Mads Nissen’s “First Hug” photo has been voted World Press Photo Photo of the Year.
It presents an emotional reunion between a resident of a nursing home in Brazil and his loved one after six months of difference due to the pandemic.
The World Press Photo Foundation, an independent organization that has recognized the strongest press photos of the year since 1955, announced the winners of this year’s edition on Thursday.
Survival during the pandemic, the climate emergency, social protests and territorial conflicts were some of the facts and themes that the winners of the contest gave life to millions of people.
Up to 45 photographers from 28 countries stood out for the excellence of their work and the impact of their photographs.
Mads Nissen’s First Hug, Denmark
World Press Photo of the Year – Winner
This was the first hug Rosa received in five months. In March, nursing homes across the country closed their doors to all visitors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing millions of Brazilians from visiting their elderly relatives.
Habibi by Antonio Faccilongo, Italy
World Press Photo Story of the Year – Winner
Almost 4,200 Palestinians detained for security reasons are being held in Israeli prisons, according to a February 2021 report by the human rights organization B’Tselem. Some face sentences of 20 years or more.
Habibi, which means ‘my love’ in Arabic, tells love stories against the backdrop of one of the longest and most complicated conflicts in modern history.
Winners in other categories
Yemen: hunger, another war wound by Pablo Tosco, Argentina
Contemporary Issues Category – Singles
Fatima has nine children. In order to maintain them, he makes a living by fishing. Although her village was devastated by the armed conflict in Yemen, Fatima returned to resume her livelihood, buying a boat with the money she earned selling fish.
Sakhawood by Alexey Vasilyev, Russia
Category Contemporary issues, stories – 1st prize
The people of Sakha, a republic in the extreme northeast of the Russian Federation, live in a remote area with extreme weather conditions: temperatures can drop as low as -50 ° C in winter. Art has become a way of displaying and preserving Sakha culture, traditions and stories. Cinema has flourished there since the 1990s. Around seven to ten feature films are shot a year, by a local film industry happily nicknamed ‘Sakhawood’.
California sea lion plays with Ralph Pace mask, United States
Environment, singles category – 1st prize
California sea lions are playful animals, native to western North America. With COVID-19 closures across California, wildlife-rich outdoor and natural beauty spots became a popular focus for local travel.
Pantanal Ablaze by Lalo de Almeida, Brazil, Panos Pictures
Environment Category, Stories – 1st Prize
Nearly a third of Brazil’s Pantanal region, the world’s largest tropical wetland and flooded grasslands, stretching some 140,000 to 160,000 square kilometers, was consumed by fires over the course of 2020.
Paradise Lost by Valery Melnikov, Russia
General News Category, Stories – 1st Prize
Violence broke out in September between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Flooding Island Giraffe Rescue by Ami Vitale, USA
Nature category, singles – 1st prize
Rothschild’s giraffes are a subspecies of the northern giraffe and are classified as endangered. Longicharo Island was once a peninsula. The rising water level in Lake Baringo over the past ten years has cut the peninsula to form an island. Particularly heavy rains in 2019 caused more flooding, stranding nine giraffes. The local community worked with conservationists to build the barge and transport the abandoned animals to a sanctuary in the Ruko reserve on the shores of the lake.
Pandemic pigeons: a love story from Jasper Doest, the Netherlands
Nature category, stories, 1st prize
A pair of feral pigeons became friends with the photographer’s family, who were isolated in his apartment in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ollie and Dollie, as the family called them, were regulars around the house, their daily visits a reminder that humans are not alone on this planet, even when they live isolated in urban areas.
The World Press Photo of the Year and World Press Photo Story of the Year awards have a cash prize of € 5,000. The winning photographs are published in an annual yearbook and brought together in a year-long exhibition that typically visits more than 120 cities and 50 countries around the world and is viewed by more than four million people.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism