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World Press Photo announces 2012 contest winners

By dpreview staff on Feb 11, 2012 at 00:08 GMT

Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda has won the World Press Photo 2011 award. The prize comes for his image of a woman holding a relative wounded during protests against Yemen's President Saleh. The World Press Photo Contest 2012 also awarded prizes in 18 other categories ranging from Arts and Entertainment to Portraits. Some of these images may be familiar from news coverage throughout the year but they make a compelling and inspiring reminder of the breadth of photography, even within the confines of press usage.

World Press Photo 2011

  Samuel Aranda, Spain, for The New York Times

All the winning and runner-up images can be seen at the World Press Photo website and are well worth a look:

Comments

Total comments: 173
12
Sai Kham Lynn
By Sai Kham Lynn (Feb 25, 2012)

The great image,I like it also appreciation to Spanish photographer Mr.Samuel Aranda.

0 upvotes
CameraLabTester
By CameraLabTester (Feb 18, 2012)

Was this taken by an X10 or is that an orb on the lower left?

1 upvote
Rmano
By Rmano (Feb 18, 2012)

You'll never seen an X10 "orb". This one is a simple highlight, with the shape of an hole letting pass the harsh light in another room or the outside. An X10 orb is round, white with a border, an unnatural. See http://www.dcresource.com/news/newsitem.php?id=4467

0 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Feb 17, 2012)

Give me an hour more in the national gallery please, any day.

0 upvotes
Tape5
By Tape5 (Feb 17, 2012)

Art, information gathering, talent, cliché, nonsense, fizzy drinks...I find that they all get a bit muddled up in these types of photographic series. It is one of the mysteries of the human mind that it finds it fascinating to watch how humans deal with pain in an ethereal and surrealistic way. Thanks for the news hour reportage, but don’t start defining art unless you are communicating something profound in your documentation of your scenes.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Dustinash
By Dustinash (Feb 17, 2012)

I think a photo of ghadafi's corpse in the meat locker where he was on display would have been way more powerful.

0 upvotes
Antony John
By Antony John (Feb 16, 2012)

Seeing a photo of the Wall Street crowd dangling from windows would have brought a bigger tear to my eye.
Then again, it would have been tears of joy ...
Humanity would have been better represented by photographs of those that have been baddly affected (millions) by the economic collapse which has affected the globe.
Surely there were enough opportunities?

1 upvote
AndrewPG24
By AndrewPG24 (Feb 16, 2012)

That's what i called "Photo speaks louder than it is". Great Photo. like that....

2 upvotes
marianco
By marianco (Feb 15, 2012)

Lose the burqa.

3 upvotes
EvokeEmotion
By EvokeEmotion (Feb 16, 2012)

Lose your prejudice and small mindedness.

1 upvote
Dustinash
By Dustinash (Feb 17, 2012)

its not prejudice, its postjudice. Religion should be illegal.

1 upvote
M T Wong
By M T Wong (Feb 15, 2012)

For all of you who doubts its quality or the motivation resides in the heart of the photographer, I only want to say: there's is no accident for one's success.

0 upvotes
Alex West
By Alex West (Feb 14, 2012)

really?

Am I the only person that notices the designer handbag and 100% clean burka?

Kinda strange. He/She/it goes out/shopping and all of a sudden puts on gloves and hugs this person.

Maybe.

3 upvotes
EvokeEmotion
By EvokeEmotion (Feb 16, 2012)

Not everyone can afford genuine designer handbags. It is most likely a knock-off because that is all that most ladies in third world countries can afford. Until you and I walk in the shoes of the poor, you have no idea what it is like. Instead of casting doubts like you did, which smacks of jealousy, why can't we be happy for the winner?

0 upvotes
Dustinash
By Dustinash (Feb 17, 2012)

cause the winners photo sucks? poor light, mediocre composition, trite theme.. any frame out of a star wars movie has all the impact, none of the bore.

1 upvote
jameshamm
By jameshamm (Feb 14, 2012)

Can you believe it was shot at a speed of 0.4 sec?

