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2018 World Press Photo Contest winners revealed

World Press Photo of the Year 2018, Venezuela Crisis, by Ronaldo Schemidt, captures 28-year-old José Víctor Salazar Balza ablaze amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela on 3 May 2017. © Ronaldo Schemidt, Agence France-Presse

Flames engulf a masked protestor fleeing a motorbike gas tank explosion in the startling image that has been named the 2018 World Press Photo of the Year. Venezuelan photographer Ronaldo Schemidt captured the photograph, titled Venezuela Crisis, in Caracas in May 2017. The 28-year-old subject of the reportage image survived the incident with first- and second-degree burns.

Judges praised the emotion captured in the photograph, which has also won Ronaldo – a staff photographer for Agence France-Presse – first prize in the Spot News Single category.

Bullet holes riddle a car window.
Javier Arcenillas’ series Latidoamerica has been awarded third prize in the Long-term Projects category. After years of social chaos, drug trafficking and corruption, many Latin Americans are determined to revolt against the problems afflicting their countries. The project describes the fear, anger and impotence of victims amid the daily terror of street gangs, murder and thievery, and also addresses the recent trend of drug tourism in countries such as Colombia. Shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens, in August 2017. © Javier Arcenillas, Luz
Christian Ziegler’s

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“It has an instantaneous energy. The colours, the movement… and it’s very well composed – it has strength,” said 2018 World Press Photo Contest Jury Chair and Director of Photography at Geo France, Magdalena Herrera.

Jury member and National Geographic Deputy Director of Photography Whitney C Johnson labelled the image “symbolic”, continuing: “The man has a mask on his face. He’s come to represent not just himself on fire, but this idea of Venezuela burning.”

The winners of the Canon-sponsored contest were announced at a ceremoney in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with the overall winner awarded a cash prize of €10,000 and Canon camera equipment, including a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

This year’s contest drew more than 73,000 entries from around the world, from 4,548 photographers. From the 307 shortlisted photographs, 42 photographers were awarded 45 prizes across eight categories.

An unidentified young boy is carried out of the last ISIS-controlled area of Mosul’s Old City by a man suspected of being a militant.
General News Stories category winner Ivor Prickett’s image shows an unidentified young boy, who was carried out of the last ISIS-controlled area of Mosul’s Old City by a man suspected of being a militant. He was then washed and cared for by Iraqi Special Forces soldiers. The soldiers suspected that the man had used the boy as a human shield in order to try to escape because he did not know the child’s name. Taken on 12 July 2017 on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. © Ivor Prickett, for The New York Times

The winners of the Canon-sponsored contest were announced at a ceremony in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with the overall winner awarded a cash prize of €10,000 and Canon camera equipment.

The nominated images chart some of the past year’s most compelling global events – from the European migrant crisis and liberation of Mosul, Iraq, to the rise in convenience food in China and the use of Japanese macaques in the entertainment industry. And among the first, second and third category prizes awarded were 17 Canon shooters, with five of these photographers awarded first prizes.

Civilians – who had remained in west Mosul after the battle to take the city – line up for aid.
This image from Ivor Prickett’s General News Stories category winning series depicts civilians – who had remained in west Mosul after the battle to take the city – lining up for aid in the Mamun neighbourhood, on 15 March 2017. Taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens, on assignment for The New York Times. © Ivor Prickett

General News category

Dust, destruction and desolate faces define the emotive Battle for Mosul series by Canon shooter Ivor Prickett, who jurors awarded first prize to in the General News Stories category. Ivor’s images document the plight of the United Nations’ estimated 4,194 civilian casualties during the conflict to liberate Mosul from ISIS, which lasted from November 2016 to July 2017. A child rescued by Iraqi Special Forces (above) – also nominated for the Photo of the Year award – poignantly shows a boy who had been used as a human shield, which the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out was an extensive practice during the conflict.

In another of Ivor’s images nominated for the prestigious overall prize, a girl’s face turned squarely to the world represents the people in west Mosul left severely short of food and water. Those who chose to remain in the city after the Iraqi government declared it liberated initially relied on aid to survive, others went to camps for displaced people.

A devastating shot communicating the Rohingya crisis, by Patrick Brown for UNICEF, won first prize in the General News Singles category. It was also nominated for Photo of the Year. In his powerful shot, the bodies of refugees who drowned attempting to flee Myanmar are shrouded in thin, wet fabric – of 100 people who got onto this particular boat, only 17 survived.

