2013 World Press Photo
View the entire collection of winning images from the 56th World Press Photo Contest.
The winners were selected from over 100,000 images submitted to the contest. Warning: Some images contains graphic or objectionable content.
Gaza City, Palestinian Territories. Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi and his older brother Muhammad were killed when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike. Their father Fouad was also killed and their mother was put in intensive care. Fouad’s brothers carry his children to the mosque for the burial ceremony as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.
Aleppo, Syria. Opposition fighters regularly launched operations to seize suspected government informants after dark. Two informants were captured, declared guilty under interrogation, and tortured throughout the night; tired fighters had to be replaced so the torture could continue. After 48, hours the captives were released.
Gaza City, Palestinian Territories. Palestinian gunmen ride motorcycles dragging the body of a man who was killed earlier as a suspected collaborator with Israel. The man was one of six suspected collaborators who, according to witnesses, were forced by masked men to lie down in the street and were shot in the back of the head. The Hamas military wing claimed responsibility.
Gaza City, Palestinian Territories. Smoke rises after an Israeli strike.
Aleppo, Syria. A Free Syrian Army fighter prepares to fire a rocket-propelled grenade against government forces.
Aleppo, Syria. Two rebel soldiers stand guard in the Karmel Jabl neighborhood of Aleppo. The dust from more than one hundred days of shelling, bombing, and firefights hung thick in the air around them as they took turns guarding their machine-gun nests.
Idib, Syria. Aida cries while recovering from severe injuries she received when her house was shelled by the Syrian Army. Her husband and two children were fatally wounded during the shelling.
Aleppo, Syria. A severely wounded child awaits medical treatment by the small staff of doctors in one of the city's last standing hospitals, as President Bashar al-Assad's army steps up its military campaign to regain control of the city.
Heglig, Sudan. A Sudan Armed Forces soldier lies dead in a pool of oil next to a leaking oil facility. He was killed during heavy fighting with southern Sudanese SPLA troops, after they entered the northern Sudan oil town during a brief but bloody border war between the two countries.
Jerusalem, Israel. Israeli border officers pepper spray an injured Palestinian protester during clashes on Land Day outside Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City.
Zabadani, Syria. Flares seek to light up Free Syrian Army positions as government forces shell the village.
Rochester, NY, USA. Several police officers search a house for an armed suspect.
Ishinomaki, Japan. People walk down a road in a neighborhood ravaged by the tsunami.
Nairobi, Kenya. Pausing in the rain, a woman working as a trash picker at the 30-acre dump, which literally spills into households of one million people living in nearby slums, wishes she had more time to look at the books she comes across.
San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The bodies of Lesbia Altamirano and Wilmer Orbera lie on the floor of a pool hall after being attacked by unidentified masked assailants in Choloma on the outskirts of the city. A wave of violence has made Honduras among the most dangerous places on Earth, with a homicide rate roughly 20 times that of the U.S. rate, according to a 2011 United Nations report.
Barcelona, Spain. Mireia Arnau, 39, reacts behind the broken glass of her shop, stormed by demonstrators during clashes with the police at a general strike in the city.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Natalia Gonzales, a 15-year-old crack user, poses for a portrait in an area known as 'Crackland' in the Manguinhos slum.
Hanoi, Vietnam. Tran Van Chuc and Nguyen Van Dung have been together for more than one year. Vietnam has historically been unwelcoming to same-sex relationships. But its Communist government is considering recognizing same-sex marriage, a move that would make it the first Asian country to do so, despite past human rights issues and a long-standing stigma. In August 2012, the country’s first public gay pride parade took place in Hanoi.
Herat, Afghanistan. Zahra, 20, burned herself four years ago. Women are in a subordinate position in Afghan society, where conservative Islamic laws and tribal traditions dictate what they are allowed to do. Forced marriages, domestic violence, poverty, and lack of access to education are said to be some of the main reasons for self-immolation.
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, USA. Oglala youths hold an upside-down flag, an international symbol of distress and an act of defiance toward the U.S. government, at a rally to commemorate the 1975 shoot-out between American Indian Movement (AIM) activists and FBI agents. Two agents and one AIM member died; AIM's Leonard Peltier was jailed for life.
New Delhi, India. Every morning, children from nearby slums arrive in small groups, barefoot and carrying mats and brooms and start cleaning a portion of a land under a metro rail bridge, which will be their school for the rest of the morning.
Batu Sangkar, West Sumatra, Indonesia. A jockey, his feet stepped into a harness strapped to the bulls and clutching their tails, shows relief and joy at the end of a dangerous run across rice fields. The Pacu Jawi (bull race) is a popular competition at the end of harvest season keenly contested between villages.
