World Press Photo of the Year 2014 goes to Mads Nissen

The jury of the 58th annual World Press Photo Contest has selected an image by Danish photographer Mads Nissen as the World Press Photo of the Year 2014.

Updated 12/02/2015: RECTIFICATION – INCORRECT ATTRIBUTION OF JUDGE’S COMMENTARY IN PRESS RELEASE

Nissen is a staff photographer for the Danish daily newspaper Politiken and is represented by Scanpix and Panos Pictures. The picture shows Jon and Alex, a gay couple, during an intimate moment in St Petersburg, Russia. Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people is becoming increasingly difficult in Russia. Sexual minorities face legal and social discrimination, harassment, and even violent hate-crime attacks from conservative religious and nationalistic groups.

The photo also won first prize in the Contemporary Issues category. Discover all of the winners and the awarded photos in an image gallery along with exclusive jury interviews.

Comments on the winners by the jury

Jury chair Michele McNally, director of photography and assistant managing editor of The New York Times, said: “It is an historic time for the image… the winning image needs to be aesthetic, to have impact, and to have the potential to become iconic. This photo is aesthetically powerful, and it has humanity.”

Pamela Chen commented: “We were looking for an image that would matter tomorrow, not just today. The winning image demonstrates what a professional photographer can do in a daily life situation, setting a professional standard for story-telling in life. This is a contemporary issue, it is daily life, it is news, it has spot news resonance, it has general news resonance, but it also brings up the issue in a very deep and challenging way. It is quite universal.”

Alessia Glaviano said: “The photo has a message about love being an answer in the context of all that is going on in the world. It is about love as a global issue, in a way that transcends homosexuality. It sends out a strong message to the world, not just about homosexuality, but about equality, about gender, about being black or white, about all of the issues related to minorities.”

Donald Weber commented: “World Press Photo is more interesting than being just a competition. The winning image fosters debate not only within the photo community, about who we are and where we’re going and what we’re trying to say, but also in the larger community. The images are seen and discussed by tens of thousands of people.”

2015 Photo Contest in numbers

The 2015 Contest drew entries from around the world: 97,912 images were submitted by 5,692 press photographers, photojournalists, and documentary photographers from 131 countries. The jury gave prizes in 8 themed categories to 42 photographers of 17 nationalities from: Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, China, Denmark, Eritrea, France, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, UK and USA.

2015 Photo Contest jury and procedures

A group of 17 internationally recognized professionals in the fields of photojournalism and documentary photography, chaired this year by Michele McNally, director of photography and assistant managing editor of The New York Times, convened in the World Press Photo office in Amsterdam to judge all entries.

All entries were presented anonymously to the jury, who discussed their merits while operating independently of World Press Photo. A secretary without voting rights safeguards the fairness of the procedure. For the full list of jury members and secretaries, please see the 2015 Contest in context.

Integrity of the entries

In this year’s contest, all participants were required to provide files as recorded by the camera for all images proceeding to the final stages of the contest. World Press Photo Managing Director Lars Boering says of the findings:

“Our contest rules clearly state that the content of the image should not be altered. This year’s jury was very disappointed to discover how careless some photographers had been in post-processing their files for the contest. When this meant a material addition or subtraction in the content of the image, it lead to the images being rejected from the contest.

“We believe there were no attempts to deceive or to mislead, but our independent experts found anomalies in a large number of files and presented their findings to the jury. According to the contest rules, only retouching of files that conforms to currently accepted standards in the industry is allowed, and the jury is the ultimate arbiter of these standards.

“It seems some photographers can’t resist the temptation to aesthetically enhance their images during post-processing either by removing small details to ‘clean up’ an image, or sometimes by excessive toning that constitutes a material change to the image. Both types of retouching clearly compromise the integrity of the image. Consequently, the jury rejected 22 percent of those entries that had reached the penultimate round of the contest and were therefore not considered for prizes.

“Last year World Press Photo published a report on the consensus regarding current industry standards, as they are applied internationally. There is clearly an urgent need to take this matter further. Over the coming months, we will be engaging in further dialogue with the international photojournalistic community to explore what we can learn from all this, and how we can create a deeper understanding of issues involved in the application of post-processing standards in professional photojournalism. Together we should find common ground about these standards and find out how they are changing. We will take the lead on this as it is a great concern to World Press Photo. We want to keep the standards high.”

Prizes

The premier award, the World Press Photo of the Year, carries a cash prize of 10,000 euros. In addition, Canon will donate a professional DSLR camera and lens kit to the winning photographer of the World Press Photo of the Year 2014. The jury gives first, second and third prizes in all categories. First-prize winners in each category receive a cash prize of 1,500 euros. Winners of second and third prizes, and those receiving honorable mention, receive a Golden Eye Award and a diploma. The annual Awards Days, a two-day celebration of the prizewinners, takes place in Amsterdam on 24 and 25 April 2015.

Exhibition

The prize-winning pictures are presented in an exhibition visiting around 100 cities in about 45 countries. The first 2015 World Press Photo exhibition opens in Amsterdam in De Nieuwe Kerk on 18 April 2015.

This year's exhibition displays will be printed on Canon large format printers and Arizona flatbed printers by Océ, which is part of the Canon Group. Please see the Canon website for further information.

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

Posted February 12 2015

About World Press Photo

The World Press Photo Foundation is a major force in developing and promoting visual journalism. Through one of the most prestigious awards in photojournalism and multimedia storytelling, an exhibition seen by more than four million people worldwide each year, and extensive research and training programs, we strive to inspire, engage, educate, and support both visual journalists and their global audience with fresh insights and new perspectives.

Founded in 1955, the World Press Photo Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The foundation receives support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and is sponsored worldwide by Canon. There are also a range of collaborations with the World Press Photo Associates, the Friends of World Press Photo, and other partners.