The winning entries of the 59th annual World Press Photo Contest have just been announced. The 2016 Photo of the Year is a haunting nighttime image of refugees climbing through razor wire over the the Hungarian-Serbian border, taken by photographer Warren Richardson. This year, according to organizers, 82,951 photos were submitted for judging, made by 5,775 photographers from 128 different countries. Winners in eight categories were announced, including Contemporary Issues, Daily Life, General News, Long-Term Projects, Nature, People, Sports, and Spot News. World Press Photo has been kind enough to allow me to share some of this year’s winning photos here with you.
1.World Press Photo of the Year, and winner of first prize in the Spot News category, from photographer Warren Richardson. A man passes a baby through the fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border in Röszke, Hungary, on August 28, 2015. Many entries in this year’s World Press Photo competition covered the migrant crisis from multiple angles, and this haunting image stood out for the jury. Richardson: “I camped with the refugees for five days on the border. A group of about 200 people arrived, and they moved under the trees along the fence line. They sent women and children, then fathers and elderly men first. I must have been with this crew for about five hours and we played cat and mouse with the police the whole night. I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone.”
2.Nature, third prize winner, singles. Colima Volcano in Mexico shows a powerful night explosion with lightning and some incandescent rockfalls. Photo taken on December 13, 12.5 kilometers away from the crater near a lagoon named Carrizalillos on Comala Municipality. This particular bolt of lightning is more than 600 meters tall, lighting details of the south portion of volcano in this 8 second exposure.
Sergio Velasco Garcia
3.Chappaqua, New York. March 2013. From “A Life in Death,” Long-Term Projects, second prize winner, stories. Howie and Laurel Borowick embrace in the bedroom of their home. In their thirty-four year marriage, they never could have imagined being diagnosed with stage-4 cancer at the same time. In the project, a daughter photographs her own parents who were in parallel treatment for stage-four cancer, side by side. The photographs look at love, life, and living, in the face of death. It honors their memory by focusing on their strength and love, both individually and together, and shares the story of their final chapters, within a year of each other.
4.From “Tough Times for Orangutans,” Nature, first prize winner, stories. A Bornean orangutan climbs over 30 meters up a tree in the rain forest of Gunung Palung National Park, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, on August 12, 2015. The project covers the lives of wild orangutans, as threats from fires, the illegal animal trade and loss of habitat due to deforestation have resulted in many orphan orangutans ending up at rehabilitation centers.
5.Spot News, second prize winner, stories. A wall of rock, snow, and debris roars toward Everest Base Camp in Nepal before slamming into to the southern part of the camp at midday on April 25, 2015, killing at least 22 people. The avalanche was triggered by a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 8,000 people in the country. Rescue helicopters managed to reach the site about 18 hours after the avalanche as bad weather, aftershocks and fears of further avalanches rattled survivors. At the time of the disaster, the 5,364-meter-high Base Camp was teeming with hundreds of climbers and supporting teams who use the base to prepare their ascent to the peak of Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth.
Roberto Schmidt / AFP
6.Daily Life, third prize winner, singles. “Into the Light.” Raheleh, who was born blind, stands behind a window in the morning. She likes the warmness of the sunlight on her face. Photographed north of Tehran, Iran, on November 12, 2015.
Zohreh Saberi / Mehrnews Agency
7.Contemporary Issues, first prize winner, singles. “Haze in China.” a city in northern China shrouded in haze on December 10, 2015, in Tianjin, China.
Zhang Lei / Tianjin Daily
8.Contemporary Issues, third prize winner, singles. Lamon Reccord stares down a police sergeant during a protest following the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by police in Chicago, Illinois, on November 25, 2015.
John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune
9.Sports, first prize winner, singles. Czech Republic's Ondrej Bank crashes during the downhill race of the Alpine Combined at the FIS World Championships in Beaver Creek, Colorado, on February 8, 2015.