2 upvotes
Beestripe
By Beestripe (Feb 14, 2012)

I'd say it's a misprint, 1/40 more likely - close up sample here - http://imgur.com/GaAJT

0 upvotes
Dustinash
By Dustinash (Feb 17, 2012)

HINT* 0.4 is easy to do on a tripod with posed models.

1 upvote
Beestripe
By Beestripe (Feb 19, 2012)

Aperture f2, ISO 400 ? not exactly a tripod setting, and judging by the available light in the shot, photo most certainly would have been whited out @ 0.4
Also any photojournalist with a modicum of competence, would surely be aware of an appropriate shutter speed.

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (Feb 13, 2012)

Having reviewed the other images, I must say that this would have not been my choice as winner, but well done Samuel all the same!

Competitions are a bit subjective anyway, no matter who the judges are.

1 upvote
mister_roboto
By mister_roboto (Feb 13, 2012)

Wow- the comments on this post remind me why I don't read comments or participate much with the forums here.

6 upvotes
Feud
By Feud (Feb 15, 2012)

You said it for me. I've all but stopped coming over to DP Review because of all the nitpicking and negativity.

0 upvotes
Jesse Crandle
By Jesse Crandle (Feb 18, 2012)

I agree as well. People are extremely critical with their comments on this site. While I love the hard working men and women who strive to give us excellent data about cameras I find most of the commenters have something harsh and snide to say at every possible turn. "I don't think this image should have won"? No, "Politics and west propaganda." How delightful. I was reading an article on here about the Lytro camera, the comments were pretty crude for such a simple and cheap product. I read things like "nothing but a marketing gimmick", alright if that's what it is no one said you have to buy it, but that doesn't mean you need to be so resentful about the product. I think people need to get a life and talk to people one on one rather than using facebook to accrue friends like it's some fantasy game, but I don't get online and try to p*ss off everyone who has a facebook.

0 upvotes
gigabloke
By gigabloke (Feb 13, 2012)

I appreciate the diversity of opinion expressed in the comments here. They have given me new, alternative perspectives on the winning image, and on photo-journalism in general.

There is more to this picture than meets the eye!

1 upvote
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Feb 13, 2012)

Politics and west propaganda. That's the only thing I see.

3 upvotes
klopus
By klopus (Feb 13, 2012)

Where do you see "Politics and west propaganda"? I see human suffering and human devotion. Only shows that you don't have to see faces to feel common human traits.

1 upvote
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Feb 13, 2012)

Mubarak Steps Down
Battle for Libya
On Revolution Road
etc.

0 upvotes
klopus
By klopus (Feb 13, 2012)

Anton, if you are implying that they've chosen this photo based on what yet another third world humanitarian crisis (and its one sided bleeding heart interpretation) now en vogue I will totally agree. But that's just a context which you are imposing on this photo. The image shows only what it has nothing less, nothing more. Just try to judge it on the merits.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 14, 2012)

Would a heroic photo of one of the deposed leaders have been more fair or impartial? Heaven knows, there has been an abundance of those on billboards, posters, TV screens, murals, and so forth.

Only the burka gives any sort of geographic cue. Otherwise, the subject could be a protester gassed in Athens, a OWS squatter dragged out of a tent, a battered Tibetan dissenter, a blogger extradited to be executed for apostasy, a hockey hooligan trampled by a mob, or a Russian lawyer who dies in a cell.

At any rate, some sort of content is hard to avoid, and it's hard to neutralize any message into a neutral mental buzz, of the sort that comes from a beer. Were it all a matter of pure aesthetic, I'd vote for some macro shots of bugs devouring eachother, which are reminiscent of so much.

0 upvotes
dtmoody
By dtmoody (Feb 13, 2012)

Ok, time for a new Top story/news bit. Tired of seeing this one at the top and nothing new. It's like they leave it here just until the comments/page views die down, then they add something new.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 13, 2012)

A sort of pietà with black burka. This sort of composition has been honored for a long, long time. It is supposed to wrench out empathy that leads to global action. Perhaps a Security Council Resolution that gets vetoed by other permanent members.