Jiaxing, China. Young male gymnasts stretch their legs as a female gymnast jumps onstage during a warmup at a youth sports school in Zhejiang Province.
London, UK. A swimmer soars above the water in the synchronized swimming competition.
Kolesa, Czech Republic. Velká pardubická is one of the oldest and most challenging cross-country steeplechase runs in continental Europe. It has been held since 1874 in Pardubice, the Czech Republic, some 100 kilometers east of Prague. The difficulty of the 6,900-meter-long race, held in October, is rather unique for the horsemen due to the winding, deep, heavily ploughed, demanding course with equally difficult fences. It is the highpoint for any Czech jockey, who dreams if not of winning the race, then at least of riding it.
London, UK. Gold medal winner Jiyeon Kim of South Korea kisses her medal during the award ceremony of the Women's Sabre Individual Fencing.
London, UK. Andrea Baldini of Italy celebrates defeating Yuki Ota of Japan to win the gold medal match 45-39 in the Men's Foil Team Fencing finals.
Mogadishu, Somalia. Suweys at her mother’s home, four kilometers from the center of Mogadishu. In Mogadishu, the war-torn capital of Somalia, young women risk their lives to play basketball. Suweys, the 19-year-old captain of a women's basketball team, and her friends defy radical Islamist views on women's rights. They have received many death threats from not only al-Shabaab militias and radical Islamists, but some male members of their own families. " I just want to dunk," said Suweys. It is on the basketball court she feels happiest. "Basketball makes me forget all my problems.”
Tokyo, Japan. Kenji Daido The life-long discipline, harsh physical training, and preparation for the fight can explain the half-god status of Sumo in Japan today. Part of a team, the wrestlers are required to follow a strongly codified community life; the youngest execute tasks for the community and even serve the oldest.
Yangon, Myanmar. Lethwei is an unarmed Burmese martial art similar to styles of Indochinese kickboxing. Lone Chaw, 31, a three-time Myanmar National Champion and the sport’s real legend, opened a gym where he is now seeking to pass on his skills to the younger generation.
Dulombi, Guinea. Bissau Many young football players around the world touch their first ball on a field of bare dirt. Here a youth group plays on a 'football field' that was the site of military barracks and fields of the former Portuguese colonies in the country.
Jeselo, Italy. Summer holiday camping. Someone is up a little too early.
Youngstown, Ohio, USA. Every day, John McLean, 65, visits the St. Vincent DePaul Society Dining Hall, where homeless and poor people can eat a good meal, socialize and get warm. In 2011, Youngstown was named the poorest of the 100 largest cities in the country; more than one in three citizens live below the poverty line.
Rome, Italy. Mirella in the privacy of her room. Mirella, 71, spent 43 years of her life with the only person she loved, with all of life's difficulties, laughter, and beautiful moments. But over the last six years things changed: Mirella lived with her husband Luigi’s illness, Alzheimer’s, and devoted her life to him as his caregiver.
Rome, Italy. Sharon, a sex worker, on her makeshift bed. For nearly 20 years, the women of Benin City, a town in the state of Edo in the south-central part of Nigeria, have traveled to Italy to work in the sex trade. Every year, successful ones recruit younger girls to follow in their steps. Most migrant women, including those who end up in the sex industry, have made a clear decision to leave home and take their chances overseas. They are headstrong and ambitious women who migrate in order to escape conflict, persecution, environmental degradation, natural disasters, and other situations that affect their habitat and livelihood.
San Salvador, El Salvador. An anti-gang police unit searches for gang members. Many in El Salvador remain skeptical that the truce will stick, noting that young men in poor neighborhoods lack alternatives and there is no easy way to lure them off the streets.
The favelas in Rio de Janeiro, slums where drugs and guns are a daily reality, are often separated by only one street from the richest and most exclusive areas of the city. With the World Cup coming to Rio in 2014, and the Olympics in 2016, politicians are trying to clean up and pacify the favelas. New roads are being built, children play, and mothers take their children to school. Yet there remains an abundance of drugs and alcohol, conflicts between locals and the pacification police, and people who wish things would return to the way they used to be. What will happen when the big events have passed?
Belgrade, Serbia. Milan Ponjiger survived a fall from the sixth floor, but his mother and father did not. “We jumped from our balcony because we had big financial problems,” he said. The economic crisis in Serbia has been going on since early 1990, as a result of the war in the former Yugoslavia.
Soroe, Denmark. Since the age of 18, Bonnie Cleo Andersen has been working as a prostitute, a profession legal in Denmark since 1999. Now 38, she owns a house in a village where she runs a brothel by herself. She had a hard and violent childhood and has gone to prison more than once. Today, her only goal is that her children will have a better life than hers.
