Anthony Suau (USA) wins premier award

World Press Photo of the Year 2008. © Anthony Suau, USA, for Time

The international jury of the 52nd annual World Press Photo Contest have selected a black-and-white image by American photographer Anthony Suau as World Press Photo of the Year 2008.

The picture shows an armed officer of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department moving through a home in Cleveland, Ohio, following eviction as a result of mortgage foreclosure. Officers have to ensure that the house is clear of weapons and that the residents have moved out. The winning photograph, taken in March 2008, is part of a story commissioned by Time magazine. The story as a whole won Second Prize in the Daily Life category of the contest.

Jury chair MaryAnne Golon said, "The strength of the picture is in its opposites. It's a double entendre. It looks like a classic conflict photograph, but it is simply the eviction of people from a house following foreclosure. Now war in its classic sense is coming into people's houses because they can't pay their mortgages.

Fellow juror Akinbode Akinbiyi commented, "It is a very ambiguous image. You have to go into it to find out what it is. Then all over the world people will be thinking ‘this is what is happening to all of us'."

Juror Ayperi Ecer said, "We have something here which visually is both clear and complex...It's not about issues - 2008 is the year of the end of a dominant economic system. We need a new language, to learn how to illustrate our lives."

The jury gave prizes in ten theme categories to 62 photographers of 27 nationalities from: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, El Salvador, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the USA.

A total of 96,268 photographs were submitted to be judged, representing an increase of 19.5% since last year. The number of participants was also a record, a total of 5,508 photographers sent in their work, which is a rise of 9.7% compared to 2008.

The participants represent 124 different nationalities. Entries by photographers from Asia increased by 14% from last year, photographers from China and India leading the numbers, with 490 (2008: 400) and 208 (2008: 165) participants respectively. European photographers are traditionally strongly represented in the contest. This year there were significant increases in the number of photographers from certain countries, such as Italy with 306 (251) and Poland with 104 (81).

The members of the 2009 jury were:

•  MaryAnne Golon, USA, consulting photography editor

•  Akinbode Akinbiyi, Nigeria, photographer, writer and curator
•  Patrick Baz, France/Lebanon, regional photo-manager, the Middle East, Agence France-Presse
•  Peter Bialobrzeski, Germany, photographer Laif
•  Olivier Culmann, France, photographer Tendance Floue
•  Erin Elder, Canada, digital media manager The Globe and Mail
•  Per Folkver, Denmark, photo editor in chief Politiken
•  David Friend, USA, editor of creative development Vanity Fair
•  Ayperi Karabuda Ecer, Sweden/Turkey, vice president pictures Reuters
•  Volker Lensch, Germany, head of photo department Stern
•  Ricardo Mazalan, Argentina, photographer The Associated Press
•  Arianna Rinaldo, Italy, photo editor D La Repubblica delle Donne and editor-in-chief OjodePez
•  Sujong Song, South Korea, freelance photo editor

•  Daphné Anglès, France/USA, European picture coordinator The New York Times
•  Stephen Mayes, UK, managing director VII Photo Agency

Anthony Suau, the author of the World Press Photo of the Year 2008, will receive his award during an awards ceremony in Amsterdam on Sunday 3 May 2009. The award also carries a cash prize of €10,000. In addition, Canon will donate Anthony Suau a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera.

The awards ceremony is preceded by a three-day program of lectures, discussions and screenings of photography. The exhibition of prizewinners will be shown at the Oude Kerk from 4 May to 28 June and will subsequently visit over 100 locations around the world. For a provisional exhibition schedule, click here.

World Press Photo receives support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and is sponsored worldwide by Canon and TNT.

About World Press Photo

World Press Photo organizes the leading international contest in visual journalism. The foundation is committed to supporting and advancing high standards in photojournalism and documentary storytelling worldwide. Its aim is to generate wide public interest in and appreciation for the work of photographers and other visual journalists, and for the free exchange of information. The activities include organizing annual photojournalism and multimedia contests and global exhibition tours. The Academy programs strive to stimulate high-quality visual journalism through educational programs, grants and by creating greater visibility through a variety of publications. World Press Photo is an independent, non-profit organization with its office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where it was founded in 1955.

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