Meet the 2019 World Press Photo Contests Nominees

Discover the stories that matter, chosen by an independent jury of photography and digital storytelling professionals

Winners announced 11 April

2019 Photo Contest

Since 1955 the World Press Photo Contest has recognized professional photographers for the best pictures contributing to the past year of visual journalism.

For the 62nd edition of the contest, an independent jury covering a wide range of photography backgrounds–from six global regions, with an equal number of men and women–selected the 2019 World Press Photo Contest nominees, and the stories that matter. These stories reach about more than 4 million people each year and tour worldwide on an exhibition that visits around 100 locations, starting in Amsterdam from 14 April 2019.

For the 62nd edition of the Photo Contest, the World Press Photo Foundation introduced a major new award: the World Press Photo Story of the Year. On a par with the World Press Photo of the Year, this new award honors the photographer whose visual creativity and skills produced a story with excellent editing and sequencing that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance in 2018.

World Press Photo Story of the Year Nominees

“The [World Press Photo] Story of the Year allowed us to have more nuanced photography that had more breathing room and space to be a little bit more thoughtful and careful in the way we tell stories,” says Paul Moakley, deputy director of Photography and Visual Enterprise at Time Magazine, United States and 2019 Photo Contest jury member.

“It had to hold together visually, it had to be very cohesive, the editing of the story itself had to be quite strong, and the storytelling had to be there, there had to be different elements of the scenario,” adds Whitney Johnson, vice president, Visuals and Immersive Experiences, at National Geographic, and 2019 Photo Contest jury chair.

The jury selected three nominees for the World Press Photo Story of the Year:

The Lake Chad Crisis

Marco Gualazzini, Italy, Contrasto

Neil Aldridge, conservation photographer, and 2019 Photo Contest jury member: “This story for us was just a really fresh take...It is a very complex issue to portray and I think the photographer did it beautifully, with real photographic and storytelling craft.”

Nana Kofi Acquah, photographer at Getty Images and 2019 Photo Contest jury member: “It mixes all the forms and creatively draws our attention to the tragedy that is going on in Chad.”

The Migrant Caravan
Pieter Ten Hoopen, Netherlands/Sweden, Agence Vu/Civilian Act

Alice Martins, photojournalist and 2019 Photo Contest jury member: “This story is a great example of how a story can be told in perhaps not the usual way. Not only because it’s aesthetically different but also because you really have a sense that the photographer took the time to capture moments that are often overlooked.”

Yumi Goto, independent photography curator and 2019 Photo Contest jury member: “There is such a high sense of dignity. It really tells me about hope, what hope really means.”

Yemen Crisis
Lorenzo Tugnoli, Italy, Contrasto, for The Washington Post

Maye-E Wong, photojournalist and editor: “It paints a very clear picture of the human cost of war.”

Alice Martins: “The children are a central part of the story because they are the worst affected in the war in Yemen. I really feel like this photographer showed empathy for the children that he was photographing in these very vulnerable situations”

World Press Photo of the Year Nominees

The World Press Photo of the Year honors the photographer whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance in that year.

“Ideally a [World Press Photo] picture of the year would be surprising, unique, relevant, memorable,” says Johnson. “It should be able to tell the story in one image, but at the same time be intriguing and make you pause and look at it again,” adds Martins.

The jury selected six nominees for the World Press Photo of the Year:

Victims of an Alleged Gas Attack Receive Treatment in Eastern Ghouta
Mohammed Badra, Syria, European Pressphoto Agency

Alice Martins: “In a moment like this people don’t really understand what just happened. And I really feel like the photograph shows that.”

Paul Moakley: “The subject is confronting you and breaking the wall, and you are forced to confront the situation in a very direct way.”

Maye-E Wong: “There is a lot of empathy through the photographer’s eyes. Which was translated out to us as a viewer.” 

Almajiri Boy
Marco Gualazzini, Italy, Contrasto

Nana Kofi Acquah: “There is a huge refugee crisis and this photographer takes us to the roots.”

Whitney Johnson: “It really speaks to the intersection of environmental issues and conflict driving migration.”

Neil Aldridge: “It’s a quiet image that makes you think.”

Being Pregnant After FARC Child-Bearing Ban
Catalina Martin-Chico, France/Spain, Panos

Yumi Goto: “This is a very new story from Colombia.”

Alice Martins: “This picture shows a former militia member who is now pregnant. Female Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) members were not allowed to have children, many of them were forced to have abortions.”

Whitney Johnson: “It’s just so straight forward. Here’s this woman and she’s proud.”

The Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi

Chris McGrath, Australia, Getty Images

Nana Kofi Acquah: “It’s a very dangerous time. We have seen some of the most powerful people in the world denigrate and totally disregard the disappearance of journalists.”

Alice Martins: “This picture captures the story in one shot.”

Neil Aldridge: “Your eye is drawn into the center of the picture”

Crying Girl on the Border
John Moore, United States, Getty Images

Paul Moakley: “It immediately tells you so much about the story. And at the same time, it really makes you feel so connected to it.”

Whitney Johnson: “The details in the picture are interesting. From the gloves that the border patrol officer is wearing to the fact that the shoelaces have been removed.”

Alice Martins: “This picture shows a different kind of violence that is psychological.”

Akashinga - the Brave Ones
Brent Stirton, South Africa, Getty Images

Maye-E Wong: “It shows women in their strength, out there making a difference.”

Neil Aldridge: “You have this figure who is standing up to protect our natural environment.”

