Promoting every year the work of hundreds of photographers and journalists, World Press Photos aim is to increase public awareness on social issues, general and spot news and basically anything interesting going on in this complicated world. It is definetly one of my favorite competitions. Every year I cannot wait to scroll through their galleries and be inspired by the amazing work of the photojournalists showcased on the website.
World Press Photo of the Year 2012
20 November 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories.
The bodies of two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and his elder brother Muhammad, almost four, are carried by their uncles to a mosque for their funeral, in Gaza City. The children were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike on 19 November. The strike also killed their father, Fouad, and severely injured their mother and four other siblings. Israel had begun an intense offensive against Hamas-ruled Gaza on 14 November in response to continued rocket fire from Palestinian militant groups. In the first days of the offensive, Israel struck at targets of military and strategic importance, though the scope of attack later widened to include residences suspected of harboring Hamas militants. By the time a ceasefire was brokered on 21 November, over 150 people had been killed in Gaza. Of these 103 were thought to be civilians, including at least 30 children.
1st Prize General News Single
10 March 2012, Idlib, Syria
Aida cries as she recovers from severe injuries sustained during a Syrian military bombardment of her home, in the northern city of Idlib. Her husband and two children were killed in the attack. Syrian troops launched a vigorous assault on Idlib, a center of the uprising against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. The shelling of Idlib began just hours after UN envoy Kofi Annan had arrived in Damascus, on a high-profile international mission aiming to mediate an end to the conflict.
1st Prize Sports – Sports Action Single
12 February 2012, West Sumatra, Indonesia
A competitor and his charges reach the finish of a bull race, in Batu Sangkar, West Sumatra.Pacu Jawi is a 400-year-old tradition in the area, held after the rice harvest once the paddies have been cleared. Competitors yoke themselves barefoot to two bulls using a wooden harness, and drive the animals by gripping their tails.Winners are judged by their ability to run in a straight line, and by whether both animals are cooperating. Some 600 bulls and 50 farmers participated over a number of races in Pacu Jawi in February.
1st Prize Contemporary Issues Single
03 April 2012, Nairobi, Kenya
A woman sits on bags of waste she has salvaged, at the Dandora municipal dump, outside Nairobi, Kenya. She said that she enjoys looking at books, even industrial catalogues, as a break from picking up garbage.The dumpsite, some 8 km from the center of the Kenyan capital, is one of the largest rubbish dumps in Africa. People living in the slum area around the site have been found to suffer from increased levels of lead in their blood, as well as above normal incidence of kidney disease and cancer. Gases rising from decomposing waste lead to high rates of respiratory disease. Despite the health risks, between 6,000 and 10,000 people earn a living from the dumpsite, seeking food waste, scavenging goods for resale, or separating materials for recycling. Informal cartels run the recycling operation, paying pickers around €2 a day. Opened in 1975, the dump should—under international environmental laws—have been closed after 15 years. It remains in use, despite being declared full in 2001.
1st Prize Sports – Sports Features Stories
22 July 2012, Kolesa, Czech Republic
The Velká Pardubická was first held in 1874, and has gained a reputation as one of the toughest and most grueling steeplechases in the world. Held each October in the town of Pardubice in the Czech Republic, the race has been run almost every year since its founding.The steeplechase was not held during the two world wars, nor in 1968, because of the political situation in the then Czechoslovakia. Adverse weather conditions have only twice led to its cancellation. Due to the difficulty of the track, horses cannot compete unless they are at least seven years old and have finished one of the four qualifying races held between May and September at different locations around the country. The Velká Pardubická is run over a distance of 6,900 meters, with the horses having to negotiate a total of 31 obstacles—some of legendary difficulty. The most notorious is Taxis Ditch, a one-meter-deep ditch hidden behind a hedge half as high again. Over the years the obstacle has cost the lives of 27 horses. The race usually lasts around ten minutes, and is run by 15 to 20 horses, ridden by some of the best jockeys in the country. Winning—or at least competing in—the Velká Pardubická is considered the highpoint of a jockey’s career.
2nd Prize Spot News Stories
10 October 2012, Aleppo, Syria
A Free Syrian Army fighter takes up position in the Sulemain Halabi district, a rebel stronghold, during clashes with government forces. The Syrian commercial hub of Aleppo was the scene of some of the bloodiest clashes in the ongoing uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Both government and opposition forces considered control of Aleppo to be strategically important to their aims. The FSA first seized parts of the city in July. In the months that followed, government forces battled to recapture it, with limited success. By the end of the year, the Syrian military had control over a western segment of the city, with the rebels entrenched in much of the east and south. Some of the fiercest fighting was in and around the Old City.