GEPA pictures / Christian Walgram
10.Long-Term Projects, first prize winner, stories. From “Sexual Assault in America's Military,” Debra Filter joined the US Army in 1978 and went through boot camp at Fort Ord, Georgia. In those days, the women trained just like the men did. Her drill sergeants were Vietnam vets and "wanted to make sure all the recruits felt a piece of Vietnam. A lot of it was a "Full Metal Jacket" experience," she says. Debra and several other women recruits were raped at the party they were forced to attend upon graduation. "We didn't realize it was for women and that a great many of us were going to be raped." "I wanted to make the military my career. Rape stopped my career, stopped any dreams I ever had." Her PTSD festered and Debra eventually left the military with an honorable discharge. Though educated with a Masters Degree, she has been homeless for 10 years and has battled the VA for benefits for 30 years. She left Las Vegas when the VA pulled her benefits. Debra thinks it was in retaliation for her homeless activism. She says the teardrop tattoo under her eye is a symbol of how the VA tried to kill her. She has been in and out of shelters in LA and now has a housing voucher for a studio apartment in Korea-town in Los Angeles, CA.
Mary F. Calvert
11.Long-Term Projects, first prize winner, stories. From “Sexual Assault in America's Military,” U.S. Army Specialist Natasha Schuette, 21, was pressured not to report being assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Though she was hazed by her assailant’s fellow drill instructors, she refused to back down and Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is now serving four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees. The U.S. Army rewarded Natasha for her courage to report her assault and the Sexual Harassment/ Assault Response & Prevention office distributed a training video featuring her story. She is now stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Mary F. Calvert / Zuma Press
12.Daily Life, second prize winner, stories. From “Bliss Dharma Assembly,” Tibetan prayer flags, known as Lung-ta, on a hillside in the Larung Valley of Sertar County, Sichuan Province, China, on October 30, 2015. Tibetan Buddhists take part in the annual Bliss Dharma Assembly. The last of four annual assemblies, the week-long annual gathering takes place in the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar and marks Buddha's descent from the heavens.
Kevin Frayer / Getty
13.Daily Life, second prize winner, stories. From “Bliss Dharma Assembly,” Tibetan Buddhist nomads listen during the annual Bliss Dharma Assembly in Sertar county on October 31, 2015.
Kevin Frayer / Getty
14.Daily Life, third prize winner, stories. From “Citizen Journalism in Brazil’s Favelas,” the leader of the Papo Reto collective receives an image of a 22-year-old taxi driver who was shot dead by a police officer on February 8, 2015. A group of friends from Alemão, a slum in Rio de Janeiro, formed a media collective called Papo Reto, or "straight talk". Social media allow them to report stories from their community otherwise ignored by traditional media.
Sebastian Liste / NOOR
15.Nature, third prize winner, stories. From “Chameleon Under Pressure,” a juvenile Furcifer balteatus in a recently burned landscape in Madagascar on November 16, 2014. Fires are often deadly for chameleons, because they can't move fast enough to escape them. The common practice of burning the landscape at the end of every dry season has affected many species of chameleons, both directly via fatalities due to burning and indirectly due to habitat loss. Madagascar holds more than half of the world's chameleon species; however, as a result of deforestation causing habitat loss, 50 percent of the chameleon species is endangered.
Christian Ziegler / National Geographic Magazine
16.Contemporary Issues, second prize winner, singles. “The Forgotten Mountains of Sudan.” Adam Abdel, 7, was severely burned after a bomb was dropped by a Sudanese government Antonov plane next to his family home in Burgu, Central Darfur, Sudan, on February 27, 2015.
17.People, second prize winner, stories. From “La Maya Tradition,” a ‘Maya’ girl sits in an altar during the traditional celebration of ‘Las Mayas’ on the streets of the small village of Colmenar Viejo, near Madrid, Spain, on May 2, 2015. Young girls between the age of 7 and 11 are chosen every year as ‘Maya’ for the ‘Las Mayas,’ a festival derived from pagan rites celebrating the arrival of spring, in the town of Colmenar Viejo, Spain. The girls are required to sit still for a couple of hours in a decorated altar.
Daniel Ochoa de Olza / AP
18.Sports, first prize winner, stories. From “Vetluga's Hockey,” A player from the junior team from the village Sharanga is expected to yield to the ice on February 19, 2015. Players of an amateur hockey team in provincial Russia before, during and after a game in the regional championship in Vetluga, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia.