Meanwhile, Pontius Saleh is undergoing medical treatment. Maybe his PR staff can gain the boss some empathy with a poignant hospital bed shot. Hey, if it works for the goose, why not the gander? But, even if it does not, the gentleman need not worry much. Provisions for his heirs have been long in the making, and life will be merry.

Anyway, it appears that war, disaster, famine, violence, and pain fare asthe besttopics if one wants to get published or kudos. "Saturday in the Park" just won't cut it.

1 upvote
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 14, 2012)

Better, then, to gaze in an entranced stupor and say "Duh"? Did the photographer pick Yemen simply because it would be a tableaux for abstract compositions? Is everything else just noise? Or is the sports page the only place to turn for facts or events?

Wouldn't a photo of Sonia Vergara sipping an unlabeled soda be more appetizing? Less booooring?

0 upvotes
Jesse Crandle
By Jesse Crandle (Feb 18, 2012)

Or it could just be trying to say that war, disaster, famine, violence, and pain benefit no one. This man could've been fighting for an oppressive regime and been mortally wounded, but does that make the suffering any less? Does this woman feel less anguish because the man was fighting for the right/wrong reason? It's about empathy, about feeling sympathy for our fellow man. If you don't feel empathy for other humans and the pain and suffering I'm going to have to say you're not a lot better than Saleh himself. Or maybe you're hurt yourself and just like to escape the harshness of reality in Saturdays in the Park.

0 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Feb 13, 2012)

the comment stream here is ... the result of dehumanizing of "the other". Blessed are the ones capable of empatic emotional responses beyond the cultural boundaries.

3 upvotes
Fonske
By Fonske (Feb 13, 2012)

Not meaning to criticize the photo in any way, just wondering..why hold a suffering person in such an uncomfortable position? The hand on his throat looks a bit menacing, IMO..

3 upvotes
dtmoody
By dtmoody (Feb 13, 2012)

Looks she was probably in the process of moving his arm when the photo was taken. Thus it looks uncomfortable in the shot.

0 upvotes
S Staley
By S Staley (Feb 13, 2012)

What an awesome image it speaks to the soul

2 upvotes
dtmoody
By dtmoody (Feb 13, 2012)

oh yes... its speaks alright.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 14, 2012)

Speaks what?

0 upvotes
Gaspar17
By Gaspar17 (Feb 13, 2012)

I'm astonished reading some messages below. I must admit I'm as simple as finding this photograph inspiring, moving and beautiful. It breaths sensibility and understanding of the suffering. It's got movement, tension and peace. It gives a second lecture and get you to wonder whether you understood the whole situation.
It's hard to realize that photography requires something from you, not only technology.

3 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 13, 2012)

In plain words, the photo made you sigh.

0 upvotes
EvokeEmotion
By EvokeEmotion (Feb 16, 2012)

You don't know that. You weren't there, were you?

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Stabes
By Stabes (Feb 13, 2012)

Personally, I find images like this offensive and highly invasive of people's privacy (regardless of whether permission was obtained). To gain from other's misery... well... I hope the photographer can live with it. I certainly couldn't.

2 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 13, 2012)

Maybe there is an element of a risk premium included?
Would you want to go to Yemen under those circumstances?

Although I can appreciate your personal oppinion - might even agree - taking these kind of pcitures is not a simple matter of boarding a plane. It includes putting yourself at risk.

1 upvote
tessl8d
By tessl8d (Feb 13, 2012)

So no evening news for either of you ever, right?
Describing Samual Aranda as 'A blood thirsty war correspondant' is both simplistic and naive. Larry Burrows stated that his main objective in covering conflict was, 'to show the interested and shock the uninterested people into realising and facing war'.On one occasion Burrows put down his camera and assisted in the rescue of a downed pilot. He along with Huet,Potter and Shimamoto died in a chopper crash in Laos in 1971.As for financial rewards, how much would you ask if you knew your next set of photos might be your last?

