The 2014 World Press Photo contest awardees were announced today, with the winners for the major photojournalism prize showing both the wonder and violence of the past year.
The top winner of World Press Photo of the Year is by American photographer John Stanmeyer, showing young migrant workers in Africa holding their cellphones to the sky for reception on a Djibouti beach. The workers often have cheaper cellphone plans with the neighboring country of Somalia, and the glow of the screens against the moonlit sky is a resonating image of technology and connection. The ethereal image is definitely a contrast to the more starkly harrowing photographs of the recent Photo of the Years, such as Paul Hansen’s photograph of the funeral for children killed in Gaza City that won in 2013, Samuel Aranda’s 2012 capture a mother in Yemen cradling her son who had been caught in a tear gas attack, and Jodi Bieber’s portrait from 2011 of an 18-year-old girl whose nose and ears were cut off in Afghanistan after she fled her husband.
However, the 53 photographers honored in nine categories, from news to sports to nature, have found moments of both beauty and brutality, showing the scope of the world in all its complications. Julius Schrank photographed Kachin independence fighters singing at the funeral of one of their fallen, Brent Stirton took a striking photograph of blind albino boys in India, Steve Winter caught a cougar prowling Los Angeles, and Alessandro Penso the draped transformation of a Bulgarian school into a home for Syrian refugees.
Some of the World Press Photo winners are below, and all are viewable online at the World Press Photo site.