung-Hoon, South Korea, Reuters

Third Prize Winner- Sports Stories

Kim Kyung-Hoon's photos of Tokyo’s Fuwaku Rugby Club, a league for players over 40, show the vitality of the elderly in the country with the largest aging population in the world. Combatting loneliness is essential to remaining healthy in your golden years, and the league is one way members stay physically and mentally strong.
© Matthew Abbott, Australia, Panos Pictures, for The New York Times
Australia’s Bushfire Crisis, Matthew Abbott, Australia, Panos Pictures, for The New York Times

Second Prize Winner- Spot News Stories

More than 29 million acres burned when wildfires ravaged Australia earlier this year. The impact on the lives of Australians, as well as the landscape and wildlife, has been massive, as Matthew Abbott's dramatic but quiet image of destruction shows.
© Nicolò Filippo Rosso, Italy
Exodus, Nicolò Filippo Rosso, Italy

Third Prize Winner- Contemporary Issues Stories

Venezuelan refugees struggle to flee the violence and poverty of their country in Nicolò Filippo Rosso's Exodus series. As they move north through Columbia, some are granted citizenship, others continue their long trek towards a better life, and others still are not so lucky.
About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is Managing Editor for Art & Object.

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