“Throughout my decade of coverage, the goal has always been to humanise this complex issue of immigration,” says John Moore, who’s nominated image from June 2018, Crying Girl on the Border, became a symbol of the families pulled apart by Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
“I think that today, we need to be able to tell stories in differently, to be able to connect to as many viewers as we can,” says World Press Story of the Year-nominated Pieter Ten Hoopen. “We’re heading towards a new phase. Before, a single image could become iconic for a whole war, or a situation of despair. Now it’s different, and I think we need to be able to tell stories in a more sensitive way.”
Hoopen’s nominated photographs for World Press Story of the Year follow the movement of thousands of Central American migrants who joined a caravan heading to the United States border between October and November 2018. It is estimated that over 7,000 people – at least 2,300 of them children – joined the trek, making it the largest caravan of migrants in recent history, according to UN agencies.
“Ideally a [World Press Photo] Picture of the Year would be surprising, unique, relevant, memorable,” says Whitney C. Johnson, vice president, Visuals and Immersive Experiences, at National Geographic, and jury chair for World Press Photo’s 2019 contest.
This year John Moore has won that top spot, with an image showing Honduran toddler Yanela Sanchez crying as she and her mother, Sandra Sanchez, were taken into custody by US border officials in McAllen, Texas, USA, on 12 June 2018.
This year World Press Photo also added a Story of the Year to its awards, and that prize has also been won by a project on immigration, which was shot by Sweden-based, Dutch photographer Pieter Ten Hoppen. His series shows people travelling with the largest migrant caravan in recent history, which left San Pedro Sula, Honduras on 12 October and gathered as many as 7000 people on its way to the USA, according to UN agencies – including at least 2300 children. Shot in soft colours, it focuses in on individuals in the caravan, and moments of beauty in their lives.
“Working in Yemen is extremely difficult,” says Lorenzo Tugnoli, talking to BJP by phone from Kabul. “It’s a country where you have to navigate through various factions, and there are bureaucratic obstacles on both sides. As an example, it took us months just to get a visa.
“And even when you get access, you are not allowed to have much time. For example, after long negotiation we were allowed to go to Hodeidah, but they only let us stay for a few days. I look at my pictures in the port: I was there just for half an hour.”
Even so, Tugnoli has managed to make two extended trips to Yemen – the first for three weeks in May 2018, and the second for five weeks in November and December 2018. During those trips he travelled extensively throughout the country, crossing over the frontline and into territories held by opposing forces. Showing both the conflict and its disastrous humanitarian impact, his images have been published in a series of essays by The Washington Post, and a story pulled out of those images by Tugnoli and the director of Contrasto, Giulia Tornari, has now been nominated for the very first World Press Photo Story of the Year.
Born in Parma, Italy, in 1976, Marco Gualazzini began his career as a photographer in 2004, at the age of 28, for his towns local paper La Gazzetta di Parma. Since then he has covered topics such as microfinance in India, freedom of expression in Myanmar, and the discriminations of Christians in Pakistan, which have published in The New York Times, Al-jazeera, The Sunday Times, among many others.
Over the last few years he has been working extensively in Africa, documenting the desertification of what was once one of Africa’s largest lakes, and a lifeline to 40 million people on the continent. Gualazzini’s work has been double nominated for both World Press Photo of the Year and World Press Story of the Year.
Petronella Chigumbura is a member of Akashinga, an all female anti-poaching unit that operates in Zimbabwe’s Lower Zambezi ecosystem. In Shona – the native language of Zimbabwe – Akashinga means the brave ones. Many of the members are victims of sexual violence and domestic abuse, recruited by the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF), and trained rigorously to serve on Africa’s frontline against poaching.
“It was a really tough story to cover, because the subject wasn’t there,” says Chris McGrath. “There was so much press there, and everyone was having the same problem – I was talking with other photographers and the Getty Images office about how to tell the story. It became every day going to the same place, standing, trying to get a picture that said something.”
The story was the disappearance of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi and the problem was exactly that – a Saudi Arabian journalist, author, and editor, who wrote for The Washington Post, Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 02 October 2018 and vanished. Lurid reports that he’d been killed and dismembered soon circulated, but his body has still not been found and initially, the Saudi Arabian government denied his death. There was, as McGrath says, very little to photograph.
Then on 15 October, Saudi and Turkish officials were allowed in to inspect the building, and McGrath, along with many other journalists and photographers, went along to photograph the development. “We didn’t know when the inspectors would arrive, but everyone was there,” says McGrath. “All the press was trying to get something, and this guy was holding us back.”
In Catalina Martin-Chico’s World Press Photo of the Year-nominated image, former guerilla fighter Yolanda is photographed with her husband Michael in their home in the Colombian jungle. It is their sixth pregnancy, but for the first time, Yolanda will be delivering a baby.
Until three years ago, when a peace deal was signed with the Colombian government, Yolanda was a member of the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc). Pregnancy was forbidden, so many female members underwent abortions. Yolanda has had five abortions – her last pregnancy terminated at six months. “She feels that now, she deserves this baby,” says Martin-Chico.
Back in 2011, Mohammed Badra was studying architecture at Damascus University, a 20-minute drive from his native Douma. Then war broke out in Syria and he was forced to abandon his studies, initially becoming a first-responder for the Syrian Red Crescent, and then starting to take photographs of the conflict. “Taking a picture is documenting history,” he says simply. “I am an architecture student, I was pushed into photography.”
In 2015 Badra joined EPA [European Pressphoto Agency], working under Oliver Weiken and starting to focus in on images of children. Children are “the biggest losers in this war” he says, and there are many caught up in the crossfire, with the UN estimating that some 500,000 are currently living in 16 besieged areas in Syria.
And it’s the child that’s the really shocking factor in Badra’s photograph from Eastern Ghouta, which has been nominated for the World Press Photo of the Year. Showing victims of a suspected gas attack in hospital on 25 February 2018, the image includes a small boy hooked up to breathing apparatus.
Born in Athens in 1960, Yannis Behrakis was inspired to take up photography after chancing across a Time-Life photobook as a young man. Going on to study photography in Athens and at Middlesex University in the UK, he starting work for Reuters in 1987, and by 1989 had been sent on his first foreign assignment – Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, where he quickly made his name.
“He quickly displayed a knack for being in the right place at the right time,” reports Reuters’ site The Wider Image. “When Gaddafi visited a hotel where journalists had been cooped up for several days, a scrum of reporters crowded around the Libyan leader to get pictures and soundbites.
‘I somehow managed to sneak next to him and get some wide-angle shots,’ Behrakis wrote. ‘The next day my picture was all over the front pages of papers around the world.’”