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John Stanmeyer wins World Press Photo of the Year 2013

John Stanmeyer wins World Press Photo of the Year 2013

© John Stanmeyer/VII for National Geographic

February 2014

The international jury of the 57th annual World Press Photo Contest has selected a picture by Canon photographer John Stanmeyer, of the VII Photo agency, as the overall World Press Photo of the Year 2013.

John Stanmeyer (VII Photo): winner of the World Press Photo of the Year 2013.

The picture shows a group of impoverished African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an inexpensive signal from neighbouring Somalia – a tenuous link to relatives abroad. Djibouti is a common stop-off point for migrants in transit from such countries as Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, seeking a better life in Europe and the Middle East. The picture also won first prize in the Contemporary Issues category of the 2014 World Press Photo Contest, and was shot for National Geographic.

The Chair of the 2014 World Press Photo Contest jury Gary Knight, a founder photographer at VII Photo agency, said of the winning image: “This image is so hopeful.” Although the photograph was originally part of a larger story that was not shortlisted in the contest, it remained in the minds of the jury, as Knight explained: “This image always stood out… in the context of that story. Every jury that I have ever been on here [at World Press Photo] has always sought to find something a little bit different but something that nevertheless addresses a really, really critical issue.”

Gary Knight added: “This is my fourth time on a jury and I don’t think I’ve been in a room where the jury has ever been so certain that a photograph should be the World Press Photo of the Year. It is a moment of hope borne from despair – an expression of people trying to find a new life for themselves and trying to connect with other people elsewhere in the world.”

© Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images

The image that won first prize in the Staged Portraits Singles category of the 2014 World Press Photo Contest. 25 September 2013, West Bengal India. A group of blind albino boys photographed in their boarding room at the Vivekananda mission school for the blind in West Bengal, India. This is one of the very few schools for the blind in India today.

Of the winning image Jillian Edelstein, a jury member from the UK/South Africa, said: 
“It’s a photo that is connected to so many other stories – it opens up discussions about technology, globalisation, migration, poverty, desperation, alienation, humanity. It’s a very sophisticated, powerfully nuanced image. It is so subtly done, so poetic, yet instilled with meaning, conveying issues of great gravity and concern in the world today.”

David Guttenfelder, a jury member from the USA, commented:
“The photo is like a message in a bottle, it is one that will last for all of us. People will bring their own life experiences to it as they stand in front of it.”

Other notable Canon photographers who won prizes in the 2014 World Press Photo Contest included Canon Ambassador Brent Stirton (Reportage by Getty Images) who won first prize in the Staged Portraits Singles category for his image of blind albino boys in India, whilst Canon Explorer Marcus Varesvuo took second prize in the Nature Singles category for his image of a flock of guillemots in a snowstorm in Norway.

Wildlife photographer Steve Winter (National Geographic) took first place in the Nature Stories category for his story on cougars in Wyoming, USA; photojournalist Sara Lewkowicz (Reportage by Getty Images) won the Contemporary Issues Stories category for her documentation of domestic violence in the US for Time, and Goran Tomasevic (Reuters) took first prize in the Spot News Stories category for his coverage of rebels attacking a government checkpoint in Damascus, Syria.

© Christian Ziegler/National Geographic

An image from the story that won third prize in the Nature Stories category of the 2014 World Press Photo Contest. A five-year-old bonobo turns out to be the most curious individual of a wild group of bonobos near the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Despite being humans’ closest living relatives, little is known about bonobos and their behaviour in the wild in remote parts of the Congo basin. Bonobos are threatened by habitat loss and bush meat trade.

The jury gave prizes in nine themed categories to 53 photographers of 25 nationalities from: Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA.

The members of the jury announced the winners at a press conference held at the World Press Photo offices in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 14 February 2014.

The judging was conducted at the World Press Photo offices in Amsterdam. All entries were presented anonymously to the jury, who discussed their merits over a two-week period. The jury operates independently and a secretary without voting rights safeguards the fairness of the procedure. The contest drew entries from professional press photographers, photojournalists and documentary photographers across the world. By the mid-January deadline a total of 98,671 images had been submitted by 5,754 photographers from 132 countries.

The full list of winners in the 2014 World Press Photo Contest is as follows:


John Stanmeyer (VII for National Geographic), USA – Signal, Djibouti City, 26 February.


  1. Phillipe Lopez, (Agence France-Presse), France – Typhoon survivors, Tolosa, the Philippines, 18 November.
  2. John Tlumacki (The Boston Globe), USA – Boston Marathon bombing, 15 April.
  3. Taslima Akhter, Bangladesh – Victims of garment factory collapse, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 25 April.