Vladimir Pesnya / Sputnik
19.General News, first prize winner, singles. “IS Fighter Treated at Kurdish Hospital.” A doctor rubs ointment on the burns of Jacob, a 16-year-old Islamic State fighter, in front of a poster of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, at a Y.P.G. hospital compound on the outskirts of Hasaka, Syria, on August 1, 2015.
Mauricio Lima / New York Times
20.Nature, first prize winner, singles. From “Storm Front on Bondi Beach,” A massive ‘cloud tsunami’ looms over Sydney as a sunbather reads, oblivious to the approaching cloud on Bondi Beach, on November 6, 2015.
Rohan Kelly / Daily Telegraph
21.People, third prize winner, singles. From “Lost Family Portraits,” a portrait of a Syrian refugee family in a camp in Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, on December 15, 2015. The empty chair in the photograph represents a family member who has either died in the war or whose whereabouts are unknown.
22.Nature, second prize winner, singles. “Whale Whisperers.” divers observe and surround a humpback whale and her newborn calf while they swim around Roca Partida in the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico, on January 28, 2015.
Anuar Patjane Floriuk
23.People, first prize winner, singles. “Waiting to Register.” A child is covered with a raincoat while she waits in line to register at a refugee camp in Preševo, Serbia, on October 7, 2015.
24.Sports, second prize winner, stories. From “The Gris-gris Wrestlers of Senegal,” BB Bisma Ndoye defeats the wrestler Maraka Dji in the Demba Diop stadium in Dakar, Senegal, on April 5, 2015. These tournaments resemble a festival including dance performances, music, and wrestling shows.
25.People, first prize winner, stories. “Exposure.” The world’s worst nuclear accident happened on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Just 5 months after the disaster, a girl was born in Kiev just 100 km south from Chernobyl. The wind included a great amount of radioactive elements, and the girl became one of the victims of the tragedy. This series of pictures represent the last 30 years of the life of that invisible girl. All pictures taken on old Ukrainian color negative films, which were found in the city of Pripyat, located 5 km from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. “Recently, I just realized that I was not guilty. This is nobody's fault. I'm working on it, and everything is much better. I understand that all the worst is over, and now I'm trying to reestablish contact with my parents. They thought that I grew up very strong and independent. But it is not so. Now it’s like I just came back to life and I'm a child again. It’s interesting for me to touch, feel, play, go on a picnic. I just learned how to ride a bike this year."
26.General News, third prize winner, singles. “Tianjin Explosion.” Aerial view of the destruction after the explosion in Tianjin, China, on August 15, 2015.
27.General News, second prize winner, stories. From “Douma’s Children,” a wounded Syrian girl at a makeshift hospital on August 22, 2015. The project covers the many child victims of air raids by Syrian government forces in the rebel-held city of Douma, Syria.
Abd Doumany / AFP
28.Daily Life, first prize winner, singles. “China's Coal Addiction.” Chinese men pull a tricycle in a neighborhood next to a coal-fired power plant in Shanxi, China, on November 26, 2015. A history of heavy dependence on burning coal for energy has made China the source of nearly a third of the world's total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, widely cited by scientists and environmentalists as the primary cause of global warming.
Kevin Frayer / Getty
29.Contemporary Issues, first prize winner, stories. “Talibes, Modern-day Slaves.” Abdoulaye, 15, is a talibe imprisoned in a room with security bars to keep him from running away, on May 18, 2015. The series portrays the plight of Talibes, boys who live at Islamic schools known as Daaras in Senegal. Under the pretext of receiving a Quranic education, they are forced to beg in the streets while their religious guardians, or Marabout, collect their daily earnings. They often live in squalor and are abused and beaten.
