A portrait of a gay Russian couple embracing has won the 58th annual award for World Press Photo of the year. The dramatically lit image is the work of Danish photographer Mads Nissen, and appeared in a photo essay responding to the 2013 passage of Russia’s heavily criticized anti-gay laws.
The World Press Photo foundation was founded in Amsterdam in 1955, and offers a grand prize of €10,000 ($11,380) and a professional Canon DSLR camera and lens, with €1,500 ($1,700) going to the first place winners in each category.
Though many of the entries capture dramatic scenes and historic moments—Nissen is a photojournalist for Denmark’s Politiken newspaper—juror Patrick Baz, an experienced war photographer, defended the winning image’s subtlety, telling the New York Times that “photographers can always find a story right across the street” and that “you don’t have to go to war [and] be elbow to elbow with a dozen photographers doing the same thing.”
Nissen’s image passed one test that many entries failed: 20 percent of finalists were disqualified for being too heavily retouched. Other winners included Ronghui Chen’s photo of a worker at a Christmas decoration factory in Yiwi, China, which came in second for contemporary issues (see Discover Yiwu, China’s Christmas Village), and Glenna Gordon‘s images of the personal effects of the Nigerian school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, which took second place in general news behind Pete Muller’s photographs of West Africa’s Ebola crisis.
For more of artnet News’s coverage of photography awards see Journalism Prize for Photo of China’s President With Umbrella, Stunning Snapshots Vying for the 2015 World Photography Awards, These Award-Winning iPhone Photos Are Very Impressive, and American Michael Nichols Is Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
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