  1. Goran Tomasevic (Reuters), Serbia – Rebels attack government checkpoint, Damascus, Syria, 30 January.
  2. Tyler Hicks (The New York Times), USA – Massacre at Westgate Mall, Nairobi, Kenya, 21 September.
  3. Rahul Talukder (Bangladesh Sangbad 71), Bangladesh – Collapse of Rana Plaza, Savar, Bangladesh, April.


  1. Alessandro Penso (OnOff Picture), Italy – Temporary accommodation for Syrian refugees, Sofia, Bulgaria, November.
  2. Moises Saman (Magnum Photos), Spain – Bomb maker, Aleppo, Syria, 20 March.
  3. Amir Pourmand (ISNA/The Associated Press), Iran – Moments before the hanging, Iran, 20 January.


  1. Chris McGrath (Getty Images), Australia – Typhoon Haiyan, the Philippines, November.
  2. William Daniels (Panos Pictures for Time), France – Chaos in Central African Republic, December.
  3. Gianluca Panella, Italy – Gaza blackout, December.


  1. Emiliano Lasalvia (La Nación), Argentina – Polo fall, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1 December.
  2. Andrzej Grygiel (for PAP-Polska Agencja Prasowa), Poland – Slalom action, Szczyrk, Poland, 24 March.
  3. Al Bello (Getty Images), USA – Djokovic forehand forward, New York, USA, 3 September.


  1. Jia Guorong (China News Service), China – Competition on bars, Shenyang, China.
  2. Ezra Shaw (Getty Images), USA – The America’s Cup: from land, sea and air, San Francisco, USA.
  3. Quinn Rooney (Getty Images), Australia – World swimming sports.


  1. Jeff Pachoud (Agence France-Presse), France – Sledding race from above, Megève, France, 18 January.
  2. Anastas Tarpanov, Bulgaria – Kite skier on Vitosha mountain, Bulgaria, 13 January.
  3. Donald Miralle, Jr. (for Pacific Magazine), USA - Free diving with sharks, Oahu, Hawaii, 17 May.


  1. Peter Holgersson, Sweden – Nadja Casadei; heptathlon and cancer.
  2. Kunrong Chen (for Nanfang Daily), China – Daily exercise, Zhuhai, China.
  3. Alyssa Schukar (for Omaha World Herald), USA – A lingerie league of their own.


  1. John Stanmeyer (VII for National Geographic), USA – Signal, Djibouti City, Djibouti, 26 February.
  2. Maciek Nabrdalik (VII), Poland – Nicolette at the orphanage, Warsaw, Poland.
  3. Christopher Vanegas (La Vanguardia / El Guardían), Mexico – Victims of organised crime, Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico.


  1. Sara Naomi Lewkowicz (for Time), USA – A portrait of domestic violence, USA.
  2. Robin Hammond (Panos Pictures), New Zealand – War and mental health after crisis.
  3. Marcus Bleasdale (VII for National Geographic), UK – Last of the Vikings, Norway.


  1. Julius Schrank (for de Volkskrant), Germany – Kachin fighters, Burma.
  2. Andrea Bruce, USA, (Noor), USA – Soldier's funeral, Latakia, Syria.
  3. Julie McGuire (for International New York Times), UK – Street dogs, Penang, Malaysia.


  1. Fred Ramos (El Faro), El Salvador – The last outfit of the missing, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
  2. Tanya Habjouqa, Jordan – Occupied pleasures, West Bank, Gaza and East Jeruzalem.
  3. Elena Chernyshova (for National Geographic Russia), Russia – Days of night - nights of day, Norilsk, Russia.

Honourable mention: Jana Asenbrennerova, Czech Republic – Living unnoticed; gay community in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

People – Observed Portraits Singles category

  1. Nemanja Pancic (Kurir), Serbia – Milan, Belgrade, Serbia.
  2. Marie Hald, Denmark – Bonnie, Soroe, Denmark.
  3. Ilona Szwarc (Redux Pictures), Poland – Kayla, Boston, USA


  1. Markus Schreiber (The Associated Press), Germany – Farewell Mandela, Pretoria, South Africa.
  2. Rena Effendi, Azerbaijan, (INSTITUTE), Azerbaijan – Dasan (10), Spirit Lake Reservation, North Dakota, USA.
  3. Pau Barrena, Spain – A traditional Berber bride, Morocco.


  1. Carla Kogelman, the Netherlands – Ich bin Waldviertel.
  2. Peter van Agtmael (Magnum Photos), USA – Healing Bobby.
  3. Rena Effendi (INSTITUTE for National Geographic magazine), Azerbaijan – Transylvania: built on grass.


