World Press Photo Story of the Year nominees

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World Press Photo Story of the Year nominees

In 2019, the World Press Photo Foundation introduced a new award to the annual photo contest: the World Press Photo Story of the Year.

As we move forward in photojournalism, people are taking a deeper look at things, so you are getting stories that are really in-depth and done over a period of time, and I think that needs to be rewarded.” – Chris McGrath, Australia, photographer for Getty Images and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

Pictures tell stories and some stories are complex, subtle, and require a set of pictures to be able to really absorb that situation and understand what the photographer’s interpretation and understanding of that situation is.” – Lucy Conticello, Italy/USA/United Kingdom, director of photography, M magazine, Le Monde, and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

The three nominees for World Press Photo Story of the Year are:

Hong Kong Unrest
Nicolas Asfouri, Denmark, Agence France-Presse

Protests began to be held in Hong Kong at the end of March in response to government proposals to amend existing legislation and allow extradition to mainland China. Anti-government demonstrations gathered momentum over the following weeks as pro-democracy groups united, with students playing a large role in protests and in human-chain rallies.

We are seeing a new type of youth on this planet. A youth who is determined to write their future (…), to confront very powerful and dangerous establishments and governments. This particular story encapsulated that in each and every single frame.” – Lekgetho Makola, South Africa, head of Market Photo Workshop and 2020 Photo Contest jury chair.

In this story, what I think made it was the editing by the photographer to include a specific look at the students that were involved in the protest. For me, when looking at this particular story about Hong Kong, it was that small element that drove us further and further.” – Chris McGrath, Australia, photographer for Getty Images and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Crash Site
Mulugeta Ayene, Ethiopia, Associated Press

On 10 March, Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302, a Boeing 737 MAX, disappeared from the radar six minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa airport and crashed into a field, killing all 157 people on board. The impact was so great that both engines were buried in a crater 10 meters deep, and any human remains were almost impossible to identify. On 14 November, eight months after the crash, the site of the impact was covered and the unidentified remains of victims buried in rows of identical coffins. 

I thought it was an extraordinarily powerfully and considerately done story that shares with us what the photographer saw in the aftermath of the clash of the Boeing jet that went down outside Addis Ababa.” – Pete Muller, United States, photographer, multimedia producer and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

It said a lot about the perception that still continues around how Africa is perceived. This particular project was a great platform to confront stereotypes of Africa. (…) For me, besides the death, the sorrow, the grieving, this project highlighted a very important issue to the rest of the world, that Africa is developing, Africa is not what people have known for many years, Africa is part of the world.” – Lekgetho Makola, South Africa, head of Market Photo Workshop and 2020 Photo Contest jury chair.

Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt
Romain Laurendeau, France

Young people make up more than half of Algeria’s population, and according to a UNESCO report 72% of people under 30 in Algeria are unemployed. Pivotal moments in Algerian history, such as the ‘Black October’ revolt of 1988, have had angry youth at their core. Black October was harshly suppressed—more than 500 people were killed in five days—and was followed by a ‘black decade’ of violence and unrest. Thirty years on, the effects of that decade are still present.

The photographer tries to tell the story of the young people not only right now but over several years. He tries to be near the neighborhood, the people, how they live… but it also shows the protests. (…). For me, this story is really powerful because you feel you are there.” – Mariana Bazo, Peru, photojournalist, and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

This story is a long-term project that was worked on over a number of years by a photographer who had tremendous access. Photographing in Algeria right now is extremely difficult. (…) Each photograph is well composed, the sequencing is flawless.” – Sabine Mayer, United States/France, director of Photography, the National Audubon Society and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

Jury perspectives

Watch the 2020 Photo Contest general jury discussing their choice of the three nominees for World Press Photo Story of the Year

World Press Photo of the Year nominees

The World Press Photo of the Year honors the photographer whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance that year.

When asked about their choice for nominees for World Press Photo of the Year, Lekgetho Makola, chair of the 2020 Photo Contest jury, said: “Every single image that made it to that level is a good image technically. It’s no longer about judging the technique. It’s about the potential impact of the image on society.”

We saw the things that made headlines but we also saw a lot of really important, interesting, subtle issues that are defining for the people who experienced them,” – Pete Muller, United States, photographer, multimedia producer and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

The three nominees for World Press Photo of the Year are:

Relative Mourns Flight ET 302 Crash Victim
Mulugeta Ayene, Ethiopia, Associated Press

A relative of a victim of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 throws dirt in her face as she mourns at the crash site, on 14 March. The force of the impact made human remains difficult to identify.

This is an extraordinary moment executed through a sort of conventional photojournalistic technique but capturing a really profound moment of universal human grief.” – Pete Muller, United States, photographer, multimedia producer and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

It shows the suffering of the people, and it is something that the photographer has been very sensitive about. For me, he shows it in a very beautiful way.” – Mariana Bazo, Peru, photojournalist, and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

Clash with the Police During Anti-Government Demonstration
Farouk Batiche, Algeria, Deutsche Presse-Agentur

Students scuffle with riot police during an anti-government demonstration in Algiers, Algeria, on 21 May.