Makoko, an ancient fishing village, has grown into an enormous informal settlement on the shores of Lagos Lagoon, Nigeria.
Makoko, an ancient fishing village, has grown into an enormous informal settlement on the shores of Lagos Lagoon, Nigeria, with a population of 150,000. However, they risk eviction with the prospect of the prime waterfront real estate being developed. Jesco Denzels image, Lagos Waterfront Under Threat, won first prize in the Contemporary Issues Singles category. © Jesco Denzel, LAIF

Contemporary Issues category

Canon photographers dominated the Contemporary Issues Single category, with German photographer Jesco Denzel taking first prize for an image shining a spotlight on the struggles of a Nigerian fishing village community.

Dr Suporn Watanyusakul shows patient Olivia Thomas her new genitals after gender reassignment surgery at a hospital in Chonburi, near Bangkok, Thailand.
More Than a Woman by Canon Ambassador Giulio Di Sturco was awarded second prize in the Contemporary Issues Singles category. On 3 February 2017, Dr Suporn Watanyusakul shows patient Olivia Thomas her new genitals after gender reassignment surgery at a hospital in Chonburi, near Bangkok, Thailand. © Giulio Di Sturco

More than a Woman, a photograph showing gender reassignment surgery in Thailand, won Italian photographer and Canon Ambassador Giulio Di Sturco second prize in the Contemporary Issues Single category. In the image, Dr Suporn Watanyusakul speaks to his patient Olivia Thomas about her new body following surgery to become a woman at a hospital in Chonburi, near Bangkok.

Roger Turesson’s stark image of life inside North Korea, showing an official guarding an exit at the Kim Il-sung Stadium at the start of the Pyongyang Marathon, received third prize in the same category.

Workers process meat in the main cutting room of Jinluo Meat, in Shandong, eastern China.
Contemporary Issues Stories category second prize was awarded to George Steinmetz’s Feeding China. Here, workers process meat in the main cutting room of Jinluo Meat, in Shandong, eastern China. China is the world's largest producer and consumer of pork, and the market is growing rapidly. Shot on 20 June 2016. © George Steinmetz, for National Geographic

The USA’s George Steinmetz received second prize, with Heba Khamis taking first prize in the Contemporary Issues Stories category. George’s series Feeding China, shot for National Geographic, tells the story of China’s rapidly rising incomes, the consequential increased demand for meat, dairy and processed food, and balances it with the ageing farming communities on land increasingly contaminated by industry.

Norwegian photographer Espen Rasmussen travelled through Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland meeting a range of people, from extreme right activists to patriots and those angry at the way the US is governed, in an attempt to understand why white anger has risen to the surface. He received third prize in the Contemporary Issues Stories category for the resulting series White Rage, shot for Panos Pictures.

A young white rhino is drugged and blindfolded, and about to be released in Okavango Delta, Botswana.
Neil Aldridge’s Waiting For Freedom has been awarded first prize in the Environment Singles category. On 21 September 2017, a young white rhino is drugged and blindfolded, and about to be released in Okavango Delta, Botswana, after its relocation from South Africa for protection from poachers. Shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II with a Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM lens. © Neil Aldridge

Environment category

Wildlife photographer Neil Aldridge has been awarded first prize in the Environment Singles award – a new category for 2018. Waiting for Freedom shows a white rhino blindfolded by a striking red sash, lying against a wall shortly before being released into its new home in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The endangered animal was relocated from South Africa as part of conservation efforts to save the species from poachers.

Other environmental issues highlighted this year include the surprising phenomenon of mice attacking young albatross on Marion Island, South African Antarctic Territory; declining numbers of penguins on Halifax Island, Namibia; and the different waste-management processes around the world attempting to tackle the 3.5 million tonnes of solid waste now generated per day, 10 times the amount of a century ago.

Women walk past a mural depicting drug lord turned politician Pablo Escobar, in the Barrio de la Milagrosa, Medellín, Colombia.
Women walk past a mural depicting drug lord turned politician Pablo Escobar, in the Barrio de la Milagrosa, Medellín, Colombia. Before his assassination in 1993, Escobar had gained popularity in some quarters of the city through his contributions to building housing in poorer neighborhoods. From the series Latidoamerica that gained Javier Arcenillas third prize in the Long-Term Projects category. Taken on 12 August 2017 on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. © Javier Arcenillas, Luz

Long-Term Projects category

Spain’s Javier Arcenillas was awarded third prize in the Long Term Projects category for his story Latidoamerica, shot for Luz. Told in a series caught between 2010 and January 2016, Javier charts the armed conflict and socio-economic collapse of many Latin American countries.

This project describes the fear, anger and helplessness of victims living amid the daily terror of uncontrolled violence, as well as the social and political factors that aggressively reinforce that violence.

