Last week, the World Press Photo shared with us its stunning Global Contest winners. And now, the overall winner has been announced. The World Press Photo of the Year for 2022 was taken by Amber Bracken, showing red dresses hung on crosses along a roadside to commemorate children who died at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia.
Other than the heartbreaking winning photo and the story behind it, the World Press Photo Contest has announced category winners in Stories, Long-Term Projects, and Open Format categories. So, let us share them with you and tell you more about them.
The World Press Photo recognizes the best photojournalism and documentary photography of the previous year. This year, the winners were chosen out of 64,823 photos and open format entries, by 4,066 photographers from 130 countries.
Amber Bracken from Canada is the 2022 overall winner, with her photo Kamloops Residential School chosen as the best in the Singles category. She took it at Kamloops Indian Residential School, an institution created to assimilate Indigenous children. The photo was taken after as many as 215 unmarked graves were found at the site in June 2021.
“It is a kind of image that sears itself into your memory, it inspires a kind of sensory reaction,” said Global jury chair Rena Effendi. “I could almost hear the quietness in this photograph, a quiet moment of global reckoning for the history of colonization, not only in Canada but around the world.”
World Press Photo Story of the Year was created by Matthew Abbott from Australia. His series Saving Forests with Fire tells you a story of Indigenous Australians who strategically burn land in a practice known as cool burning. The fires move slowly, burn only the undergrowth, and remove the build-up of fuel that feeds bigger blazes. The Nawarddeken people of West Arnhem Land, Australia, have been practicing controlled cool burns for tens of thousands of years and see fire as a tool to manage their 1.39-million-hectare homeland. Warddeken rangers combine traditional knowledge with contemporary technologies to prevent wildfires, thereby decreasing climate-heating CO2.
Lalo de Almeida from Brazil has received the World Press Photo Long-Term Project Award. His long-term project Amazonian Dystopia shows the devastating destruction of the Brazilian Amazon. It includes deforestation, mining, infrastructural development, and exploitation of other natural resources. Since 2019, the devastation of the Brazilian Amazon has been running at its fastest pace in a decade. An area of extraordinary biodiversity, the Amazon is also home to more than 350 different Indigenous groups. The exploitation of the Amazon has a number of social impacts, particularly on Indigenous communities who are forced to deal with significant degradation of their environment, as well as their way of life.
Last but definitely not least, we have World Press Photo Open Format Award. This year’s winner is Isadora Romero from Ecuador with her project Blood is a Seed (La Sangre Es Una Semilla). Through personal stories, this project questions the disappearance of seeds, forced migration, colonization, and the subsequent loss of ancestral knowledge. The video is composed of digital and film photographs, some of which were taken on expired 35mm film and later drawn on by Romero’s father. On a journey to their ancestral village of Une, Cundinamarca, Colombia, Romero explores forgotten memories of the land and crops and learns about her grandfather and great-grandmother who were ‘seed guardians’ and cultivated several potato varieties, only two of which still mainly exist.
All of the awarded photos, and much more, will be available in redesigned World Press Photo Yearbook 2022. You will also be able to see the photos live at the World Press Photo Exhibition 2022. It will premiere at De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on 15 April before starting its global tour. Upcoming exhibitions are confirmed and added to the calendar throughout the year, and the 2021 exhibition was shown at 66 locations in 29 countries.