2 upvotes
Ilkka Nissilä
By Ilkka Nissilä (Feb 13, 2012)

So, only song and dance and maybe a sunset should be photographed? The media have the responsibility to bring home what it is like to be in war, so that people do not start wars so lightly.

1 upvote
Stabes
By Stabes (Feb 13, 2012)

Cue the sarcastic responses.
What I said was that I (that would be me!) find the taking of photos of suffering people suffering deeply invasive of their right to privacy, not too mention stepping all over their dignity. Clearly this photographer, and others, feel its okay. Fine. That's for them to live with.

0 upvotes
Colin Dutton
By Colin Dutton (Feb 13, 2012)

Quite often people experiencing tragedy actually want the press to be there and record what they or their community are going through.

I think the majority of photojournalists work for genuine humanistic motives, wishing to highlight problems and injustices in the world so that others might respond to bring about change. It's true also that photojournalism is a career, and that as such a certain amount of glory hunting goes on. Photographing certain subjects and entering certain competitions is one way of advancing that career.

Personally I feel that ethical problems arise at the point when the photographs are presented out of context. Particularly when images created as journalism are later presented as art. But if you look at book and travelling exhibition World Press Photo seem careful not to overstep this mark.

Photojournalism is an ethical minefield but its best practitioners are usually well aware of their responsibilities.

2 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 13, 2012)

Just to emphasize Colin's point:

"At the turn of the century, Lewis Hine bridged the gap between social justice and artistic photography with his studies of childen in factories, and the work led directly to the enactment of humane child labor laws".
Quote: Burnbaum.

1 upvote
tessl8d
By tessl8d (Feb 13, 2012)

Not only sunsets, songs and dances but also Eh Oh!....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCbXJDywXc0&feature=endscreen&NR=1

0 upvotes
doctorbza
By doctorbza (Feb 13, 2012)

if you would like to explore this topic a bit further please watch the excellent documentary "war photographer" about the work of James Nachtwey.

0 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 14, 2012)

Maloy.

Here's an article that might put some things into perspective. I still have chills down my spine when i look at the Soweto-photo. I for one wouldn't want to be a war photographer.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jun/18/war-photographers-special-report

Although you're entitled to questioning their motives - it hardly seems like a walk in the park.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
upsetter
By upsetter (Feb 13, 2012)

So many of these images are nothing more than snaps.
I thought "The New Amazons" was actually a tsunami image, but I suppose the interest in the protester blinded viewers to the fact that the buildings are falling down!

2 upvotes
SnapHappy32
By SnapHappy32 (Feb 13, 2012)

This photo ticks a lot of boxes for me.

I've revisited it a lot of times this morning and I keep getting sucked in. It simply makes me think about the situation it was shot in.

For a photo to win such a contest it (seemingly) has to adress a larger issue than the actual situation depicted. It does. It has political impact. It elevates the burca-wearing woman to something resembling af pillar of comfort. It challenges a (common?) paradigm.

Not my favourite of the entrants - but a great photo.

1 upvote
Ehsom
By Ehsom (Feb 13, 2012)

This first prize creation only looks theatrical - but it is a very strong documentation of the present crazy world human suffering.

1 upvote
sfnikon
By sfnikon (Feb 13, 2012)

It's good but given the huge number of images submitted I'm disappointed.
Off hand can think of a dozen photos taken by James Nachtwey that are more powerful.

1 upvote
Keeper78
By Keeper78 (Feb 13, 2012)

Press photography is the last stand in front of all this bugs, what they thing having a 16 MP and a 2.8 lens make them an artist of the image.
To capture kids, animals or landscape is something, to capture emotions is totally different.

2 upvotes
Miwok
By Miwok (Feb 12, 2012)

@harrisoncrac: Compared to your gorgeous gallery, of course...

4 upvotes
harrisoncac
By harrisoncac (Feb 12, 2012)

Ugly

0 upvotes
Flaish
By Flaish (Feb 12, 2012)

Awesome! Powerfull. Talented!

1 upvote
hooshmand shokoohi
By hooshmand shokoohi (Feb 12, 2012)

does everybody knows where is she from?

