Each year, photojournalists from around the world submit their best work to the World Press Photo Contest for consideration in various categories, either as standalone images or as a photo story, as well as the prestigious honor of Photo of the Year. World Press Photo, based in Amsterdam, was founded in 1955 and is the host of what many consider to be the world's most prestigious annual photography contest.
The judges in the World Press Photo Contest hand out awards in eight categories: spot news, general news, people, sports, contemporary issues, daily life, portraits, and nature. This year, the World Press Photo of the Year award was given to Mads Nissen, for his first prize-winning submission in the contemporary issues division. There were 97,912 photographs by 5,692 photographers submitted overall.
Click through the slideshow below to see a sample of the 2015 World Press Photo Contest winners. You can find more information about the contest and see photos from all the winners here.
World Press Photo 2015
Winners of the 58th World Press Photo Contest
Contemporary Issues 3rd Prize, stories
BLUE SKY DAYS
16 December 2013
Students in a schoolyard in El Dorado County, California.
Several thousand people have been killed by covert U.S. drone strikes since 2004. The photographer bought his own drone, mounted a camera and traveled across the United States looking for situations similar to those mentioned in strike reports from Pakistan and Yemen, including weddings, funerals, and groups of people praying or exercising. He also flew his camera over settings in which drones are used to less lethal effect, such as prisons, oil fields and the U.S.-Mexico border.
It was in the afternoon. I was sitting on my grandpa’s couch. The door was slightly open, and I saw light coming through, washed out between the white door and white walls. All of a sudden it all started making sense. I could relate what I was seeing with what I felt. John and Prova, my grandparents. Growing up, I found much love and care from them. They were young and strong.
As time went by, it shaped everything in its own way. Bodies took different forms and relations went distant. Grandma’s hair turned gray, the walls started peeling off and the objects were all that remained. Everything was contained into one single room. They always love the fact that I take pictures of them, because then I spend more time with them, and they don’t feel lonely anymore. After Prova passed away, I try to visit more so John can talk. He tells me stories of their early life, and how they met. There are so many stories. Here, life is silent, suspended. Everything is on a wait; A wait for something that I don’t completely understand.
Islamic State (IS) group militants stand near an airstrike on Tilsehir hill on the Turkish border with Syria at the village of Yumurtalik, Sanliurfa province, Turkey. After the flashpoint Syrian border town of Kobani came under assault by the extremist group, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to allow 200 Iraqi Kurd peshmerga fighters to travel through Turkey to come to the town’s defense.
A young girl was wounded during clashes between riot police and protestors after the funeral of Berkin Elvan, a 15-year-old boy who died from injuries suffered during anti-government protests. Riot police fired tear gas and water cannons at protestors in the capital Ankara, while in Istanbul, crowds shouting anti-government slogans lit a huge fire as they made their way to a cemetery for the boy’s burial.
Laurinda waits in her purple dress for the bus that will take her to Sunday School. She is among the many socially isolated young women in disadvantaged communities in Australia facing entrenched poverty, racism, trans-generational trauma, violence, addiction, and a range of other barriers to health and well-being.
Twin brothers Igor and Arthur hand out chocolates to their classmates to celebrate their ninth birthday. When they were two years old, their mother travelled to Moscow to work in the construction field and later died; they have no father. They are among thousands of children growing up without their parents in the Moldovan countryside. Young people have fled the country, leaving a dwindling elderly population and young children.
Shipwrecked people aboard a boat are rescued 20 miles north of Libya by a frigate of the Italian navy. After hundreds of men, women and children had drowned in 2013 off the coast of Sicily and Malta, the Italian government put its navy to work under Operation Mare Nostrum rescuing refugees at sea. Only in 2014, 170,081 people were rescued and taken to Italy. More than 42,000 had come from Syria, 34,000 from Eritrea, 10,000 from Mali, 9,000 from Nigeria, as many from Gambia, 6,000 from Palestine, and more than 5,000 from Somalia.
Photo Credit: Massimo Sestini
1st Prize, singles
26 August 2014
Damaged goods lie in a kitchen in downtown Donetsk. Ordinary workers, miners, teachers, pensioners, children, and elderly women and men are in the midst of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Artillery fire killed three people and wounded 10 on 26 August 2014.
Photo Credit: Sergei Ilnitsky
2nd Prize, stories
MASS ABDUCTION IN NIGERIA
13 May 2014
School uniforms belonging to three of the missing girls.
In her school notebook, Hauwa Nkeki wrote a letter to her brother: "Dear Brother Nkeki, Million of greetings goes to you thousand to your friend zero to your enemies." Hauwa is one of the nearly 300 girls who were kidnapped by the Islamic militants Boko Haram on 14 April 2014 from their school dormitory in Chibok, a remote village in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram’s name translates roughly to “Western Education is Sinful.” The group believes that girls shouldn’t be in school and boys should only learn the Koran.
For the past few years, Boko Haram has been burning villages to the ground, using forced recruitment and carrying out an ongoing insurgency. Many thousands have died and the region has been devastated. No one took much notice before the girls were kidnapped. In May 2014, a hashtag campaign (#BringOurGirlsBack) became viral on Twitter and swept the globe. Within a week, it had attracted over two million tweets. A media frenzy began and coverage of the protests was extensive. But the thing that’s been missing from most of the coverage is the girls themselves.
