A harrowing image of the refugee crisis has been named World Press Photo of the Year



Warning: Some people may find some of the photos in this article distressing

An image of a man passing a baby under a barbed wire fence on the Serbia-Hungary border, lit only by moonlight for fear of alerting border police with a flash, has won the World Press Photo of the Year, it was announced on Thursday.


‘Hope for a New Life’ by Australian freelance photographer Warren Richardson, was taken in August, on the border between Horgoš in Serbia and Röszke in Hungary.

He took the picture as part of a series called Refugee Crisis Hungary, shot while camping with around 200 refugees on the border for five days.

We played cat and mouse with the police the whole night. I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone.

Vaughn Wallace, deputy photo editor at Al Jazeera America and one of the panel of judges, said the picture stood out among the thousands that have been taken of Europe’s refugee crisis.

It’s incredibly powerful visually, but it’s also very nuanced… It causes you to stop and consider the man’s face, consider the child.

You see the sharpness of the barbed wire and the hands reaching out from the darkness. This isn’t the end of a journey, but the completion of one stage of a very long future.

The other section winners are:

General News, first prize, stories – Sergey Ponomarev

1Refugees arrive by boat near the village of Skala on Lesbos, Greece. Photograph: Sergey Ponomarev/World Press Photo 2016

Daily Life, first prize, singles – Kevin Frayer


Chinese men pull a tricycle in a neighbourhood next to a coal-fired power plant in Shanxi, China. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images/World Press Photo 2016

Contemporary Issues, first prize, stories – Mário Cruz


Abdoulaye, 15, is a Talibe boy imprisoned in a room with security bars to keep him from running away. Talibes are boys who live at Islamic schools known as Daaras in Senegal. Under the pretext of receiving a Quranic education, they are forced to beg in the streets while their religious guardians collect their earnings. They often live in squalor and are abused and beaten. Photograph: Mário Cruz/New York Times/World Press Photo 2016

General News, first prize singles – Mauricio Lima


A doctor rubs ointment on the burns of Jacob, a 16-year-old Islamic State fighter, in front of a poster of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, at a YPG. hospital compound on the outskirts of Hasaka, Syria. Photograph: Mauricio Lima/New York Times/World Press Photo 2016

Long-Term Projects, first prize stories – Mary F Calvert


Assault in America’s Military – Series portraying women who have been raped or sexually assaulted during their service with the US Armed Forces. Photograph: Mary F. Calvert/World Press Photo 2016

Nature, first prize, singles – Rohan Kelly


Sunbather oblivious to the ominous shelf cloud approaching on Bondi beach, Australia. Photograph: Rohan Kelly/World Press Photo 2016.

Contemporary issues, first prize, singles – Zhang Lei


Tianjin, a city in northern China, shrouded in haze. Photograph: Zhang Lei/World Press Photo 2016.

People, first prize, singles – Matic Zorman


A child is covered with a raincoat while she waits in line to register at a refugee camp in Preševo, Serbia. Photograph: Matic Zorman/World Press Photo 2016.

You can view all the winning entries in the World Press Photo gallery here.

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