0 upvotes
Pselo
By Pselo (Feb 12, 2012)

Sana (Yemen).
You can find more information about in Spanish
http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2012/02/10/actualidad/1328869732_719096.html
and
http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2012/02/10/actualidad/1328879850_629068.html
regards

0 upvotes
TsaiProject
By TsaiProject (Feb 12, 2012)

Makes me cry.

0 upvotes
ktzuguttenberg
By ktzuguttenberg (Feb 12, 2012)

Had the jury tomatoes on the eyes?
The worst year in this photo contest: compose all - nothing is real
Well - in Spain, Greece etc. fake is everything, even the balance sheets of the Staten

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
cesaregal
By cesaregal (Feb 12, 2012)

I've seen the other photo of Samuel Aranda and I realized that all are truth (same lights, same atmosphere).

http://www.samuelaranda.net/

0 upvotes
Felipe Rodríguez
By Felipe Rodríguez (Feb 13, 2012)

Was the jury Spanish or Greek, perhaps? Your comment is inappropriate and xenophobic. You're stupid.

4 upvotes
IgorAdam
By IgorAdam (Feb 13, 2012)

I totally agree with you. I'd have KICKED OUT users from dpreview with such comments...

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 14, 2012)

He means that something less fake, perhaps Neuschwanstein or the German public pension actuarial projections, would be more real. Pitty the hard landing in store.

0 upvotes
explorer70
By explorer70 (Feb 14, 2012)

As long as you don't insult england or germany we will all be fine

0 upvotes
JCazals
By JCazals (Feb 12, 2012)

Reminding me of the Christ being taken of the cross . A painting ! Beautiful indeed. Peaceful and powerful somehow. Deserve the price indeed !

2 upvotes
quota
By quota (Feb 12, 2012)

you are right, the composition is definitely a 'pieta'
a very deserving winner indeed!

2 upvotes
Rachotilko
By Rachotilko (Feb 13, 2012)

Surely, Buonarotti must have seen something like this in his life. However, respect for humans does not allow me to restrict myself to aesthetic categoriae when responding to this image.

0 upvotes
Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Feb 13, 2012)

Buonarotti saw it in every church. He chipped, carved, and polished the marble work on commission and he knew the sponsors' tastes and what effects would work. The business remains about the same.

0 upvotes
GordonSaunders
By GordonSaunders (Feb 12, 2012)

Competitions usually lead to conformity but that shouldn't take away from the humanity in the images which have been chosen. Those who carp about the lighting or composition might be better using their time to learn from the masters. The problem for the whiners is that learning is much more difficult than sneering.

0 upvotes
Heru Anggono
By Heru Anggono (Feb 12, 2012)

The backdrop is definitely made of fibreboard and rather poorly constructed on uneven ground, you can see light peeping in from bottom left corner. Very possibly a makeshift emergency hospital. It's very hot outside and pretty obvious from the perspiration on his body. There are other man lying on mat to his left and right.

Remind me of Pieta which Philz mentioned before.

For those who are culturally challenged, it's not a ninja drab, it's called burqa. Go and look in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burqa

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
ikravchik
By ikravchik (Feb 12, 2012)

P.S.
I am surprised by how many people are criticizing this photo: It is staged, the lighting is poor, the lunar landing was filmed in a Hollywood basement,... THE ONLY THING THAT'S FAKE AND PLASTIC HERE ARE YOUR COMMENTS! Move out of your parents basement and grow up. Also be very glad that you live in America where the only thing you worry about is loosing 50 pounds as your New Years resolution.

8 upvotes
ikravchik
By ikravchik (Feb 12, 2012)

The real tragedy here are the comments...

13 upvotes
whtchocla7e
By whtchocla7e (Feb 12, 2012)

War, poverty, suffering, destruction.
The great themes in photography.
Tried and true.

I've seen these photos hundreds of times already.
The faces change, the message remains the same.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not hating.
Conditioned response.

0 upvotes
mike55
By mike55 (Feb 12, 2012)

That's photo of the year. Please I have seem that shot many times before from Viet Nam to orphanages or hospitals. Like everything else we are lowering the bar.

