The World Press Photo Awards are impressive every year and this year is no different. You always get to know the (often shocking) images and we put a number of them in front of you. The competition is one of the most prestigious photo competitions in the world, but did you know that the competition was set up by the Dutch Association of Photojournalists in1955?
World Press Photo of the Year
This poignant photo shows José Victor Salazar Balza who is on fire during riots in a protest against President Maduro in Caracas. He caught fire after the engine’s gas tank exploded near him. He survived the incident with first and second degree burns.
The first prize in the subcategory ‘singles’ was won by Jesco Denzel with his plate of a boat with tourists from Lagos Marina in Lagos, Nigeria through a channel between the Makoko community. The latter are drawn out of their settlements without mercy because the land along the river is valuable. A problem that has still not been resolved, while the judges in the country have already said that the evictions go against the constitution.
The other subcategory is ‘Stories’ and in it won this picture of Heba Khamis in which your mother sees Veronica massaging the breasts of her daughter Michelle while her other children are watching. This ‘breast-ironing’ is traditionally done in Cameroon in an attempt to prevent the development of the breasts. That would slow down maturing and ensure that daughter is not raped. This is still a mild variant: there are also variations where a heated stone or other object is used to ‘flatten’ the breast (and nipples). Painful and senseless.
In the singles category this photo of Neil Aldridge won a white rhino shows blindfolded and drugged waiting to be released. He can enter the wilderness of Botswana after the Rhino has been taken from South Africa to keep it out of the clutches of poachers. These animals are still being killed as well as endangered animals for their horns.
In the Story category, Dutchman Kadir van Lohuizen won the photo of this man wearing a balloon of PET bottles on his head. These bottles are recycled and he collects them for that purpose on a garbage dump in Lagos, Nigeria. Approximately 4,000 people go through the mess every day to find things that can be sold or recycled. Many of them live literally on the garbage dump and the amount of mess continues to increase.
Again two prize winners: the first is Patrick Brown who is a shocking picture sketches of Rohingya refugees deposited after being drowned. Their boat from Myanmar capsized while they tried to flee to Bangladesh. The other is Ivor Prickett’s almost unrealistic picture (I have had to watch minutes to double-check if it was not a screenshot of a Call of Duty game) of Iraqi special forces looking at the aftermath of a suicide attack by ISIS.
Corey Arnold’s picture of this ‘bald eagle’ who fetches food in a rubbish bin in Alaska . This once-extinct animal species is now alive again and in Dutch Harbor 350 million kilos of fish are landed every year, so there is always something to snack on. Ami Vitale’s photo is also hopeful: a rescued baby elephant is mothered just before being transported to an Elephant Sanctary in Kenya. A striking detail is that the care is provided by an ex-warrior who once hunted elephants.
The sports photo in the singles category goes to Oliver Scarff for this bizarre scene: the Royal Shrovetide Footbal Match in Ashbourne, UK. In this game that takes two times eight hours, two teams of hundreds of people play each other to bring a ball to different parts of Ashbourne and score points. Which team you are in depends on which side of the river Henmore you were born on. Bizarre!
The photo in stories is from the Belgian Alain Schroeder. In it we can see how young jockeys (between five and ten years) do horse races at Sumbawa in Indonesia. The children’s jockeys ride without saddle, shoes or protection on small horses in this traditional race. Once it was a tradition to celebrate a good harvest, but the Dutch have transformed it into ‘spectator sport’ in the 20th century to entertain the regents.
Only one winner, because the overall winner was in this category at the singles. This print by David Becker won in the stories category. You see a man in a wheelchair being pushed away by a woman during the mass shootings in Las Vegas last year. More than 500 people were injured and 58 people died during that tragedy.
In the singles, Magnus Wennman won with these two Kosovar Roma sisters who are in Sweden with ‘uppgivenhetssyndrom’, or give up syndrome. They lie in bed for a half and two-and-a-half years, and they react almost nothing. Painful. The Stories prize went to Adam Ferguson with this portrait of Maimuma, a 14-year-old girl who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram and was forced to blow herself up but managed to escape. Creepy.