World Press Photo 2023 regional winners showcase importance of photojournalism

WARNING: Some of the images featured in this article contain graphic content that some readers may find disturbing.

The World Press Photo has announced the regional winners of its 2023 photo contest.

The selection includes images which showcase stories from photojournalists and documentary photographers across every continent. They call attention to the pressing issues facing the world today – from the documentation of the war in Ukraine and historic protests in Iran to the realities of the climate crisis and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

Out of more than 60,000 entries by 3,752 entrants from 127 countries, the jury selected 24 winners and six honourable mentions.

Executive Director of the World Press Photo Foundation Joumana El Zein Khoury said: “In a world where dozens of journalists are still killed in the line of duty every year, I could not stop thinking about the journeys and risks these photographers – and often, their subjects – take to bring us these images of our world. I am humbled to present this selection and honoured that we will be able to bring the vital stories they tell to millions more people.” 

Take a look at some of the powerful and incredibly moving entries: 

Shireen Abu Akleh’s FuneralMaya Levin

13 MAY, 2022 – Israeli police beat mourners accompanying the coffin of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to her funeral, in East Jerusalem. Police prohibited people from carrying the coffin on foot through the city, as mourners chanted “We sacrifice our soul and blood for you, Shireen.”

The Price of Peace in AfghanistanPolitiken/Panos Pictures – Mads Nissen

19 JANUARY, 2022 – Unable to afford food for the family, the parents of Khalil Ahmad (15) decided to sell his kidney for US$3,500. The lack of jobs and the threat of starvation has led to a dramatic increase in the illegal organ trade. Herat, Afghanistan.

The Price of Peace in AfghanistanPolitiken/Panos Pictures – Mads Nissen

Sohalullah Hejrat (19) stands guard over Friday prayer at Sher Shah Suri Mosque in Kabul, Afghanistan. He has been with the Taliban for three years.

Battered WatersVII /National Geographic Society – Anush Babajanyan

Four landlocked Central Asian countries are struggling with the climate crisis and lack of coordination over the water supplies they share. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, upstream on the Syr Darya and Amu Darya rivers, need extra energy in winter. 

Battered WatersVII /National Geographic Society – Anush Babajanyan

UntitledAhmad Halabisaz

27 DECEMBER, 2022 – An Iranian woman sits on a chair in front of a busy square in Tehran, defying the mandatory hijab law. “A few days after Mahsa’s death, I was walking past Keshavarzi Boulevard when I saw a massive crowd of men and women, young and old, chanting a slogan that I’ve never heard before: ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’. It enlightened me, it was moving,” she said.

Yana and VictorReuters – Alkis Konstantinidis

18 APRIL, 2022 – Consoled by her partner Yevgeniy Vlasenko and her mother Lyubov, Yana Bachek cries over the body of her father Victor Gubarev (79), killed while buying bread during the shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine.

The Siege of MariupolAssociated Press – Evgeniy Maloletka

Marina Yatsko and her boyfriend Oleksandr Kulahin bring her 18-month-old son Kirill, fatally wounded during shelling, to a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine.

The Siege of MariupolAssociated Press – Evgeniy Maloletka

11 MARCH, 2022 – Serhiy Kralya, a civilian injured during shelling by Russian forces, rests after surgery at a hospital in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Net-Zero TransitionSimone Tramonte

13 JULY, 2020 – An operator runs a routine check of a photobioreactor at a microalgae facility in Reykjanesbær, Iceland. The company uses algae to produce a food supplement rich in antioxidants.

Net-Zero TransitionSimone Tramonte

02 FEBRUARY, 2021 – Greenhouse operations in Ostellato, Italy, are based on a circular economy. Plant waste fuels the biogas (renewable fuel) plant that powers the greenhouse.

Net-Zero TransitionSimone Tramonte

13 JULY, 2021 – People swim at Amager Strand, Denmark, near a wind farm which is co-owned by 8.552 electricity consumers, and serves more than 40,000 Copenhagen households.

War WoundsAssociated Press – Emilio Morenatti

This project portrays people who have undergone amputations as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The photographer, who lost a leg reporting in Afghanistan, feels a camaraderie with the amputees, and strives to depict the cruelty of war behind the front lines.

War WoundsAssociated Press – Emilio Morenatti

14 MAY, 2022 – Viktor (23) carries his wife Oksana Balandina (23) in a Lviv hospital, Ukraine. The couple married while Oksana was in hospital, and Viktor carried her like this for their first dance.

War WoundsAssociated Press – Emilio Morenatti

05 MAY, 2022 – Anton Gladun (22), a military medic, lies on his bed in hospital in Cherkasy, Ukraine. He was injured on the front line on 27 March.

The Dying RiverPanos Pictures – Jonas Kakó

11 MARCH, 2022 – Alfredo, Ubaldo, and José tend beehives near Wenden in the Arizona desert, United States.

The Voice of New York Is DrillNew York Magazine – Ashley Peña

Drill, a musical genre that originated in Chicago, United States, may be the most recent wave of rap music to achieve massive global success, but its story is not new to hip-hop. Even as their hit songs top charts, New York drill artists are targeted by New York City Police Department (NYPD) investigators who comb their lyrics and music videos for evidence of gang-related crimes.

Oil Spill in LimaBertha Foundation – Musuk Nolte

21 JANUARY, 2022 – Workers deal with the environmental disaster caused by an oil spill at Repsol’s nearby La Pampilla refinery at Playa Cavero, Peru.

AlpaquerosPulitzer Center/National Geographic – Alessandro Cinque

02 MAY, 2021 – Alpacas rest outdoors at night in Oropesa, Peru. Many alpaqueros (alpaca farmers) cannot afford to build shelters for their animals, despite freezing temperatures at high altitudes.

AlpaquerosPulitzer Center/National Geographic – Alessandro Cinque

22 NOVEMBER, 2022 – An alpaca fetus is analyzed at the Quimsachata Research and Production Center. The center aims to create breeds more resilient to the climate crisis.

I Can’t Hear the BirdsFabiola Ferrero

18 MAY, 2016 – Police arrest a man during a protest rally for a referendum to remove President Maduro from office, in Caracas, Venezuela.

World ChampionsAgence France-Presse – Tomás Francisco Cuesta

18 DECEMBER, 2022 – Fans celebrate Argentina’s victory at the 2022 FIFA World Cup on top of the Obelisk, at the intersection of two of the city’s most important streets, Avenida 9 de Julio and Avenida Corrientes, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Retrieving the DeadMauk Kham Wah

21 FEBRUARY, 2022 – Resistance fighters from the People’s Defense Forces retreat with the body of a comrade, following a clash with the Myanmar military, in Moe Bye, Kayah (Karenni) State, Myanmar. Myanmar authorities had sent reinforcements to the region as fighting with local opposition groups intensified.

For more photos, head to the World Press Photo website

The global winners will be announced on 20 April online, and go on an exhibition in Amsterdam on 22 April. After that, it will travel around the world and get on display in over 60 cities around the world, including Rome, Berlin, Barcelona, Zurich, Tel Aviv, Taipei, Singapore, Mexico City, Jakarta, Sydney, and Toronto.


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