Nana Kofi Acquah: “She represents a strong, African woman who is taking the bad people on to save her world.”

Jury perspectives

Watch the 2019 Photo Contest general jury discussing their choice of the six nominees for World Press Photo of the Year and three nominees for World Press Photo Story of the Year:

Category nominees

The jury also nominated three single images and three stories in each of the eight categories of the 2019 Photo Contest: Contemporary Issues, General News, Environment, Nature, Long-Term Projects, Portraits, Spot News, and Sports. Whitney C. Johnson shared the ones that stayed with her in an interview for our online magazine Witness.

See the 2019 World Press Photo Contest nominees gallery.

2019 Digital Storytelling Contest

The World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest rewards the best forms of visual journalism enabled by digital technologies.

Zahra Rasool, head of the immersive media studio Contrast VR at Al Jazeera, and this year’s chair of the 2019 Digital Storytelling Contest jury:

“It is important to have this contest because today we consume information and news through social media and online platforms and so we want to stimulate that stories are made for these channels and in new, innovative ways. We chose productions those that will have an impact, that create more awareness of and draw attention to the politics of our times.”

For the 9th edition of this contest the World Press Photo Foundation introduced two headline awards: World Press Photo Interactive of the Year and World Press Photo Online Video of the Year

World Press Photo Interactive of the Year Nominees

The World Press Photo Interactive of the Year award celebrates the production that creates engaging interactive storytelling through skillful editing and design and effective synergy of form and content. “We are really looking for a piece that is talking about a very pressing issue,” says Zoeann Murphy, video journalist, and 2019 Digital Storytelling Contest jury member.

“We’re looking for productions that not only try using different technologies but also try them purposefully,” adds Muyi Xiao, visual editor ChinaFile and 2019 Digital Storytelling Contest jury member.

The independent jury awarded three interactive productions, which become the nominees for World Press Photo Interactive of the Year:

Flint is a place

Zackary Canepari

Muyi Xiao: “What moves me the most about this project is the production team’s commitment to the topic as well as their creativity in storytelling. They spent years covering many different aspects of the town so that the public can have a full and nuanced understanding of the place.”

Sara Kolster, interactive director and designer and 2019 Digital Storytelling Contest jury member: “Each of the stories that are told in these episodes is cleverly focused on a small aspect of daily life in Flint which makes it easy for viewers to relate to. Once you're in, they connect it to the larger more story of a town with a long history of economic downfall.”

Notes From Aleppo

Zahra Rasool: “This story is very impactful and so touching. There is no lack of stories from or about Syria and Syrians, but this is from a new angle. We need to keep talking about these important issues and in order to keep the audience listening, we need to find new ways to tell the story. Notes from Aleppo has that new way and is very effective through the way it connects to the viewer and is so deeply personal.”

Zoeann Murphy: “Watching Notes from Aleppo, I immediately felt like I was there with Issa Touma on his journey. The piece informs us that at the beginning of 2018 the number of returnees in Aleppo was 444,500. Seeing the experience of returning through Touma’s lens added so much.”

The Last Generation

FRONTLINE/The GroundTruth Project

Muyi Xiao: “For the topic of climate change, it is impressive that the production team can find such a tangible angle. From the children’s stories, we could immediately grasp the importance and urgency of the issue.”

Sara Kolster: “This is an important and urgent story about climate change. It was a clever choice to tell it from the perspective of children: the generation that has to deal with the effects of climate change. It gave them an important voice and made the stories very personal.”

World Press Photo Online Video of the Year

The World Press Photo Online Video of the Year award celebrates a video produced for the web, which through skillful editing and audio-visual design tells a compelling story with an impact.

Muyi Xiao: “We value the piece that will make us have a very long-lasting reflection on the issue after watching it.”

Zoeann Murphy: “I want to hear the voices of the people most impacted by these global issues that we’re hearing about. I want those people to be treated as an authority in their experience.”

The jury nominated three productions for World Press Photo Online Video of the Year: 

In the Absence
Field of Vision

Zoeann Murphy: “One of the most impressive things about In the Absence was the use of gathered video and sound recordings made on the day that the Korean ferry Sewol sank.”

Muyi Xiao: “The elegance, respect and commitment really stand out here. The work itself now becomes a valuable historical archive, documenting how incompetent government can be and how people can empower themselves in this kind of situation.”

The Legacy of the ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy: Traumatized Children With No Access to Treatment
Univision News Digital

Zoeann Murphy: “For me, one of the most important qualities of this piece is that we hear directly from the people most impacted by this huge news story.“

Zahra Rasool: “This issue is urgent and deserves the spotlight. It is widely reported on, but not on the people that suffer from it: the children, the families, the communities. The story follows a child returning to Guatemala, her school, her teachers, the children... This is the voice that was missing. It is a strong voice and the intimacy is special and touching.”


ProPublica/BBC News

Sara Kolster: “The film is a good example of investigative journalism with important results: (1) children's court cases have been reopened and (2) the person responsible, Katie Meyler, stepped down

Zoeann Murphy: “Both the videos produced by the NGO and the on-the-ground video reporting by the journalists provide crucial information for the viewer to understand the causes and effects of the abuses.”

Category nominees

The independent jury also selected three productions from each category (Long, Short) to be the nominees for World Press Photo Online Video of the Year. Read Zahra Rasool’s take on the nominated productions on Witness.

See the 2019 Digital Storytelling Contest Gallery