Jury perspectives: Europe

Anastasia Taylor-Lind, Europe jury chair 

With the words ‘world,’ ‘press’ and ‘photo’ as our guiding principles, and with the unique perspective of each photographer at the forefront of our minds, the jury has curated a selection of five outstanding entries from this region. These entries center storytelling in intimacy and in urgency, marrying it with dedicated reporting and exceptional photographic craft.

From day one, our jury understood that the list of what would be missing from our final selection would always be longer than the list of what is presented here. These stories, unavoidably, represent only a part of the experiences we have had on the European continent over the last year, and some, but not all of the most pressing news. Many extraordinary stories about Russian aggression, the impending climate catastrophe, deadly refugee routes across Europe, and women’s and LGBTQI+ rights did not make this year’s final selection.

The photographic and journalistic quality of the submissions in the Europe category was extraordinary, making the competition extremely strong, and our work of selecting winners very difficult. The Singles winner is a photograph that speaks for itself without requiring further elaboration, painfully depicting one personal tragedy out of tens of thousands in the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. The Stories winner reports on the devastating impact of the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam on the city of Kherson, Ukraine. It is a story told using both gentleness and vivid news reporting, speaking not only of war but also the weaponization of the environment.

The Long-Term Projects winner looks intimately at a group of climate protesters over seven years in Rhineland, Germany, and their struggle to prevent the expansion of a coal mine. The Open Format winner presents us with a multidisciplinary war diary from the perspective of a Ukrainian photographer, who depicts the lives of her fellow citizens, layered with observations on the experience of war that make the personal universal. An Honorable Mention is awarded to a long-term project and personal narrative documenting a photographer’s journey beyond Azerbaijan and Armenia’s conflict in search of a rare butterfly named after her father.

Four of the five winning entries were made by local photographers, and three of the five were made by women, exceeding the organization’s minimum requirement regarding diversity. These facts evidence the possibility for real industry change, beyond the Europe category of this contest.

These five entries have overwhelmingly been photographed with tenderness, and with love. Each is journalistically informative, while the storyteller’s heart is ever-present in the images. The work of photographers is frequently difficult, at times very dangerous, and often creatively lonely, and it is an honor to present the winning works here in admiration of and in solidarity with the people who created them.

Anastasia Taylor-Lind
2024 World Press Photo Contest Europe jury chair

Watch the global jury present the Europe winning works

For more information about why each 2024 World Press Contest awarded work was selected by the independent jury, read the jury report