Medical staff at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center work to escort a man in the throes of Ebola-induced delirium back into the isolation ward from which he escaped. In a state of confusion, he emerged from the isolation ward and attempted to escape over the back wall of the complex before collapsing in a convulsive state. A complete breakdown of mental facilities is a common stage of advanced Ebola. The man pictured here died shortly after this picture was taken.
In 2014, an outbreak of the lethal Ebola virus arrived in the small West African country of Sierra Leone. The outbreak began in the remote forest regions of neighboring Guinea, where a young boy contracted the disease and set in motion the largest outbreak in history.
Sierra Leone, like Guinea and Liberia, was unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with the outbreak. With health care systems that failed to adequately address basic medical issues, citizens were uniquely susceptible to this deadly pathogen. It swept through the country with a fury, killing entire families and preying on those kind enough to care for the sick.
Cadet in the Koninklijke Militaire Academie, Breda, The Netherlands.
Portraits of cadets from the most important military academies of Europe.
Photo Credit: Paolo Verzone
1st Prize, Stories
22 January 2014
When spores of the fungus land on an ant, they penetrate its exoskeleton and enter its brain, compelling the host to leave its normal habitat on the forest floor and scale a nearby tree. Filled to bursting with fungus, the dying ant fastens itself to a leaf or another surface. Fungal stalks burst from the ant's husk and rain spores onto ants below to begin the process again.
Parasites are often dismissed as vile, lowly bloodsuckers, but some of these creatures have evolved the incredible ability to manipulate the bodies and minds of their hosts. The enslaved hosts turn into bodyguards, feeding machines, and transport vessels for their parasite overlords.
Julie, 18, stood in the lobby of the Ambassador Hotel, barefoot, pants unzipped, and an eight-day-old infant in her arms. She lived in San Francisco’s SRO district, a neighborhood of soup kitchens and cheap rooms. Her room was piled with clothes, overfull ashtrays and trash. She lived with Jack, who had given her AIDS, and father of her first baby, Rachel. Her first memory of her mother is getting drunk with her at 6 and then being sexually abused by her stepfather. She ran away at 14 and became a drug addict at 15. Living in alleys and crack dens, and bunked with more dirty old men than she cared to count. “Rachel,” Julie said, “has given me a reason to live.” San Francisco, California 1993
I first met Julie on January 28, 1993. For the next 21 years I have photographed Julie Baird and her family’s complex story of poverty, AIDS, drugs, multiple homes, relationships, births, deaths, loss and reunion. Following Julie from the streets of San Francisco to the woods of Alaska. By 2002, Julie had given birth to five children: Rachel, Tommy, Jordan, Ryan and Jason Jr. All were taken from her by the State of California. She had “stolen” one newborn from the hospital so he wouldn't be taken. A stunt that cost Julie and her partner, Jason, time in jail. In 2008, Julie gave birth to her sixth child, Elyssa, the only one they were able to keep.
A group of young Samburu warriors encounter a rhino for the first time in their lives. Most people in Kenya never get the opportunity to see the wildlife that exists literally in their own backyard.
Organized by sophisticated, heavily armed criminal networks and fueled by heavy demand from newly minted millionaires in emerging markets, poaching is devastating the great animals of the African plains. Much needed attention has been focused on the plight of wildlife and the conflict between poachers and increasingly militarized wildlife rangers, but very little has been said about the indigenous communities on the frontlines of the poaching wars and the work that is being done to strengthen them. These communities hold the key to saving Africa’s great animals.
A monkey cowers as its trainer Qi Defang approaches during training for a circus in Suzhou, Anhui province, China. With more than 300 circus troupes, Suzhou is known as the hometown of the Chinese circus.
Iran has one of the highest rates of executions carried out. Some of these executions are public. In December 2007, Abdollah, a 17-year-old boy, was killed in a street brawl in the Wednesday market in Nour by his childhood friend Balal. Balal was charged with murder and the complicated prosecution took seven years until he was sentenced to death.
Balal was due to be executed by hanging in the early morning of 15 April 2014. But moments before the sun rose, the victim’s mother, Samera Alinejad, decided to pardon Balal by slapping his face instead of pulling the chair from underneath his feet. In Islamic law, executions must be carried out before sunrise. After the images of this act of forgiveness were published, the lives of about 25 other murder convicts were spared.
Photo Credit: Arash Khamooshi
2nd Prize, stories
FINAL FIGHT FOR MAIDAN
19 February 2014
A deserted avenue in the Maidan after violent clashes with Ukrainian police.
After several months of violence, anti-government protesters remained mobilized by holding barricades in Kiev’s Independence Square, known simply as the Maidan. On Saturday, 20 February, unidentified snipers opened fire on unarmed protesters as they were advancing on Instituska Street. According to an official source, 70 protesters were shot dead. Ukrainian riot police claimed that several police officers were wounded or shot dead by snipers as well. An unofficial source said that snipers opened fire on the police and protesters at the same time in order to provoke both camps. 20 February was the bloodiest day of the Maidan protests, and two days after, President Viktor Yanukovych left the country.
Wei, a 19-year-old Chinese worker, wearing a face mask and a Santa cap, stands next to Christmas decorations being dried in a factory, as red powder used as coloring hovers in the air. Wei needs to change the mask five times a day, and the cap protects his hair from the red dust.
Jon, 21, and Alex, 25, a gay couple, during an intimate moment. Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people is becoming increasingly difficult in Russia. Sexual minorities face legal and social discrimination, harassment, and even violent hate-crime attacks from conservative religious and nationalistic groups.