View the entire collection of winning images from the 56th World Press Photo Contest. The winners were selected from over 100,000 images submitted to the contest.
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.
A man suspected of giving money to government informants is held at a school occupied by the dissident Free Syrian Army (FSA), in the northern city of Aleppo.
Palestinians drag the dead body of a suspected collaborator with Israel through the streets of Gaza City, on 20 November.
Israel launched a military offensive against targets in Hamas-ruled Gaza, on 14 November. Israeli authorities said that Operation Pillar of Defense was aimed at protecting citizens from the hundreds of missiles fired into Israel by militants in Gaza.
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.
In July, the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) entered Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and commercial capital. Rebel-held neighborhoods, initially in southwest Aleppo and later throughout the city, became battlefields, as government forces attempted to regain control.
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.
A wounded child awaits treatment in one of the few hospitals left standing in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, in October.
A Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) soldier lies dead in a pool of oil next to a leaking oil facility in the town of Heglig, after a clash with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).
Israeli border police officers use pepper spray as they detain a Palestinian protestor during clashes after Friday prayers on Land Day, outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Ongoing conflict in Syria between troops and militia loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, and dissidents of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other rebel groups, led to escalating fatalities and a massive exodus of refugees.
The group of deprived neighborhoods known as the ‘Crescent’, around the northern edge of downtown Rochester, New York State, USA, is renowned for its high crime and murder rates.
A year after the March 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated large areas of northeastern Japan, thousands of people remained without homes, and the Japanese government was still struggling to dispose of rubble and help rebuild livelihoods.
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.
Bodies lie on the floor of a pool hall, after an attack by unidentified masked assailants, in Choloma, on the outskirts of San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
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.
Natalia Gonzales, a 15-year-old crack user, lives in the Manguinhos slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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.
The people of Afghanistan have had to deal with conflict and military occupation for much of the past 50 years. Conflict and long-term instability in Afghanistan have led to personal trauma, and severe economic and infrastructural damage.
The Oglala Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota live near the site of the massacre of over 250 Lakota Sioux, at Wounded Knee Creek (1890). They recount a long history of violated treaties and broken promises on the part of successive US governments.
A free school in New Delhi was founded by Rajesh Kumar Sharma (40), who was unable to complete his own college education, because of financial difficulties. Every day he takes two hours out to teach children of local laborers, while his brother replaces him at his general store.
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.
Young gymnasts warm up at a juvenile sports school in Jiaxing, Zhejiang, China.
A member of the Australian synchronized swimming team competes at the Olympic Games in London, on 10 August.
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.
Years of training, thousands of battles, and hundreds of victories prepared fencing competitors for the opportunity to stand on the piste at the 2012 London Olympic Games to fight for gold.
A bird’s eye view of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
Young women risk their lives to play basketball in Somalia. Even though Somalia’s UN-backed government has regained control of Mogadishu, al-Qaeda-linked militants are still active in the city. Al-Shabaab and other radical Islamist groups consider women playing sport to be un-Islamic.
Sumo wrestling in Japan has a tradition that dates back centuries, yet the sport—which demands total dedication and extreme rigor—is attracting the lowest number of young recruits for more than half a century.
Let Wei is an unarmed Burmese martial art, similar to the forms of kickboxing popular in Thailand and Cambodia. National champion Lone Chaw (36) is a folk hero in Myanmar and in 2007 began teaching at the Thut Ti Gym to pass on his knowledge to a younger generation of fighters.
Youths play football on a field that was once part of a military barracks, in the village of Dulombi, Galomaro, Guinea-Bissau.
The photographer’s family, early one morning on summer holiday in northern Italy.
Every day, John McLean (65), visits the St Vincent de Paul Society Dining Hall, in Youngstown, Ohio.
Mirella was married to her husband Luigi for over 40 years. At the age of 65, Luigi began to show symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. For six years, Mirella cared for Luigi herself, at home in Rome.
For nearly twenty years, women from Benin City, in the state of Edo in Nigeria, have been going to Italy to earn money as sex workers, hoping to ensure a better future for their families.
Large-scale gang warfare has made El Salvador one of the most violent countries in the Americas. But on 9 March, leaders of the country’s two most powerful gangs agreed a truce, saying that the situation was getting out of hand, especially when it came to youth in their own communities.
With the football World Cup coming to Rio in 2014, and the Olympics in 2016, authorities have made a concerted effort to clean up the favelas (slum quarters) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Milan (4) leaves the hospital on 27 February, three months after surviving a family suicide attempt in which both his father and mother died.
Bonnie Cleo Andersen (38), mother of three, has been a sex-worker in Denmark since the age of 18.
Kayla stands with her American Girl doll, in front of a portrait of her ancestors at home in Boston.
Somayeh Mehri (29) and Rana Afghanipour (3) are a mother and daughter living in Bam, southern Iran. They were attacked with acid by Somayeh’s husband Amir.
Spanish bullfighter Juan José Padilla (38), known as the ‘Cyclone of Jerez’, lost the sight in one eye and has partial paralysis of the face, after being gored by a bull in October 2011. Five months later he made a comeback, in the southwestern town of Olivenza.
Martin (18) is the photographer’s half-brother. He returned to stay with their mother after living with his father for ten years. The photographer, who had had no contact with Martin over the previous decade, decided to use her camera to help get to know him again.
Daniel Kaluuya (23) is a British actor, comedian, and writer, best known for his role in the TV drama Skins, and as Special Agent Tucker in the 2011 Rowan Atkinson film Johnny English Reborn.
Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei is active across a number of media, including sculpture, installation, architecture, photography and film.
Zuzia is a girl with albinism, and attends a school for partially sighted children in Warsaw. She dreams of meeting someone like herself.
People receiving treatment on Africa Mercy, a hospital ship docked at Conakry, Guinea.
Women in the Iranian city of Khorramabad are dressed for the ceremony of Chehel Manbar. The commemoration of the battle of Karbala, when Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, was killed, is one of the most important ceremonies of the year for Shia Muslims.
The portrait series depicts children in the village of Zhangmu, Chongqing, in southwest China, both alone and with a much-loved teacher Fu Huaying.
A southern cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) feeds on the fruit of the blue quandong tree.
A long-tailed macaque, wearing patchwork clothing and a doll’s head, performs in Solo, Central Java.
A Caribbean trumpetfish (Aulostomus maculatus), off the coast of Bonaire, in the Lesser Antilles.
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.
Caged animals in Chinese zoos.
Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are slow-moving, filter-feeding sharks found in tropical and warm oceans, and are the largest non-mammalian vertebrates on the planet.
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