2017 Photo Contest in context

What does a photo tell us about an event? What is its emotional force? How does it compare to others, in both this and previous contests? The jury had to balance an event or issue that was significant in 2016, then a photo to best represent that event or issue.

As with every World Press Photo contest, the discussion involves the aesthetic and the technical as well as the journalistic aspects of the images.

Jury member Tanya Habjouqa said about this year’s winners:

“It was a very intense, sometimes brutal, discussion—sometimes even emotional—but I feel proud. I think we were brave in our decision. We were bold. I think the selection is definitely going to push forward a debate and I think it is a debate that is essential to have.”

The World Press Photo of the Year honors the photographer whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captured or represented an event or issue of great journalistic importance in the last year. This year it was awarded to Burhan Ozbilici.

Ozbilici’s picture–which also won first prize in the Spot News Stories category–shows how Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, a 22-year-old off-duty police officer, assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, at an art exhibition in Ankara, Turkey, on 19 December 2016. Altıntaş wounded three other people before being killed by officers in a shootout. Ozbilici is a staff photographer for The Associated Press, based in Istanbul.

Mary F. Calvin, member of the jury, spoke about the winning photograph:

“It was a very very difficult decision, but in the end we felt that the picture of the year was an explosive image that really spoke to the hatred of our times. Every time it came on the screen you almost had to move back because it such an explosive image and we really felt that it epitomizes the definition of what the World Press Photo of the Year is and means.”

Jury member João Silva added:

"Right now I see the world marching towards the edge of an abyss. This is a man who has clearly reached a breaking point and his statement is to assassinate someone who he really blames, a country that he blames, for what is going on elsewhere in the region. I feel that what is happening in Europe, what is happening in America, what is happening in the Far East, Middle East, Syria, and this image to me talks of it. It is the face of hatred."

Click here to watch video interviews with jury members.

The jury gave prizes in eight categories to 45 photographers from 25 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Syria, New Zealand, Turkey, UK, and USA.

Entry statistics
  • 5034 photographers
  • 126 countries
  • 80408 pictures
2017 Photo Contest jury
  • Mary F. Calvert, USA, independent photojournalist
  • Luciano Candisani, Brazil, nature photojournalist
  • Claudi Carreras Guillén, Spain, independent curator, editor and photography researcher
  • Helen Gilks, UK, managing director Nature Picture Library
  • Yumi Goto, Japan, independent photography curator
  • Kelli Reed Grant, USA, photography director Yahoo News
  • Marco Grob, Switzerland, photographer
  • Tanya Habjouqa, Jordan, photographer NOOR and founding member Rawiya
  • Aïda Muluneh, Canada/Ethiopia, founder and director Addis Foto Fest
  • Andrei Polikanov, Russia, visual director Takie Dela online media
  • Kira Pollack, USA, director of photography and visual enterprise Time
  • Adam Pretty, Australia, photographer Getty Images
  • Pim Ras, the Netherlands, photographer AD Sportwereld
  • João Silva, Portugal/South Africa, staff photographer The New York Times
  • Wim van Sinderen, the Netherlands, senior curator The Hague Museum of Photography
  • Goran Tomasevic, Serbia, chief photographer East Africa Reuters
  • Susan White, USA, photography director Vanity Fair
  • Christian Ziegler, Germany, photographer
Chair of the jury
  • Stuart Franklin, UK, photographer Magnum Photos
Secretary of the jury
  • David Griffin, USA, owner DGriffinStudio
  • Maria Mann, USA, consultant international relations EPA

The General Jury of the 2017 Photo Contest. © Werry Crone / Hollandse Hoogte

The General jury in the last round of judging the 2017 Photo Contest. © Werry Crone / Hollandse Hoogte

The News and Documentary jury of the 2017 Photo Contest. © Werry Crone / Hollandse Hoogte

Members of the News and Documentary jury eat lunch during a break. © Werry Crone / Hollandse Hoogte

The Nature jury of the 2017 Photo Contest. © Werry Crone / Hollandse Hoogte

Members of the Nature jury receive instructions from secretary David Griffin. © Werry Crone / Hollandse Hoogte

The People jury of the 2017 Photo Contest. © Werry Crone / Hollandse Hoogte

Members of the People jury deliberate during the 2017 Photo Contest. © Werry Crone / Hollandse Hoogte

The Sports jury of the 2017 Photo Contest. © Werry Crone / Hollandse Hoogte

Members of the Sports jury view the entries during the 2017 Photo Contest. © Werry Crone / Hollandse Hoogte