This particular photo represents the need for youth to take charge of their future.” – Sabine Mayer, USA/France, director of Photography, the National Audubon Society and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

It aligns so many different faces and the expressions and colors really help you bounce off and want to read each one of those (…). In that picture, I feel like I was there with them and I am experiencing what they must have felt.” – Lucy Conticello, Italy/USA/United Kingdom, director of Photography, M Magazine, Le Monde and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

Straight Voice
Yasuyoshi Chiba, Japan, Agence France-Presse

A young man, illuminated by mobile phones, recites a poem while protestors chant slogans calling for civilian rule, during a blackout in Khartoum, Sudan, on 19 June.

This image speaks to the most important development in East Africa, a country that has never seen freedom and democracy in decades. One would have never expected that young people [would] begin to confront dictators and eventually topple them without raising a gun. We see this young person, he is not shooting, not throwing a stone, but reciting a poem, acknowledging but also voicing a sense of hope.” – Lekgetho Makola, South Africa, head of Market Photo Workshop and 2020 Photo Contest jury chair.

It shows the power of the youth, it shows the power of art, it shows hope. (…). It reinstates the strength that I think people need to see more often to be able to keep the hope alive, to fight these big battles that people are fighting.” – Tanvi Mishra, India, photo editor, curator, creative director, The Caravan, and 2020 Photo Contest General jury member.

Awakening
Tomek Kaczor, Poland, for Duży Format, Gazeta Wyborcza

A 15-year-old Armenian girl who has recently woken from catatonic state brought on by  Resignation Syndrome, sits in a wheelchair, flanked by her parents, in a refugee reception center in Podkowa Leśna, Poland.

When families move from one place to another, getting rejected, getting deported…It is not just about physical stress, it is also about psychological stress. (…) [When I saw this picture] I wanted to know more, I wanted to apologize, but before I just needed to understand what is happening.” – Lekgetho Makola, South Africa, head of Market Photo Workshop and 2020 Photo Contest jury chair.

For me, this picture is very powerful because of the composition of the hands, of the relatives taking care of her.” – Mariana Bazo, Peru, photojournalist, and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

Injured Kurdish Fighter Receives Hospital Visit
Ivor Prickett, Ireland, for The New York Times

Ahmed Ibrahim (18), a badly burned SDF fighter, is visited by his girlfriend at a hospital in Al-Hasakah, Syria, on 20 October. She had at first been reluctant to enter the room, as she was horrified by his injuries, but a nurse persuaded her to go in to hold Ahmed’s hand and have a short conversation.

We thought that this was a powerful story. The United States made a controversial decision to withdraw its troops from that area, Syria, and that withdrawal obviously had major military consequences for the inhabitants of that area.” – Pete Muller, USA, photographer, multimedia producer and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

It brings geopolitics to a very human, simple consequence. Big decisions have consequences, it affects human beings. To me, that’s what I see in this picture, and it is devastating.” – Sabine Mayer, USA/France, director of Photography, the National Audubon Society and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

Nothing Personal – the Back Office of War
Nikita Teryoshin, Russia

A businessman locks away a pair of anti-tank grenade launchers at the end of an exhibition day, at the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on 18 February.

This is a photograph that was taken at an international arms showcase event. (…) In my mind I sort of imagine him in this halls of power, going in and out of these meetings, presenting these devices to people who will buy and sell and ultimately deploy them, but most of them will never actually understand how devastating it is to be in the receiving end of a weapon like that.” – Pete Muller, USA, photographer, multimedia producer and member of the 2020 Photo Contest general jury.

It almost has a slightly glossy, advertising nature to it, and that’s where you wonder ‘does it follow within photojournalism? Does it not?’ But I think because it challenges that notion, that pulled us into it.” – Tanvi Mishra, India, photo editor, curator, creative director, The Caravan, and 2020 Photo Contest General jury member.

Jury perspectives

Watch the 2020 Photo Contest general jury discussing their choice of the six nominees for World Press Photo of the Year:

Category nominees

The jury nominated three single images and three stories in each of the eight categories of the 2020 Photo Contest: Contemporary Issues, General News, Environment, Nature, Long-Term Projects, Portraits, Spot News, and Sports. 

See the 2020 World Press Photo Contest nominees gallery

World Press Photo Interactive of the Year nominees

The World Press Photo Interactive of the Year award celebrates the production that creates engaging interactive storytelling, through skillful editing and design and effective synergy of form and content.

What I love about interactives is that you have the sort of space to go deeper with the story and be comprehensive in a way that you can’t always, with a short video,” said Murphy.

