Ronaldo Schemidt wins the World Press Photo of the Year Award

The Venezuelan photographer received the prize on Thursday night at the Awards Ceremony in Amsterdam. Among the winners, Heba Khamis, who was already awarded the 2nd prize of the PHM 2017 Women Photographers Grant. See all the results.

© Ronaldo Schemidt. José Víctor Salazar Balza catches fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela

The 61st annual World Press Photo Contest and the 8th annual World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest results were announced on Thursday night in Amsterdam at the foundation's annual Awards Show. The jury, chaired by Magdalena Herrera, awarded the prize to Ronaldo Schemidt’s picture entitled Venezuela Crisis, which also won first prize in the Spot News Single category. The image shows José Víctor Salazar Balza (28) on fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela. Salazar was set alight when the gas tank of a motorbike exploded. He survived the incident with first- and second-degree burns. Magdalena Herrera, director of photography at Geo France, commented: “The photo of the year has to tell an event, that is important enough, it also has to bring questions...it has to engage and has to show a point of view on what happened in the world this year”. She describes the winning photograph: “It’s a classical photo, but it has an instantaneous energy and dynamic. The colours, the movement, and it’s very well composed, it has strength. I got an instantaneous emotion…”. Here you can find all the other photos shortlisted.

© Heba Khamis. Banned Beauty - Contemporary Issues, 1st prize stories

Heba Khamis, the young Egyptian photographer awarded at the PHM 2017 Women Photographers Grant, won the first prize for projects on Contemporary Issues. Her story portrays breast ironing, a traditional practice in Cameroon that involves massaging or pressing the breasts of pubescent girls in order to suppress or reverse breast development. The practice is carried out in the belief that it will delay maturity and help prevent rapes or sexual advances. Although largely a Cameroonian practice, breast ironing does occur in some other countries across West and Central Africa. Mothers explain that the painful procedure is an act of love, to make sure their daughters don’t get pregnant and miss out on school or jobs. There is little medical research on the psychological and physical consequences of breast flattening, but according to the United Nations Population Fund, the practice exposes girls to numerous health problems deriving from tissue damage and infection.

© Ivor Prickett. The Battle for Mosul - General News, first prize stories

Irish photographer Ivor Prickett won the first prize in the General News category with a story that tell the reconquering of Mosul from ISIS. East Mosul was recaptured by the end of January 2017, but the offensive on west Mosul, particularly the densely built-up Old City, proved more difficult. Large areas of the city were left in ruins, and huge numbers of civilians were caught in the crossfire as battle raged. A United Nations report gives an absolute minimum of 4,194 civilian casualties during the conflict, with other sources putting the figure much higher. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed to extensive use of civilians as human shields, with ISIS fighters attempting to use the presence of civilian hostages to make certain areas immune from military operations.

© Kadir van Lohuizen. Wasteland - Environment, first prize stories

In the Environment category stands out the project on Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen. His project focuses on waste. According to research by the World Bank, the world generates 3.5 million tonnes of solid waste a day, ten times the amount of a century ago. Rising population numbers and increasing economic prosperity fuel the growth, and as countries become richer, the composition of their waste changes to include more packaging, electronic components and broken appliances, and less organic matter. Landfills and waste dumps are filling up, and the World Economic Forum reports that by 2050 there will be so much plastic floating in the world’s oceans that it will outweigh the fish. A documentation of waste management systems in metropolises across the world investigates how different societies manage—or mismanage—their waste.

@ Ami Vitale. Warriors Who Once Feared Elephants Now Protect - Nature, first prize stories

American photographer Ami Vitale received the first prize in the Nature category with her projects on orphaned and abandoned elephant calves that are rehabilitated and returned to the wild, at the community-owned Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in northern Kenya. The Reteti sanctuary is part of the Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust, located in the ancestral homeland of the Samburu people. The elephant orphanage was established in 2016 by local Samburus, and all the men working there are, or were at some time, Samburu warriors. In the past, local people weren’t much interested in saving elephants, which can be a threat to humans and their property, but now they are beginning to relate to the animals in a new way. Elephants feed on low brush and knock down small trees, promoting the growth of grasses—of advantage to the pastoralist Samburu.

© Adam Ferguson. Boko Haram Strapped Suicide Bombs To Them - People, first prize stories

In the People category, Australian photographer Adam Ferguson claims the first prize for his story on girls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants, taken in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. The girls were strapped with explosives, and ordered to blow themselves up in crowded areas, but managed to escape and find help instead of detonating the bombs. Boko Haram—a Nigeria-based militant Islamist group whose name translates roughly to ‘Western education is forbidden’—expressly targets schools and has abducted more than 2,000 women and girls since 2014. Female suicide bombers are seen by the militants as a new weapon of war. In 2016, The New York Times reported at least one in every five suicide bombers deployed by Boko Haram over the previous two years had been a child, usually a girl. The group used 27 children in suicide attacks in the first quarter of 2017, compared to nine during the same period the previous year.

@ Alain Schroeder. Kid Jockeys - Sports, first prize stories

In the Sport category the stories main prize went to Alain Schroeder. In his project he portrays child jockeys who ride bareback, barefoot and with little protective gear, on small horses, during Maen Jaran horse races, on Sumbawa Island, Indonesia. Maen Jaran is a tradition passed on from generation to generation. Once a pastime to celebrate a good harvest, horse racing was transformed into a spectator sport on Sumbawa by the Dutch in the 20th century, to entertain officials. The boys, aged between five and ten, mount their small steeds five to six times a day, reaching speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour. Winners receive cash prizes, and participants earn €3.50 to €7 per mount.

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See all the results at worldpressphoto.org.

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World Press Photo Foundation is an independent, non-profit organisation that supports professional photojournalism and visual storytelling founded in 1955, and based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

PHM 2018 Women Photographers Grant
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