A Japanese macaque tamed and trained for the entertainment industry wears a Donald Trump mask.
Jasper Doest’s Sacred No More has been awarded second prize in the Nature Stories category. In recent years, the Japanese macaque, best known as the snow monkey, has become habituated to humans. An increasing macaque population in the countryside means the monkeys raid crops to survive; in cities, macaques are tamed and trained for the entertainment industry. He documented the story between 15 January 2016 and 2 October 2017. Shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. © Jasper Doest
Djeneta (right) and Ibadeta are Roma refugees from Kosovo, now in Horndal, Sweden. They lie bedridden and unresponsive with uppgivenhetssyndrom (resignation syndrome).
Canon Ambassador Magnus Wennman’s Resignation Syndrome has been awarded first prize in the People Singles category. Djeneta (right) and Ibadeta are Roma refugees from Kosovo, now in Horndal, Sweden. Djeneta has been bedridden and unresponsive for two-and-a-half years, and her sister Ibadeta for more than six months, with uppgivenhetssyndrom (resignation syndrome). Resignation syndrome (RS) renders patients passive, immobile, mute, unable to eat and drink, incontinent and unresponsive to physical stimulus. It is a condition believed to exist only amongst refugees in Sweden. Taken on 2 March 2017 on a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a Canon TS-E45mm f/2.8 lens. © Magnus Wennman, Aftonbladet

The Netherlands’ Jasper Doest was awarded second prize in the Nature Stories category with Sacred No More. Once considered revered mediators between gods and humans, macaques in Japan have become more tame, and taken to raiding crops. Jasper tells the story of the commercial entertainment industry involving monkeys that’s existed in Japan for over 1,000 years.

Swedish photojournalist and Canon Ambassador Magnus Wennman has been awarded first prize in the People Singles category for his image showing two bedridden and unresponsive Roma refugee sisters from Kosovo in Hordal, Sweden. They have been diagnosed with uppgivenhetssyndrom, or ‘resignation syndrome’.

Second prize in the People Singles category went to Alessio Mamo for his portrait of 11-year-old Manal, wearing a full face mask following plastic surgery to treat severe burns from a missile explosion in Kirkuk, Iraq.

A naked woman lies on her sofa facing away from us.
Alena (33) was born in Ukraine and raised in an orphanage. She moved from Donetsk to St Petersburg, Russia, after the war in Ukraine. Taken on 22 September 2017 on a Canon EOS 6D with a Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM lens. Tatiana Vinogradova was awarded third prize in the People Stories category. © Tatiana Vinogradova
Manal (11), a victim of a missile explosion in Kirkuk, Iraq, wears a mask.
Manal (11), a victim of a missile explosion in Kirkuk, Iraq, wears a mask for several hours a day to protect her face, following extensive plastic surgery at the Médecins Sans Frontières Reconstructive Surgery Program, Al-Mowasah Hospital, Amman, Jordan. Taken on 10 July 2017 on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III. Alessio Mamo won second prize in the People Singles category. © Alessio Mamo, Redux Pictures, for Médecins Sans Frontières

Nature Stories and People category

Tatiana Vinogradova’s project, Girls, was awarded third prize in the People Stories category. The series artfully poses sex workers in their apartments in St Petersburg, Russia – official statistics say that there are one million sex workers nationwide, despite being illegal in Russia.

Through these tender portraits, Tatiana speaks of the decline of the Russian economy that has led to a growing number of women becoming sex workers after losing their jobs.

Participants set off on a timed stage of the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert.
Participants set off on a timed stage of the Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands) on 3 March 2017, a 250km race in the Sahara Desert in southern Morocco. Erik Sampers won third place in the Sports Singles category. © Erik Sampers

Sports category

Third place in the Sports Singles category was Eric Sampers’ aerial image of the Marathon des Sables, a 250km race in the Sahara Desert in southern Morocco where participants carry their own food, sleeping gear and other materials. In the image, the runners appear as diminutive figures in the expansive desert.

Second prize in the Sports Stories category went to Juan D. Arredondo’s Peace Football Club series, which was also shot on Canon and sees members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), having laid down their weapons after more than 50 years of conflict, returning to civilian life… and the football pitch. Members of the Colombian army play friendly matches alongside victims of the conflict.

Second and third behind Ronaldo Schemidt’s World Press Photo Picture of the Year in the Spot News Singles category were Ryan Kelly with Car attack, shot for The Daily Progress, and Goran Tomasevic’s image called Mideast Crisis Iraq Mosul, shot for Reuters.

The winning photographs will go on tour around the globe in the World Press Photo exhibition, with the first opening in De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, on 13 April 2018.

Written by Emma-Lily Pendleton


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