You don’t just use technology, technology must talk the language of humans. You must laugh and cry, and express all the human experiences through those technologies. I think interactive productions are doing a great job in that sense,” added Inadelso Cossa, director, producer, and cinematographer and 2020 Digital Storytelling Contest jury member.

Battleground PolyU
DJ Clark/China Daily

Tensions during the Hong Kong protests reached a peak in November 2019 after a protester was shot by a traffic policeman. Students occupied university campuses across the city and blocked key highways. After a fierce battle at the Chinese University, attention turned to the blockade at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) where students had closed off the Cross-Harbour Tunnel leading to it. Battleground PolyU is a 360-degree experience that immerses the viewer in a defining moment in the history of democracy.

Common Ground
Darren Emerson/East City Films

Common Ground is a multi-layered immersive journey into the history, politics and human face of the current crisis in the UK housing system. Through the monolithic concrete blocks of the notorious Aylesbury Estate, the biggest social housing estate in Europe, viewers enter the world of the estate from its birth in the 1960’s to its controversial redevelopment today. Showcasing a diverse range of media storytelling tools – stereoscopic 360 video, photogrammetry, 3D modelling, archive and interactivity – this VR documentary questions notions of community, examines the disenfranchisement of the working class, and captures the sense of betrayal that residents feel when they are forced to move on. Common Ground stands as a valuable digital record of place in a time of changing political and social realities. 

River of Forgiveness
Helios Design Labs

River of Forgiveness follows the story of the Dehcho Dené people in their indigenous territory in Canada’s remote Northwest Territories. In 2018, twelve Dené ventured into this wild landscape to re-engage with a way of life at risk of being lost. Together they undertook the construction of a 40-foot moose skin boat to travel down the South Nahanni River on an epic 500 kilometer journey through sacred land. River of Forgiveness seamlessly blends together a variety of audiovisual elements to bring the viewer with them as they head downstream on this remarkable journey. It is an immersive tribute to the spiritual power of nature to heal and Dené resilience, rising from the ashes of colonialism.

World Press Photo Online Video of the Year nominees

The World Press Photo Online Video of the Year award celebrates a video produced for the web, which through skillful editing and audio-visual design, tells a compelling story with an impact.

I was looking for digital storytelling in all of those categories that exemplify powerful reporting, creativity, and empathy. I’m interested in work where we hear directly from the people most impacted by current events,” said Murphy.

We were looking for something that also intentionally reflects our moment in time and the world, but also reflects the state of digital technology,” explains Adnaan Wasey, Canada, executive producer of Launchpad at WGBH. 

‘It’s Mutilation’: The Police in Chile Are Blinding Protesters
The New York Times

When protests erupted in Chile in October 2019, the police cracked down violently, maiming nearly 3,500 protesters with pellets and rubber bullets, many of whom suffered serious eye injuries. ‘It’s Mutilation’: The Police in Chile Are Blinding Protesters brings us inside a busy eye trauma unit in Santiago where doctors are responding to “an epidemic” of severe eye injuries amongst protesters. This short film lays bare abuses of power and heavy-handed security tactics that often leave irreversible damage to those fighting for democracy and justice.

A Different Kind of Force – Policing Mental Illness
Ed Ou/Kitra Cahana/NBC News

U.S. law enforcement officers are increasingly the first responders to incidents involving people with mental illness, but often lack the training to appropriately deal with these already-charged situations. In the San Antonio Police Department, a special plainclothes unit is trained specifically to handle mental health calls. Shot over several weeks, A Different Kind of Force — Policing Mental Illness gained incredible access to a 10-person unit responding to mental health related calls. Unflinching, intimate, and visceral, A Different Kind of Force – Policing Mental Illness gives an insight into the complex relationships between those living with mental illness, their loved ones, and the police.

Scenes From a Dry City
Francois Verster/Simon Wood/Field of Vision

What happens when a major metropolitan area runs out of water? This question is at the heart of Scenes From a Dry City, and one that is becoming increasingly urgent for the 4.5 million residents of Cape Town, South Africa. The city has been experiencing a severe water crisis since early 2017, when the municipal government began pleading with residents to conserve water. The engaging and often surprising vignettes expose the exacerbation of social inequality due to water shortage and give a stark representation of the impacts of the global climate crisis.

Category nominees

The jury also nominated three productions in each of the categories of the Digital Storytelling Contest: Long, Short and Interactive.

See the 2020 World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest nominees gallery

Winners announced in April

The winners of the 2020 Photo Contest and the Digital Storytelling Contest will be announced at the Awards Show taking place on 16 April in Amsterdam.

Both the World Press Photo of the Year and the World Press Photo Story of the Year awards carry a cash prize of 10,000 euros. Nominees have their travel to Amsterdam and lodging paid for by the World Press Photo Foundation so they can attend the Awards Show and the World Press Photo Festival featuring presentations, meetups and workshops.

Media are invited to attend the World Press Photo Awards Show by registering here: bit.ly/WPPh2020-Awards-Show.

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