19 February 2018

A Look at the World Press Photo of the Year Nominees

19 February 2018 - Written by Simon Hall

The World Press Photo Foundation has unveiled the finalists in each category of their two annual contests, including the six nominees for the World Press Photo of the Year: the most esteemed prize in photojournalism. For the first time, the winners will be announced at the Awards Show in Amsterdam on 12 April.

Warning: the photos in this article depict graphic violence that may be disturbing to some viewers.

Boko Haram Strapped Suicide Bombs to Them. Somehow These Teenage Girls Survived. - Aisha, age 14. © Adam Ferguson, for The New York Times. 21  September 2017. Aisha (14) stands for a portrait in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. After being kidnapped by Boko Haram, Aisha was assigned a suicide bombing mission, but managed to escape and find help instead of detonating the bombs.

For over half a century, the World Press Photo Awards have been celebrating the best of visual journalism, sharing powerful images to a worldwide audience, educating the public and those in the industry on their stories, and encouraging debate on their larger meaning.

This year, for the time in the contest’s history, the nominees for the top prize - World Press Photo of the Year - have been unveiled publicly, with the winner set to be announced at the Awards Show in Amsterdam on 12 April. The six shortlisted images together represent a combination of traditional photojournalism and new modes of visual storytelling, each documenting issues of great journalistic importance in the last year.

Rohingya Crisis © Patrick Brown, Panos Pictures, for Unicef. 28 September 2017. The bodies of Rohingya refugees are laid out after the boat in which they were attempting to flee Myanmar capsized about eight kilometers off Inani Beach, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. Around 100 people were on the boat before it capsized. There were 17 survivors.

Witnessing the Immediate Aftermath of an Attack in the Heart of London © Toby Melville, Reuters. 22 March 2017. A passerby comforts an injured woman after Khalid Masood drove his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London, UK, killing five and injuring multiple others.

Among them, Patrick Brown speaks about the death of children during the Rohingya refugee crisis; Adam Ferguson offers a poignant portrait of a 14 year-old girl who escaped from Boko Haram militants; Toby Melville captures the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack in London; Ronaldo Schemidt portrays the stark realities of the crisis engulfing Venezuela; and Ivor Prickett was nominated twice for images depicting powerful scenes from the battle for Mosul, Iraq.

The contest drew entries from 4,548 photographers from 125 countries and the jury, chaired by Magdalena Herrera, selected 42 nominees in eight categories. Of those shortlisted, PHM 2017 Women Photographers Grant second prize winner, Heba Khamis features in Contemporary Issues Stories for her work Banned Beauty, which documents the practice of breast ironing in African countries.

“The best visual journalism is not of something; it is about something. It should matter to the people to whom it speaks” says Lars Boering, managing director of the World Press Photo Foundation. “The great work in this 2018 edition of our contests helps us fulfill our purpose: connecting the world to the stories that matter.”

The Battle for Mosul - Lined Up for an Aid Distribution © Ivor Prickett, for The New York Times. 15 March 2017. Civilians who had remained in west Mosul after the battle to take the city line up for aid in the Mamun neighbourhood.

The Battle for Mosul - Young Boy Is Cared for by Iraqi Special Forces Soldiers © Ivor Prickett, for The New York Times. 12 July 2017. An unidentified young boy, who was carried out of the last ISIS-controlled area in the Old City by a man suspected of being a militant, is cared for by Iraqi Special Forces soldiers.

The World Press Photo of the Year award carries a cash prize of €10,000, as well as return airfare and hotel accommodation for travel to Amsterdam during World Press Photo Festival. The winner also receives a selection of camera equipment provided by Canon and a Golden Eye Award.

The prize-winning photographs are also assembled into a year-long exhibition that opens in De Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam on 14 April, before going on to visit 45 countries and 100 cities. The winning pictures are also published in an annual yearbook, which is available in multiple languages.

Venezuela Crisis © Ronaldo Schemidt, Agence France-Presse. 3 May 2017. José Víctor Salazar Balza (28) catches fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela.

To see the complete list of nominees in each category of both the 61st Photo Contest and the 8th Digital Storytelling Contest, visit


PHmuseum has supported the World Press Photo Foundation since 2016. Learn more about the World Press Photo contests and the organisation at

Written by

Simon Hall

Reading time

5 minutes

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