2020 World Press Photo Contests Winners Announced

‘Straight Voice’ by Yasuyoshi Chiba wins World Press Photo of the Year

The World Press Photo Foundation announced the results of the 63rd annual World Press Photo Contest and the 10th annual World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest on its online channels on 16 April 2020.

The announcement included the winners of the World Press Photo of the Year, World Press Photo Story of the Year, World Press Photo Interactive of the Year, and World Press Photo Online Video of the Year. The winning images and productions were selected by an independent jury of visual journalism and digital storytelling professionals. 

Download 2020 Contests media kit 
to learn more about the winners and download high-resolution images.

World Press Photo of the Year

The jury of the 2020 Photo Contest selected Yasuyoshi Chiba’s photograph Straight Voice as the World Press Photo of the Year. The winning image shows a young man, illuminated by mobile phones, reciting protest poetry while demonstrators chant slogans calling for civilian rule, during a blackout in Khartoum, Sudan, on 19 June 2019.

Yasuyoshi Chiba, World Press Photo of the Year winner, said: “This moment was the only peaceful group protest I encountered during my stay. I felt their undefeated solidarity like burning embers that remain to flare up again.”

Yasuyoshi Chiba, Japan, is Agence France-Presse (AFP)’s Chief Photographer for East Africa and Indian Ocean and is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. After studying photography at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, he started working as a staff photographer for Asahi Shimbun. He became a freelance photographer and moved to Kenya in 2007, and then joined AFP in Brazil in 2011.

Lekgetho Makola, head of Market Photo Workshop and 2020 Photo Contest jury chair, said: “Especially in the time that we’re living in when there’s a lot of violence and a lot of conflicts, it’s important that we have an image that inspires people.”

He described the winning photograph: “We see this young person, who is not shooting, who is not throwing a stone, but reciting a poem. It’s acknowledging, but also voicing a sense of hope.”

Chris McGrath, photographer for Getty Images and 2020 jury member, added: “It was just a really beautiful, quiet photograph that summed up all the unrest across the globe of people wanting change.”

World Press Photo Story of the Year

The jury chose Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt by Romain Laurendeau as the World Press Photo Story of the Year. The winning series tells the story of the deep unease of Algerian youth, who, by daring to challenge authority, inspired the rest of the population to join their action, giving birth to the largest protest movement in Algeria in decades.

Romain Laurendeau, World Press Photo Story of the Year winner, said: “It was impossible for a part of me not to recognize myself in these young people. They are young but they are tired of this situation and they just want to live like everyone else.”

Romain Laurendeau, France, has worked on long term projects as a professional photographer in France, Senegal, Algeria, Palestinian territories and Israel. Laurendeau was diagnosed with Keratoconus, a progressive eye disease that distorts the cornea. After a corneal transplant in 2009, he decided to travel extensively to document the human condition in all of its social, economic and political aspects.

As a judge, I was looking for visual storytelling. Your decisions are done around how intimate and close you become, but also how far you step back to allow the viewers to make their own decisions,” said Makola about judging the World Press Photo Story of the Year.

Sabine Meyer, director of Photography for the National Audubon Society and 2020 jury member, said about the story: “We felt that the quality of the work itself, photographically, was quite flawless.”

Lucy Conticello, director of Photography of M magazine, Le Monde and jury member, adds: “I think the level of commitment that the photographer showed, and the connection and intimacy with the people, just came through.”

2020 Photo Contest category winners

The prizes for the eight categories of the 2020 Photo Contest were also announced online on 16 April 2020. 
Download 2020 Contests media kit to learn more about the winners and download high-resolution images

World Press Photo Interactive of the Year

The independent jury of the 2020 Digital Storytelling Contest selected Battleground PolyU, by DJ Clark/China Daily, as the World Press Photo Interactive of the Year.

Battleground PolyU is a 360 degree experience that immerses the viewer in a defining moment in the history of democracy in Hong Kong. Tensions during the Hong Kong protests reached a peak in November 2019 after a protester was shot by a traffic policeman. Students occupied university campuses across the city and blocked key highways. After a fierce battle at the Chinese University, attention turned to the blockade at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) where students had closed off the Cross-Harbour Tunnel leading to it.

