Nadia Shira Cohen has won the $10,000 Women Photograph + Getty Images grant for her work on the abortion ban in El Salvador – and the five grants of $5000 awarded by Women Photograph with Nikon have gone to Tasneem Alsultan, Anna Boyiazis, Jess T. Dugan, Ana Maria Arevalo Gosen, and Etinosa Yvonne Osayimwen.
Nadia Shira Cohen’s series Yo No Di a Luz documents the effect that the complete ban on abortion in El Salvador has had on women – particularly on those forced to give birth to children conceived as a result of rape. “Doctors and nurses are trained to spy on women’s uteruses in public hospitals, reporting any suspicious alteration to the authorities and provoking criminal charges which can lead to between six months to seven years in prison,” writes Shira Cohen. “It is the poorer class of women who suffer the most as doctors in private hospitals are not required to report.
“Normally people don’t get set on fire during the protests, but there were many barricades on fire and the demonstrators use Molotov bombs,” says Ronaldo Schemidt. “I got the photo when a National Guard motorcycle exploded during a clash between demonstrators and government forces. It was lying on the floor, on fire, surrounded by young people. One of the protestors hit the tank, generating an explosion. Then the guy in the photo caught fire. I was standing a few meters away with my back to him, but when I felt the heat of the flames, I got my camera and turned around to start shooting whatever had just happened. It all took just a few seconds, so I didn’t know what I was shooting. I was moved by instinct, it was very quick. I didn’t stop shooting until I realised what was going on. There was somebody on fire running towards me.”
Ronaldo Schemidt has won the World Press Photo of the Year award for an arresting image taken during an anti-government protest in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. The chosen picture shows 28-year-old José Víctor Salazar Balza ablaze amid violent clashes with police after the gas tank of a nearby motorbike exploded. Miraculously, Salazar survived the incident but with first- and second-degree burns. Schemidt’s image was among six nominated for the award, including by Patrick Brown (Australia) for his photograph of the Rohingya crisis; Adam Ferguson (Australia) for his image of a Boko Haram survivor; Toby Melville (UK) for his photo following the immediate aftermath of a terror attack in London; and Ivor Prickett (Ireland) for two images from the Battle for Mosul. Of the winning image, jury member and deputy director of photography at National Geographic, Whitney C Johnson said: “It’s quite symbolic. The man, he has a mask on his face. He’s come to represent not just himself and himself on fire, but this idea of Venezuela burning.” Bulent Kiliç, another jury member and chief photographer …
“If you are asked to think what is the photo of the year, you have to try to have something about the events of that year, and that sends you to a news or documentary photography,” says Magdalena Herrera, director of photography for Geo France and chair of the jury for the 2018 World Press Photo Contest. “But we were looking for a point of view, the photographer’s point of view. We weren’t looking for an opinion, but for images in which someone had been able to take the photographic tool to envisage their part. Even if you are a documentary photographer, you choose the moment when you take the shot. YOU are the one reporting.
“The recipients of the 2017 Getty Images Editorial Photography Grants are working at the cutting edge of photojournalism, ensuring that often ignored global issues are brought to the forefront of public consciousness,” said Hugh Pinney, Vice President of News, Getty Images. This year’s winners see projects taking place in war torn Mosul, documenting the unrest in Venezuela and refugees seeking new homes in Europe.