1st Prize Contemporary Issues Stories
22 June 2012, Hoh Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phan Thi Thuy Vy (20, left) and Dang Thi Bich Bay (20), both students, relax at the end of the day watching television. They have been together for a year. Vietnam has historically been unwelcoming to same-sex couples, but in 2012 the Vietnamese government announced it was considering recognizing same-sex marriage, a move that would make it the first Asian country to do so. Despite past human rights issues and a long-standing stigma against homosexuality, parliamentary debate on same-sex marriage was scheduled for 2013. Polls showed that majority public opinion remained opposed to the idea. In August 2012, the country’s first gay pride parade took place in Hanoi.
3rd Prize People – Observed Portraits Single
19 February 2012, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Kayla stands with her American Girl doll, in front of a portrait of her ancestors at home in Boston. The dolls come in a range of different ‘characters’, with varying skin tones and hairstyles, that customers can choose from.
2nd Prize Daily Life Single
08 July 2012, Jeselo, Italy
The photographer’s family, early one morning on summer holiday in northern Italy.
3rd Prize C Contemporary Issues Single
29 March 2012, Barcelona, Spain
Mireia Arnau (39) reacts behind the broken glass of her shop, stormed by demonstrators clashing with police in Barcelona, during a general strike on 29 March. The national strike was called in protest against the government’s labor reforms. In an ongoing climate of economic difficulty, parliament was proposing stringent cuts, as well as measures aimed at making it easier for businesses to fire employees. Spain’s unemployment was running at over 24 percent, the highest in the European Union, with half of under 25s out of work. Most protests across the country were peaceful, but in Barcelona some demonstrators hurled rocks at banks and shop fronts.
2nd Prize Sports – Sports Action Stories
31 July 2012, London, UK
Fencing at the London 2012 Olympics. Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt (top) in action against Peter Joppich of Germany during the men’s foil individual match. Abouelkassem won the bout and went on to take a silver medal.
1st Prize Nature Stories
18 November 2011, Ross Sea, Antarctica
Swimming emperor penguins shoot to the water’s surface. The cloud of bubbles they create may help confuse predators. Emperor penguins’ body shape and poor climbing ability make it difficult for the birds to haul themselves ashore, especially onto icy or rocky coasts. It is also a moment when they are especially vulnerable to attacks by predators, such as the leopard seal. But the flightless emperor penguin is capable of becoming airborne, by swimming at up to three times its normal speed, and launching itself from the water to clear the edge of a shoreline. Recent research shows that the penguins do this by releasing air from their feathers, in the form of tiny bubbles. The bubbles act as a lubricant, cutting drag, and enabling the birds to achieve bursts of speeds that would otherwise be impossible.
1st Prize People – Staged Portraits Stories
17 October 2012, Conakry, Guinea
Makone Soumaoro (30) “My neck doesn’t hurt, but I worry that it swells so much. I hope it is not a tumor, because I’m a housewife and my husband and children need me.” People receiving treatment on Africa Mercy, a hospital ship docked at Conakry, Guinea.
1st Prize People – Observed Portraits Singles
27 February 2012, Belgrade, Serbia
Milan (4) leaves the hospital on 27 February, three months after surviving a family suicide attempt in which both his father and mother died. All three jumped from a sixth-floor balcony, in Belgrade, Serbia. Milan’s parents had been experiencing financial difficulties in the midst of a struggling national economy.
2nd Prize Prize People – Staged Portraits Single
06 February 2012, Beijing, China
Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei is active across a number of media, including sculpture, installation, architecture, photography and film. He is highly vocal in his criticism of the Chinese government’s record on democracy and human rights, and in his investigations of corruption and cover-up. In 2011, Ai was detained by the authorities, accused of tax evasion. He spent time in jail and under house arrest, and he cannot travel without government permission. In May, Ai was a recipient of the inaugural Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent, awarded by the Human Rights Foundation.
A total of 54 photographers of 33 different nationalities were awarded at the latest edition of the WPPC. The winning images will be presented in an exhibition visiting more than 100 cities in over 45 countries. Be sure not to miss the chance of seeing it when it comes to your country, you can check the calendar here.
The winning images will be also featured in the 2012 World Press Photo Yearbook which you can buy here.
Hi, my name is Stefano Pedroni. I'm a Milan based freelance photographer with a passion for travel reportages and photojournalism. Here is where I share my vision of our planet through my own work and that of other selected photographers.