Photos from Iranian post-election protests win top prizes in World Press Photo Contest

World Press Photo of the Year

An image showing Iranian women shouting from a Tehran rooftop is the winner of the World Press Photo of the Year. The photo came from a series authored by Italian photojournalist Pietro Masturzo depicting the people shouting into the night in the Iranian capital days after the elections in June 2009.

A multinational jury of 19 photographers, photo editors and representatives of news agencies picked the winners of the World Press Photo Exhibition. The judging takes place at the beginning of February every year. The winners this year were announced on 12 February in Amsterdam.

Jury chair Ayperi Karabuda Ecer said of Masturzo’s picture: “The photo shows the beginning of something, the beginning of a huge story. It adds perspectives to news. It touches you both visually and emotionally, and my heart went out to it immediately.”

The World Press says it sometimes considers an image when it has played an essential role in the news reporting of the year worldwide and could not have been made by a professional photographer for special mention.

This year the jury has honoured an image from a YouTube video. The image shows the face of an Iranian woman identified as Neda Agha-Soltan lying on the ground after she was shot in the chest in the same post-election protests in Iran.

The Photo of the Year as well as other winners from contemporary news related categories in the The World Press Photo contest are on exhibit at London’s Southbank centre.

The annual contest encourages all professional photojournalists as well as magazines, newspapers and photo agencies to submit their photos taken during the past year. This year a record 101,960 images were submitted by 5,847 photographers representing 128 different nationalities.

Individual photos or series are submitted into 10 different categories and ranked first, second and third. The themes range from nature and sports to contemporary issues and people in the news. The World Press also awards a top prize of “Photo of the Year.”

The World Press Foundation began in 1955 as a non-profit organisation focused on fostering the development of photo journalism. It has become most famous for this exhibition.

The exhibition began its world tour in April and will continue until January 2011 in about 45 countries worldwide.

The exhibit will run until Sunday 5 December in the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall.

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