  1. Brent Stirton (Reportage by Getty Images), South Africa – Blind albino boys, West Bengal, India.
  2. Abbie Trayler-Smith, UK – Shannon poses before surgery, Sheffield, United Kingdom.
  3. Nadav Kander (for The New York Times Magazine / New York magazine / Time magazine), UK – Chiwetel Ejiofor.


  1. Danila Tkachenko, Russia – Escape, Russia and Ukraine.
  2. Denis Dailleux (Agence Vu), France – Mother and son, Egypt.
  3. Nikita Shokhov (Salt Images), Russia – Utrish, Russia.


  1. Bruno D'Amicis, Italy – Fennec fox, a species in danger, Kebili Region, Tunisia.
  2. Markus Varesvuo, Finland – a flock of guillemots, Vardo, Norway.
  3. Shangzhen Fan (for Shangtuf Image and Art Club), China – Coyotes walking in the desert, Xinjiang, China.


  1. Steve Winter (for National Geographic), USA – Cougars.
  2. Kacper Kowalski (Panos Pictures), Poland – Toxic beauty, Poland.
  3. Christian Ziegler (for National Geographic Magazine), Germany – Bonobos – our unknown cousins, Congo.

Now in its 57th year, the annual World Press Photo Contest is universally recognised as the world’s leading international contest for photojournalists, setting the standard for the profession. The judging is conducted at the World Press Photo offices in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where all entries are presented anonymously to the jury, which discusses and debates their merits over a period of two weeks. The jury operates independently, and secretaries without voting rights safeguard a fair and correct procedure.

The Contest Jury

The 2014 Photo Contest Jury convened in Amsterdam from 1 to 13 February to judge the entries.


Gary Knight, UK, founder photographer, VII Photo Agency.


  • Daniel Beltrá, Spain/USA, photographer.
  • Jillian Edelstein, UK/South Africa, photographer.
  • David Guttenfelder, USA, chief Asia photographer, The Associated Press.
  • Hideko Kataoka, Japan, director of photography, Newsweek Japan.
  • Koyo Kouoh, Cameroon, founder and artistic director, Raw Material Company.
  • Susie Linfield, USA, associate professor and director of the cultural reporting and criticism program, New York University.
  • Kerim Okten, Turkey, photographer, EPA.
  • Francesco Zizola, Italy, photojournalist, Noor Images.

The first round in News and Documentary was judged by:

  • Gary Knight (chair), UK, founder photographer, VII Photo Agency.
  • Adrees Latif, Pakistan/USA, photographer and editor-in-charge US pictures, Reuters.
  • Daniel Merle, Argentina, picture editor and curator.
  • Marie Sumalla, France, photo editor, Le Monde.
  • Newsha Tavakolian, Iran, photographer.

The first and second rounds in Sports were judged by:

  • Kerim Okten (chair), Turkey, photographer, EPA.
  • Tom Jenkins, UK, sports photographer.
  • Miriam Marseu, USA, photo editor, Sports Illustrated.

The first and second rounds in Nature were judged by:

  • Daniel Beltrá (chair), Spain/USA, photographer.
  • Rosamund Kidman Cox, UK, editor.
  • Luciano Candisani, Brazil, nature photojournalist.

The first and second rounds in Portraits were judged by:

  • Jillian Edelstein (chair), UK/South Africa, photographer.
  • Alessia Glaviano, Italy, senior photo editor, Vogue Italia and L’Uomo Vogue.
  • Terence Pepper, UK, senior special advisor, National Portrait Gallery.

Jury secretaries:

  • Secretary for News and Documentary and for the second week of judging: 
David Campbell, Australia, independent writer, researcher, lecturer and producer.
  • Secretary for the categories Nature, Portraits and Sports:
Simon Njami, Cameroon, independent curator, lecturer and art critic.
© Sara Naomi Lewkowicz/Time

An image from the story that won first prize in the Contemporary Issues Stories category of the 2014 World Press Photo Contest. 17 November 2012, USA. As the fight continued to rage, Shane told Maggie that she could choose between getting beaten in the kitchen, or going with him to the basement so they could talk privately, Lancaster, USA.

The Awards Ceremony

John Stanmeyer, the photographer who took the World Press Photo of the Year 2013, will receive the award during the Awards Ceremony in Amsterdam on 25 April 2013. The award also carries a cash prize of €10,000. In addition, sponsor Canon will donate a Canon EOS Digital SLR camera and lens kit to John Stanmeyer.

Touring exhibition

The prize-winning pictures are presented in an exhibition visiting more than 100 cities in over 45 countries. The first 2014 World Press Photo exhibition opens in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in the De Nieuwe Kerk on 18 April 2014.

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