In spite of a series of scandals, the Word Press Photo Awards have not lost their prestige. With any luck, the announcement of the 2016 Photo Contest winners will be free of any scandal. (Even though Nikon surely would like to pass the baton on.)
The Australian photographer Warren Richardson not only won first prize in the Spot News category, his image of a man passing a baby through a barbed wire fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border also was named the World Press Photo of the Year 2015. Like the winning photo by John Stanmeyer, which was crowned World Press Photo of the Year 2013, Richardson’s photo documents the European migrant crisis using his own visual vocabulary.
„This is an incredible image from the refugee crisis of 2015. It’s incredibly powerful visually, but it’s also very nuanced. We’ve seen thousands of images of migrants in every form of their journey, but this image really caught my eye. It causes you to stop and consider the man’s face, consider the child. You see the sharpness of the barbed wire and the hands reaching out from the darkness. This isn’t the end of a journey, but the completion of one stage of a very long future. And so, for me, this had to be the photo of the year.“, Vaughn Wallace of Al Jazeera America said.
If there was a price for the most haunting picture, Niclas Hammarström’s photo of a gang violence victim in Honduras would land on the top spot. And not unmentioned, in my perspective, should be John J. Kim’s “March Against Police Violence” showing an activist and a police sergeant face to face.
But of course, though rather the exception, there are winning pictures with a more positive outlook. Like the photo series about two pregnant women by Sara Lewkowicz.
Warren Richardson, Australia, 2015, Hope for a New Life
Sara Lewkowicz, USA, 2015, Emily and Kate and Eddie and Reid