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A Brutal and Beautiful Planet: The 2014 World Press Photo Winners

by Allison Meier on February 14, 2014

The 2014 World Press Photo of the Year John Stanmeyer/VII Photo Agency for National Geographic

The 2014 World Press Photo of the Year by John Stanmeyer of African migrants in Djibouti searching for cellphone signals on the beach (courtesy VII Photo Agency for National Geographic & World Press Photo)

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.

Phillipe Lopez's photograph of Philippines typhoon survivors (courtesy AFP, World Press Photo)

Spot News, 1st prize singles: Philippe Lopez’s photograph of Philippines typhoon survivors (courtesy AFP & World Press Photo)

Julius Schrank's photograph of Kachin fighters (courtesy De Volkskrant & World Press Photo)

Daily Life , 1st prize singles: Julius Schrank’s photograph of Kachin fighters (courtesy De Volkskrant & World Press Photo)

Markus Schreiber's photograph "Farewell Mandela" (courtesy AP & World Press Photo)

Observed Portraits, 1st prize singles: Markus Schreiber’s photograph “Farewell Mandela” (courtesy AP & World Press Photo)

Alessandro Penso's photograph of temporary accommodation for Syrian refugees (courtesy OnOffPictures & World Press Photos)

General News, 1st prize singles: Alessandro Penso’s photograph of temporary accommodation for Syrian refugees (courtesy OnOffPictures & World Press Photos)

Steve Winter's photograph of a cougar in Los Angeles' Griffith Park (courtesy National Geographic & World Press Photo)

Nature, 1st prize stories: Steve Winter’s photograph of a cougar in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park (courtesy National Geographic & World Press Photo)

Brent Stirton's photograph of "blind albino boys" in India (courtesy Getty Images & World Press Photo)

Staged Portraits, 1st prize singles: Brent Stirton’s photograph of “blind albino boys” in India (courtesy Getty Images & World Press Photo)

Goran Tomasevic's photograph of Syrian rebels attacking a government checkpoint (courtesy Reuters & World Press Photo)

Spot News, 1st prize stories: Goran Tomasevic’s photograph of Syrian rebels attacking a government checkpoint (courtesy Reuters & World Press Photo)

Peter Holgersson's photograph of Nadja Casadei, a Swedish heptathlon athlete with cancer (courtesy World Press Photo)

Sports Feature, 1st prize stories: Peter Holgersson’s photograph of Nadja Casadei, a Swedish heptathlon athlete with cancer (courtesy AP & World Press Photo)

View all the winners of the 2014 World Press Photo contest here.

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  • http://milano.bbakeca.com/ BBakeca

    Beautiful collection..

  • punktoad

    Searching for cellphone signal is iconic!!!

  • http://twitter.com/alikhan2100 ali khan

    wow …

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