World Press Photo Announces 2019 Contest Nominees

20 February 2019

From migrants at borders to pumas in Patagonia, World Press Photo has revealed the diverse and powerful images shortlisted for its 62nd annual Photo Contest.

Of the nearly 5000 photographers from across the world who entered around 79,000 images this year, 43 photographers were shortlisted across eight categories, which include Contemporary Issues, Environment and General News.

Of these nominees, 14 photographers are women (32%), a significant increase from the 2018 Photo Contest, when only 12% of the nominees were female.

The 17-strong jury, chaired by the National Geographic’s Whitney C. Johnson, also shortlisted six nominees for World Press Photo of the Year.

The World Press Photo Contest was established in 1955 to recognise the best visual journalism.

A new Story of the Year award was introduced for 2019, which honours the photographer who produced a series of images with excellent editing and sequencing on an event or issue of great journalistic importance.

Managing director of the World Press Photo Foundation, Lars Boering, said: ‘As the need for images and stories we can trust has never been greater, we are proud to recognise these visual journalists and digital storytellers, and look forward to sharing their work with the world in our World Press Photo Exhibition 2019.’

World Press Photo also announced the shortlist for its 2019 Digital Storytelling Contest, which celebrates interactive and video entrants.

The winners will be announced at the awards show in Amsterdam on 11 April 2019, and an exhibition of the winning images will begin its worldwide tour at De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam on 13 April 2019.  See the calendar for more information.

See a selection of the shortlist below…

Akashinga – the Brave Ones, © Brent Stirton, Getty Images, nominated for the World Press Photo of the Year 2019
Phundundu Wildlife Area, Zimbabwe, June 2018: Petronella Chigumbura, 30, an elite member of the all female conservation ranger force known as Akashinga undergoes sniper movement and concealment training in the bush near their base. Akashinga (meaning the ‘Brave Ones’ in local dialect) is a community-driven conservation model, empowering disadvantaged women to restore and manage a network of wilderness areas as an alternative to trophy hunting.

Evacuated, © Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times, nominated for the Environment singles category, World Photo Contest 2019
Evacuated horses stand tied to a pole, as smoke from a wildfire billows above them, on Zuma Beach, in Malibu, California, USA, on 10 November.
The 2018 wildfire season in California was the deadliest and most destructive on record, burning an area of more than 676,000 hectares. While scientists pointed to the vegetation-drying effects of climate change as a cause, US President Donald Trump blamed forest management.

The Migrant Caravan, © Pieter Ten Hoopen, Agence Vu/Civilian Act, nominated for the World Press Photo Story of the Year, 2019
During October and November 2018, thousands of Central American refugees joined a caravan heading to the United States border. The caravan, assembled through a grassroots social media campaign, left San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on 12 October 2018, and as word spread drew people from Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. They were a mix of those facing political repression and violence, and those fleeing harsh economic conditions in the hope of a better life. Traveling in a caravan offered a degree of safety on a route where migrants have previously disappeared or been kidnapped, and was an alternative to paying high rates to people smugglers.

Double Trouble, Blessed Twice, © Bénédicte Kurzen, Noor and Sanne de Wilde, Noor, nominated for Portraits Stories, World Press Photo Contest 2019
Nigeria has one of the highest occurrences of twins in the world, particularly among the Yoruba people in the southwest. Communities have developed different cultural practices in response to this high birth rate, from veneration to demonization. In earlier times, twins in some regions were considered evil, and vilified or killed at birth. Nowadays, the arrival of twins is generally met with celebration, and many think they bring good luck and wealth.

A Fight for Democracy, © John Wessels, Agence France-Presse, nominated for General News Stories, World Press Photo Contest 2019
Long-delayed general elections to find a successor to President Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), were finally held on 30 December. The run-up was marked by protests, street rallies and clashes between opposition supporters and police.
UDPS supporters gather outside party headquarters, on 21 December 2018. A fire that destroyed polling equipment the previous day had led to another postponement of the election, initially scheduled for 23 December 2018.

he Cubanitas, © Diana Markosian, Magnum Photos, nominated for Contemporary Issues Singles category
Pura rides around her neighborhood in a pink 1950s convertible, as the community gathers to celebrate her fifteenth birthday, in Havana, Cuba.
A girl’s quinceañera (fifteenth birthday) is a Latino coming-of-age tradition marking transition into womanhood. It is a gender-specific rite of passage, traditionally showcasing a girl’s purity and readiness for marriage. Families go to great expense, often celebrating with a lavish party. The girl dresses as a princess, living out a fantasy and perceived idea of femininity.

Syria, No Exit, © Mohammed Badra, European Pressphoto Agency, nominated for Spot News Stories, World Press Photo 2019
People clear rubble around buildings damaged in several airstrikes the previous day, Douma, Eastern Ghouta, 22 February 2018.
By February 2018, the people of Eastern Ghouta, a suburban district outside Damascus and one of the last rebel enclaves in the ongoing Syrian conflict, had been under siege by government forces for five years. During the final offensive, Eastern Ghouta came under rocket fire and air bombardment, including at least one alleged gas attack—on the village of al-Shifunieh, on 25 February 2018.

Wild Pumas of Patagonia, © Ingo Arndt, for National Geographic, nominated for Nature Stories, World Press Photo Contest 2019
Young female puma at Torres del Paine.
Pumas, also known as mountain lions or cougars, are found from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes, the widest range of any large wild mammal in the Western Hemisphere. They can survive in a variety of habitats, from deserts and prairies to forests and snowy mountains, but are generally shy and elusive to humans. Torres del Paine national park in Chilean Patagonia is thought to contain higher concentrations of pumas than anywhere in the world.

Crying for Freedom, © Forough Alaei, nominated for Sports Stories, World Press Photo Contest 2019
In Iran, female fans are banned from entering football stadiums. As football is the nation’s most popular sport, the ban has been a controversial public issue. On 1 March 2018, FIFA president Gianni Infanto met with the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, to address the issue. Social-media groups also put the president under pressure, and on 20 June 2018 a ruling allowed Tehran’s Azadi and Takhti stadiums to admit selected groups of women for international matches. The concession to women fans applied only to international matches, and after a senior judicial officer objected in October 2018, it was withdrawn. On 10 November 2018, the FIFA president, who was attending the AFC Cup match in Tehran, asked to be shown that women were being allowed to attend. A selection of women were permitted to enter, though many others were barred.

Being Pregnant After FARC Child-Bearing Ban, © Catalina Martin-Chico, Panos, nominated for World Press Photo of the Year 2019
Yorladis and her partner live in a house in a temporary camp in Colinas. They met shortly before the peace process. He had just spent two years in prison which he described as being jointly run by the FARC and paramilitary groups, in other words, basically the same war as outside the walls.


Featured image: The Lake Chad Crisis, © Marco Gualazzini, Contrasto, nominated for the World Press Photo Story of the Year, 2019.  A severe humanitarian crisis is under way in the Lake Chad basin. Over two million refugees, five million people at risk of food insecurity and 500,000 children suffering from acute malnutrition. Lake Chad has fallen victim to the process of desertification that is threatening the very existence of the peoples who live on its banks and the ecosystem of its waters. Once the fourth-largest lake in Africa, since the 1950s its surface has shrunk by 90%.