Boston, Massachusetts, USA. American Girl is a popular line of dolls that can be customized to look exactly like their owners. Kayla poses with her lookalike doll against a portrait of her ancestors.
Bam, Iran. Only Ra’na and Somayeh kiss each other with true love. Because of their disfiguration, others don’t like to kiss them. Somayeh Mehri, 29, and her three-year-old daughter Ra’na live in a small town in one of the poorest regions in Iran. Somayeh’s husband, Amir Afghanipour, a thief and drug addict, hit her and locked her up many times. If she followed through with plans to divorce, he threatened that she would not live her life with her face. Then one night in June 2011, he poured a bucket of acid on his wife and child while they slept. Their faces, hands, and bodies were severely burned; Somayeh lost her ability to see and Ra’ana lost one of her eyes. Somayeh still needs hundreds of surgeries and Ra’na needs more than 70. The government and villagers have paid for some of these surgeries, sometimes selling their land to pay for more operations.
Olivenza, Spain. Padilla adjusts his 'montera', or bullfighter hat, before a bullfight in a southwestern Spanish town. Juan Jose Padilla, a 38-year-old Spanish matador who is also known by his professional name of 'the Cyclone of Jerez', lost sight in one eye and has partial facial paralysis after a terrifying goring. Five months after his injury, he returned to the bullring.
Tilburg, the Netherlands. After living with his father for ten years and staying in a youth shelter, Martin, 18, returned home two years ago to live with his mother. He arrived with some clothes in a bag and no work or degree.
London, UK. Actor Daniel Kaluuya
Beijing, China. Ai Weiwei
Warsaw, Poland. Zuzia, sensitive to sunlight due to her albinism, attends a special school for partially sighted children and dreams of meeting someone like herself.
Conakry, Guinea. Boubacour Diallo, 18, tumor in his head. “I am born like this. This hump has always been there. It is God’s will. People sometimes laugh at me, but that doesn’t bother me. I am an honest Muslim. I don’t fear death.”
Khoram-Abad, Iran. In different Shiite areas, mourning for Moharam takes various forms. One of the traditional ways in Iran is 'fourthly pulpits', held every year in Lorestan province, especially in Khoram-Abad, a city 310 miles away from Tehran. In this ceremony on the ninth day of Moharam, the first and most important Shiite month, women from different classes gather barefoot - traditionally wearing black mourning clothes - with covered faces and go to 40 different pulpits called 'saqa–khaneh'. They light a candle in silence to show their respects for Imam Husain, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad who was slain in battle during the month, while waiting for him to accept their wishes.
Zhangmu, China. Wu Mingjie, 4, parents working in Guangdong Province. Across China, nearly 50 million children do not live with their parents. Nearly every young person in Zhangmu, a village near Chongqing, works far from home, and 21 children were left behind. Fu Huaying is a substitute teacher in the village. All of the children love her, and she loves them too.
Black Mountain Road, Australia. The endangered Southern Cassowary feeds on the fruit of the Blue Quandang tree. Cassowaries are a keystone species in northern Australian rainforests because of their ability to carry so many big seeds such long distances.
Solo, Indonesia. One of the monkeys trained to entertain motorists along busy intersections in the Central Java city, Mimin wears a mask made from a doll’s head. Monkeys purchased at local markets are trained for up to six months to perform tricks such as using stilts and playing the guitar, and are said to help their young owners earn up to 50,000 rupiah in a day ($5).
Bonaire, Netherlands. Antilles The eye of a Caribbean Trumpet fish (Aulostomus maculatus) refracts light into multiple colors.
Ross Sea, Antarctica. New science shows that Emperor Penguins are capable of tripling their swimming speed by releasing millions of bubbles from their feathers. These bubbles reduce the friction between their feathers and the icy seawater, allowing them to accelerate in the water. They use speeds of up to 30 kilometers per hour to avoid leopard seals and to launch themselves up onto the ice. New science shows that Emperor Penguins are capable of tripling their swimming speed by releasing millions of bubbles from their feathers. These bubbles reduce the friction between their feathers and the icy seawater, allowing them to accelerate in the water. They use speeds of up to 30 kilometers per hour to avoid leopard seals and to launch themselves up onto the ice.
Wenzhou Zoo, China. Ring-tailed Lemur
Hanifaru Bay Marine Reserve, Maldives. A whale shark breaks the surface while waiting for a tidal delivery of plankton into a large cul-de-sac in the coral reef. Once the waters turn from clear turquoise blue to cloudy green, this shark and others in the area will alternate between ram and suction feeding, to hoover and filter their planktonic food from the water column.