In Battleground PolyU, the viewer becomes part of the demonstrations, running along with the protesters and the journalists covering the protests. DJ Clark, producer and editor of the awarded production, said: “I had been capturing the protests for about six months up until the point the PolyU demonstrations happened. During that process, I had been playing around with equipment and trying to get something that worked. 360 cameras are very light-weight cameras and I could capture the action when I was in the midst of it. The biggest thing about this movie for me is the opportunity for future audiences to immerse themselves in the experience and understand what it was like to be there.”

DJ Clark is multimedia director at China Daily Asia Pacific, host and producer of the show Drone & Phone, and course leader for the University of Bolton MA in Visual Journalism. He has over 30 years of experience working with media organizations across the world as a video producer, photojournalist, presenter, writer, trainer and multimedia consultant.

Zoeann Murphy, visual journalist on staff at The Washington Post, and chair of the 2020 Digital Storytelling Contest jury said about the awarded production: “For this story when I put the headset on and was suddenly in the protest in Hong Kong with the reporter, my mind was just blown.

Adnaan Wasey, executive producer of Launchpad at WGBH and 2020 Digital Storytelling jury member, added: “This was an example of perfect use of a 360 video.”

The World Press Photo Interactive of the Year award was introduced in 2019 to celebrate the production that creates engaging interactive storytelling through skilful editing and design and effective synergy of form and content.

World Press Photo Online Video of the Year

The jury chose Scenes From a Dry City, by Francois Verster/ Simon Wood/Field of Vision, as the World Press Photo Online Video of the Year.

Scenes from a Dry City exposes the exacerbation of social inequality due to water shortage in Cape Town, South Africa. The city has been experiencing a severe water crisis since early 2017 when the municipal government began pleading with its 4.5 million residents to conserve water.

The production reflects on the impact of the global climate crisis in both the landscape and society. Poetic drone images are mixed with the perspectives of car washers, demonstrators against water privatization, and golfers playing on green courses.

Francois Vernster, co-director, producer, cinematographer and writer, said: “Simon and I were both astounded when we read about the prospect of day zero, the day when the taps will be turned off, arriving. I think the first time it was mentioned was the year we made the film. The predictions were that the day will be by March already.” (...) “We thought this would be a good opportunity to give insight into Cape Town’s inequality.

Simon Wood, co-director, producer, cinematographer and writer, added: “We wanted to create something futuristic, something that would allow us to peek into the future and imagine a world without water.

Francois Verster is a South African documentary filmmaker following creative and observational approaches to social issues. Simon Wood is a filmmaker based in Cape Town, South Africa.

About the winning production, Adnaan Wasey explained: “We get a view of how climate change is actually impacting one community in a very different way than how it might be affecting your community.

Zoeann Murphy added: “The breathtaking camerawork and smart editing left a lasting impression on members of the jury.”

2020 Digital Storytelling Contest category winners

The prizes for the ‘Interactive, ‘Long’ and ‘Short’ categories were also announced. 
Download 2020 Contests media kit to learn more about the winners and download high-resolution images.

Online announcement

The winners were publicly announced across World Press Photo's online and social channels on Thursday 16 April 2020. Please link to www.worldpressphoto.org, tag @worldpressphoto and use the #WPPh2020 hashtag.

Exhibition 2020

The prize-winning photographs are assembled into a year-long worldwide exhibition, which premieres every year at De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Due to safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, the opening at De Nieuwe Kerk and other locations have been postponed. New dates will be announced soon. Check the calendar for updates.

Yearbook 2020

The winning photos are also published in an annual yearbook, which is available in six languages. This year, the yearbook has been redesigned and will be published by Lannoo Publishers. Learn more.

Supporting visual journalism during the COVID-19 crisis

The global situation surrounding the COVID-19 virus has also affected the World Press Photo Foundation. Our annual Awards Show and Festival have been cancelled. The World Press Photo House and PhotoQ Bookshop in Amsterdam have closed their doors temporarily. Some locations of our World Press Photo Exhibition 2020 worldwide tour have been postponed. And our staff are working from home because social distancing is necessary.

The visual journalism community is dealing with a lot of uncertainty. We’ve gathered guidance, resources, funding and grants to help visual journalists covering the COVID-19 crisis, here.