2013 World Press Photo Awards   

World Press Photo

First Prize, Sports Action Singles.

Joy at the end of the run.

Feb. 12, 2012, Batu Sangkar, West Sumatra, Indonesia.

A jockey, his feet stepped into a harness strapped to the bulls and clutching their tails, shows relief and joy at the end of a dangerous run across rice fields. The Pacu Jawi (bull race) is a popular competition at the end of harvest season keenly contested between villages.

Wei Seng Chen/Malaysia.

On Feb. 15, the winners of the prestigious 56th annual World Press Photo competition were announced in Amsterdam. Paul Hansen of the Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter won photo of the year with his image of two young dead children* being carried by a group of men after their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike.

This year’s images were judged at the World Press Photo office in Amsterdam. By the mid-January deadline, the contest had received 103,481 images from 5,666 photographers hailing from 124 countries. The contest was judged by 19 professionals in the fields of photojournalism and documentary photography from around the world and includes categories ranging from Contemporary Issues, Sports Action and Staged Portraits.

To learn more about World Press Photo or to see all of the winning images from the 2012 competition, visit their website

World Press Photo

World Press Photo of the Year 2012.

Nov. 20, 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories.

Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and her three-year-old brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike. Their father, Fouad, was also killed and their mother was put in intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.

Paul Hansen/Dagens Nyheter/Sweden.

World Press Photos

First Prize, Daily Life Stories.


June 1, 2010, Rome

Mirella, 71, spent 43 years of her life with the only person she loved, with all of life’s difficulties, laughter, and beautiful moments. But over the last six years things changed: Mirella lived with her husband Luigi’s illness, Alzheimer’s, and devoted her life to him as his caregiver.

Fausto Podavini/Italy.

World Press Photo

Second Prize Singles Spot News


July 31, 2012, Aleppo, Syria

Opposition fighters regularly launched operations to seize suspected government informants after dark. Two informants were captured, declared guilty under interrogation, and tortured throughout the night; tired fighters had to be replaced so the torture could continue. After 48 hours, the captives were released.

Emin Ozmen/Turkey.

World Press Photo

First Prize, Contemporary Issues.

The Pink Choice.

June 22, 2012, Da Nang, Vietnam.

Phan Thi Thuy Vy and Dang Thi Bich Bay, who have been together for one year, watch television to relax after studying at school. Vietnam has historically been unwelcoming to same-sex relationships. But its Communist government is considering recognizing same-sex marriage, a move that would make it the first Asian country to do so, despite past human rights issues and a long-standing stigma. In August 2012, the country’s first public gay pride parade took place in Hanoi.

Maika Elan/Vietnam.

Bubble Propulsion of the Emperors

First Prize, Nature.

Emperor Penguins.

Nov. 18, 2011, Ross Sea, Antarctica.

Even though they have evolved an incredibly advanced bubble physiology, the greatest challenge they face is the loss of sea ice that supports their colonies and ecosystem. New science shows that emperor penguins are capable of tripling their swimming speed by releasing millions of bubbles from their feathers. These bubbles reduce the friction between their feathers and the icy seawater, allowing them to accelerate in the water. They use speeds of up to 30 kilometers per hour to avoid leopard seals and to launch themselves up onto the ice.

Paul Nicklen/Canada.

World Press Photos

Third Prize, Observed Portraits.


Feb. 19, 2012, Boston

American Girl is a popular line of dolls that can be customized to look exactly like their owners. Kayla poses with her look-alike doll against a portrait of her ancestors.

Ilona Szwarc/Poland.

World Press Photo

Third-Prize Story, General News.

Japan After the Wave

March 7, 2012, Rikuzentakata, Japan.

Pine trees uprooted during the tsunami lay strewn over the beach. One year later, areas of Japan most affected by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that left 15,848 dead and 3,305 missing, continue to struggle. Thousands of people remain living in temporary dwellings. The government faces an uphill battle with the need to dispose of rubble as it works to rebuild economies and livelihoods.

Daniel Berehulak/Australia.

World Press Photo

First Prize, Staged Portraits.

People of Mercy

Oct. 17, 2012, Conakry, Guinea.

Makone Soumaoro, 30, goiter. “I don’t have pain, but I am worried that my neck swells that much. I hope it it is not a tumor because I am a housewife and my man and three children need me.”

Stephan Vanfleteren/Belgium.

World Press Photo

Second-Prize Stories, Sports Action.

The Golden Touch

July 31, 2012, London, U.K.

Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt (top) in action against Peter Joppich of Germany during their Men’s Foil Individual Round 16 match. Years of training, thousands of battles, and hundreds of victories prepared fencing competitors for the opportunity to stand on the piste at the 2012 London Olympic Games to fight for gold.

Sergei Ilnitsky/Russia.

*Correction, Feb. 20, 2013: This article initially described the two dead children as brothers. (Return.)