30.Contemporary Issues, first prize winner, stories. “Talibes, Modern-day Slaves.” Talibes sleep together inside a daara in Saint Louis, north of Senegal, May 21, 2015. The daara with over 30 children has no clean water and barely any electricity. Children sleep on the concrete floor without any protection. The series portrays the plight of Talibes, boys who live at Islamic schools known as Daaras in Senegal. Under the pretext of receiving a Quranic education, they are forced to beg in the streets while their religious guardians, or Marabout, collect their daily earnings. They often live in squalor and are abused and beaten.
31.Long-Term Projects, third prize winner, stories. From “North Korea: Life in the Cult of Kim.” At dusk, the skyline of central Pyongyang, North Korea, on April 12, 2011. North Korea has been one of the most isolated and least understood countries. Few outsiders have ever had a glimpse of the country and there have been very few independent photographs ever made there. This series documents urban and rural North Korea, capturing the daily life of its citizens, military events and ceremonies.
David Guttenfelder / AP
32.Long-Term Projects, third prize winner, stories. From “North Korea: Life in the Cult of Kim.” North Korean children perform at the Pyongyang Kyongsang Kindergarten. North Korea has been one of the most isolated and least understood countries. Few outsiders have ever had a glimpse of the country and there have been very few independent photographs ever made there. This series documents urban and rural North Korea, capturing the daily life of its citizens, military events and ceremonies.
David Guttenfelder / AP
33.Spot News, second prize winner, singles. “March Against Terrorism in Paris.” Demonstration against terrorism in Paris, after a series of five attacks occurred across the Île-de-France region, beginning at the headquarters for satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, on January 11, 2015.
Corentin Fohlen / Divergence
34.“Tough Times for Orangutans.” Nature, first prize winner, stories. A Sumatran orangutan threatens another nearby male in the Batang Toru Forest, North Sumatra Province, Indonesia, on March 17, 2014. The project covers the lives of wild orangutans, as threats from fires, the illegal animal trade and loss of habitat due to deforestation have resulted in many orphan orangutans ending up at rehabilitation centers.
35.Contemporary Issues, second prize winner, stories. From “In the Same Boat,” migrants climb on board of a rescue ship by Doctors without Borders to escape their sinking rubber dinghy on August 21, 2015. The series covers Libyan migrants being rescued by the international medical relief organization Doctors Without Borders in the Mediterranean Sea.
Francesco Zizola / NOOR
36.General News, second prize winner, stories. From “Douma’s Children,” a Syrian man carries the body of a child, killed in an air strike by government forces in Douma, Syria, on November 7, 2015. The project covers the many child victims of air raids by Syrian government forces in the rebel-held city of Douma, Syria.
Abd Doumany / AFP
37.Nature, second prize winner, stories. From “Ivory Wars,” a Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighter holds two ivory tusks on November 17, 2014. Ivory is a means of financing the LRA and is used for both food and weapon supplies. Series portraying the armed groups that profit most from the illegal ivory trade and the people at the frontline of the war against them, as well as others affected. In the case of the specific armed groups, the sale of ivory benefits the Lord’s Resistance Army, The Seleka Rebels of Central African Republic, the Janjaweed of Sudan and the F.D.L.R rebels who base themselves inside Virunga National Park in the DRC.
Brent Stirton / Getty Images for National Geographic
38.General News, first prize winner, stories. From “Reporting Europe's Refugee Crisis,” refugees arrive by boat near the village of Skala on Lesbos, Greece, on November 16, 2015.
Sergey Ponomarev / New York Times
39.Contemporary Issues, third prize winner, stories. From “Emily and Kate and Eddie and Reid,” Emily and Kate brush their teeth together before going to bed, on December 6, 2015. Although they hadn't planned it, Emily and Kate got pregnant within weeks of each other through artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, respectively. Their sons were born within four days of each other, and the couple embraced the challenge of raising the two babies at once.
Sara Naomi Lewkowicz
40.Spot News, third prize winner, stories. From “Broken Border,” a refugee man holds a crying girl as others rush through broken down border fences to enter Turkish territory on June 14, 2015. The series covers Syrians fleeing the war as they rush through broken down border fences to enter Turkish territory illegally, near the Turkish border crossing at Akcakale in Sanliurfa province.
Bulent Kilic / AFP
About the Author
Alan Taylor is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Photo section.