World Press Photo has announced the results of its 2020 photo contest. The World Press Photo of the Year is Yasuyoshi Chiba’s Straight Voice. The World Press Photo Story of the Year winner is Romain Laurendeau’s Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt. Canadian Mark Blinch received First Prize, Singles, in the Sports category for his image Kawhi Leonard’s Game 7 Buzzer Beater.
The prize-winning photographs are assembled into a year-long worldwide exhibition, which premieres every year at De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Due to safety concerns surrounding COVID-19, the opening at De Nieuwe Kerk and other locations have been postponed. New dates will be announced soon. Check the calendar for updates.
World Press Photo of the Year: Yasuyoshi Chiba
The jury of the 2020 Photo Contest selected Yasuyoshi Chiba’s photograph Straight Voice as the World Press Photo of the Year. The winning image shows a young man, illuminated by mobile phones, reciting protest poetry while demonstrators chant slogans calling for civilian rule, during a blackout in Khartoum, Sudan, on 19 June 2019.
Yasuyoshi Chiba, World Press Photo of the Year winner, said: “This moment was the only peaceful group protest I encountered during my stay. I felt their undefeated solidarity like burning embers that remain to flare up again.”
Yasuyoshi Chiba, Japan, is Agence France-Presse (AFP)’s Chief Photographer for East Africa and Indian Ocean and is currently based in Nairobi, Kenya. After studying photography at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, he started working as a staff photographer for Asahi Shimbun. He became a freelance photographer and moved to Kenya in 2007, and then joined AFP in Brazil in 2011.
Lekgetho Makola, head of Market Photo Workshop and 2020 Photo Contest jury chair, said: “Especially in the time that we’re living in when there’s a lot of violence and a lot of conflicts, it’s important that we have an image that inspires people.”
He described the winning photograph: “We see this young person, who is not shooting, who is not throwing a stone, but reciting a poem. It’s acknowledging, but also voicing a sense of hope.”
Chris McGrath, photographer for Getty Images and 2020 jury member, added: “It was just a really beautiful, quiet photograph that summed up all the unrest across the globe of people wanting change.”
World Press Photo Story of the Year: Romain Laurendeau
The jury chose Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt by Romain Laurendeau as World Press Photo Story of the Year. The winning series tells the story of the deep unease of Algerian youth, who, by daring to challenge authority, inspired the rest of the population to join their action, giving birth to the largest protest movement in Algeria in decades.
Romain Laurendeau, World Press Photo Story of the Year winner, said: “It was impossible for a part of me not to recognize myself in these young people. They are young but they are tired of this situation and they just want to live like everyone else.”
Romain Laurendeau, France, has worked on long term projects as a professional photographer in France, Senegal, Algeria, Palestinian territories and Israel. Laurendeau was diagnosed with Keratoconus, a progressive eye disease that distorts the cornea. After a corneal transplant in 2009, he decided to travel extensively to document the human condition in all of its social, economic and political aspects.
“As a judge, I was looking for visual storytelling. Your decisions are done around how intimate and close you become, but also how far you step back to allow the viewers to make their own decisions,” said Makola about judging the World Press Photo Story of the Year.
Sabine Meyer, director of Photography for the National Audubon Society and 2020 jury member, said about the story: “We felt that the quality of the work itself, photographically, was quite flawless.”
Lucy Conticello, director of Photography of M magazine, Le Monde and jury member, adds: “I think the level of commitment that the photographer showed, and the connection and intimacy with the people, just came through.”
Sports – First Prize, Singles: Mark Blinch
A buzzer-beater is a successful shot made just as the buzzer sounds to indicate the end of a game, or period in a game. Leonard’s ball hit the rim as the final buzzer sounded, and bounced around four times before dropping through the net. This was the first Game 7 game-winning buzzer-beater shot in NBA history. Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers had at this point each won three games of the seven-game series. After eliminating the 76ers, Toronto Raptors went on to be the first team based outside the United States to win the NBA finals.