1 upvote
Burbclaver
By Burbclaver (Feb 12, 2012)

A picture is worth a thousand words. And opinions are still two a penny.

3 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (Feb 11, 2012)

Those are indeed some very powerful images with a large span of topics. However (with no disrespect to photographers) I do find some of those photographs to be a bit over-procesed what, to me, takes part of the "reality" away.

0 upvotes
on2art
By on2art (Feb 11, 2012)

speaking of two kinds of suffering
that of the injured and that of being far
too rarefied
to
remain
in any way comfortably accessible
to hearts
quite used to being in an atmosphere where one
can be fairly candid with
most anyone

0 upvotes
tornwald
By tornwald (Feb 11, 2012)

Like usual, boring and often simplistic and lazy photography.

2 upvotes
sanderdk
By sanderdk (Feb 11, 2012)

unbelievable that a symbol of oppresion of female rights and equality is choosen as WPP contest winner..

1 upvote
WhoDoWaz
By WhoDoWaz (Feb 11, 2012)

Really? And would you rather it wasn't portrayed at all, much less in the context of human suffering?

4 upvotes
Joti216
By Joti216 (Feb 13, 2012)

That's one of the elements that makes the photo eve more powerful.
You see how she is wearing gloves... one of the reasons for that is that women in that culture are not permitted to touch other men, not even for a handshake, and there she is, taking care of him.

0 upvotes
Dustinash
By Dustinash (Feb 11, 2012)

the biggest problem with this picture is poor lighting. The second is that although the subject tells a story, the background is bland. Its a decent photo not a great photo

1 upvote
unotisto
By unotisto (Feb 11, 2012)

You have got to be joking...
What should he have used? Strobes and a studio setup? Perfect lighting would ruin this photo!

8 upvotes
random78
By random78 (Feb 11, 2012)

It is not a posed studio shot. It is a real-life event so you don't control the lighting and background.

5 upvotes
jorg14
By jorg14 (Feb 12, 2012)

It isn't about technique but content.

1 upvote
EvokeEmotion
By EvokeEmotion (Feb 16, 2012)

Good photos evoke emotions. Great photos evoke strong emotions. You win if your photo speaks to the judges' hearts, not because your photo conforms to the rule of thirds perfectly.

0 upvotes
alventura15
By alventura15 (Feb 11, 2012)

like Madona and child...congratulation shaving an imag like this from a very conservative country is amazing.

1 upvote
CSM
By CSM (Feb 11, 2012)

http://www.samuelaranda.net/

Gracias por presentar la realidad que se vive en este nuestro mundo.

2 upvotes
mediokre
By mediokre (Feb 11, 2012)

As in the Abu Graib Christ-like photo, Western iconography self-perpetuating here. We see the world through it, and the world increasingly conforms to it.

1 upvote
Reg Natarajan
By Reg Natarajan (Feb 11, 2012)

I'm surprised we're not hearing from more gearheads worried about what lens he used and whether he shot using HDR. Whether you like the shot or not (and I do), I think everyone should take a second to realize that this photo would be no more powerful if you could see better what what was in the shadows, or if each hair on his head was individually discernible, or if the RAW image had more detail. Photography is only minimally about gear.

Brilliant photo, symbolic of a brilliant movement. May our brothers and sisters in Yemen soon be free.

11 upvotes
rusticus
By rusticus (Feb 11, 2012)

Egypt is free??? You believ?

3 upvotes
Pappy84
By Pappy84 (Feb 11, 2012)

Excellent point. Although I believe discussing gear can be entertaining, at the end of the day, the final image is what is important.

1 upvote
CFynn
By CFynn (Feb 12, 2012)

The photo was taken in a field hospital set up in an old mosque in Sanaa, Yemen not in Egypt. I understand the place was under fire when the photo was taken.

There was an interview with the photographer on the BBC World Service radio news today.

Lets not forget that Tim Hetherington, the 2007 winner of this prize, was killed in Libya last year.

1 upvote
Total comments: 173
12