The World Press Photo has announced the regional winners of its 2023 photo contest. Just like last year, the selection includes incredible, moving images taken in all corners of the world. Other than making me cry, these images reminded me why Ai will never replace photography and why photojournalism and documentary photography are here to stay.
This year’s winners call attention to some of the most pressing issues facing the world today. And today’s world sure is facing many issues. Out of more than 60,000 entries by 3,752 entrants from 127 countries, the jury selected 24 winners and six honorable mentions. They cover stories from the front lines of conflict, culture, identity, migration, memories of the lost past, and glimpses of near and distant futures.
“Selecting these arresting winning images from tens of thousands of entries was a huge task for our independent jurors,” said Executive Director of the World Press Photo Foundation Joumana El Zein Khoury. “All of [them] demonstrated profound care, expertise and passion in reaching their decisions, delivering a stunning and globally balanced view of the past year.”
The importance of photojournalism
“In a world where dozens of journalists are still killed in the line of duty every year, I could not stop thinking about the journeys and risks these photographers – and often, their subjects – take to bring us these images of our world. I am humbled to present this selection and honored that we will be able to bring the vital stories they tell to millions more people.” – Joumana El Zein Khoury
Jury chair, Brent Lewis, New York Times photo editor and a co-founder of Diversify Photo, described these images as I would:
“For me, I was looking for pictures that grab you, and that won’t let go. There are images here that let you understand ‘this could be you’. That I can’t get away from.”
He describes the selected images as “indicative of this moment in time,” which will “serve as historical documents of what the year was like for future generations to look back on and hopefully learn from.”
I found many of the selected images extremely moving. Some of them stopped me in my tracks and made me cry. This is the reason why I mentioned AI in the title and the introduction. While AI will surely replace humans in many jobs (maybe even the job I’m doing right now), it will never replace genuine human experience and human contact. This is something I discuss with my friends often, and it’s definitely something I see in these photos. AI art can’t make me cry, no matter how great it looks and how moving the creator’s idea is. But connecting with real people and their experiences through real images, empathizing with them… That’s irreplaceable. And it’s what photography gives us.
World Press Photo 2023 global winners announcement
Four global winners (one per category) are chosen from the regional winners, so there’s more to come from this fantastic contest. The global winners will be announced on April 20, 2023 online, and go on an exhibition in Amsterdam on April 22. After that, it will travel around the world and get on display in over 60 cities around the world (including Rome, Berlin, Barcelona, Zurich, Tel Aviv, Taipei, Singapore, Mexico City, Jakarta, Sydney, and Toronto).
I leave you now to the fantastic regional winners of the World Press Photo 2023. You’ll find more information and backstories on the contest’s website.
WARNING: there are several graphic images that some readers may find disturbing.
Singles – The Big Forget
Stories – New Capital
Long-term projects – Before It’s Gone
Open format – Here, The Doors Don’t Know Me
Singles – Shireen Abu Akleh’s Funeral
Stories – The Price of Peace in Afghanistan
Long-term projects – Battered Waters
Open format – Woman, Life, Freedom
Honorable mention – Faint Light in the Unfinished Building
Singles – Yana and Victor
Stories – The Siege of Mariupol
Long-term projects – Net-Zero Transition
Open format – Passengers
Honorable mention – War Wounds
North and Central America
Singles – The Dying River
Stories – Maria’s Journey
Long-term projects – Beautiful Poison
Open format – The Voice of New York Is Drill
Singles – Oil Spill in Lima
Stories – Alpaqueros
Long-term projects – I Can’t Hear the Birds
Open format – Shifting
Honorable mention – World Champions
Southeast Asia and Oceania
Singles – Retrieving the Dead
Stories – Home for the Golden Gays
Long-term projects – Death of a Nation
Open format – Australian Floods in Infrared
Honorable mention – Part of Me