World Press Photo 2016: The world’s most compelling news stories, in pictures

A selection of images from the 2016 World Press Photo Contest.


By: /
September 12, 2016
October 7, 2015. Refugee children covered in rain capes wait in line to be registered.

Every year, the World Press Photo Contest showcases the best in photojournalism from all around the world. The selected shots capture the most relevant and remarkable news stories from the previous year, and are then organized into a traveling exhibition featured in 45 countries and seen by more than 3.5 million people.

This year’s winners, selected from 82,951 photos, provide a window into some of the biggest stories from 2015: the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, the wave of refugees flooding into Europe, and marches against racial violence in the United States, to name just a few.

The Canadian portion of the exhibition’s journey kicked off in Ottawa in July. The photographs are currently on display in Montreal (The Old Port, Marché Bonsecours), and will be featured in Toronto beginning Oct.4 and in Chicoutimi, Quebec beginning Nov. 3.

Below are 10 winners from this year’s contest, in categories ranging from Contemporary Issues, to Daily Life, to General News.  

More photos can be seen here.

(Warning: This article contains what some may consider graphic images.)

Photo of the year: Hope for a New Life

 Hope for a New Life, Warren Richardson
August 28, 2015. A baby is handed through a hole in a razor wire barrier, to a Syrian refugee who has already managed to cross the border from Serbia into Hungary, near Röszke.

Photographer: Warren Richardson, Australia
Taken: August 28, 2015, in Röszke, Hungary

A baby is passed to a fellow Syrian refugee through a hole in a razor wire fence bordering Serbia and Hungary.

Contemporary issues, 1st prize singles: Haze in China

Haze in China, Zhang Lei
December 10, 2015 A cloud of smog hangs over Tianjin, in northeastern China. Tianjin, the fourth most populous city in China, is an industrial and logistics hub. Its port forms a gateway to the national capital, Beijing.

Photographer: Zhang Lei, China, Tianjin Daily
Taken: Dec. 10, 2015, in Tianjin, China 

The smog looming over this industrial hub in northeastern China serves as a reminder of the country’s environmental concerns. The smog prompted several red alerts; people were told to remain indoors and schools advised to stop classes.

Contemporary issues, 2nd prize stories: In the Same Boat

In the Same Boat, Francesco Zizola
Migrants wrapped in emergency blankets two days after being rescued catch sight of the Italian coast for the first time; Strait of Sicily, Mediterranean Sea, 23 August 2015.

Photographer: Francesco Zizola, Italy, Noor Images
Taken: August 26, 2015, in Strait of Sicily, Mediterranean Sea

A wooden fishing vessel holding more than 500 passengers sails from Libya to Italy. While nearly 140,000 people made it to Italy from Libya in 2015, more than 2,800 drowned trying.

Contemporary issues, 3rd prize singles: March Against Police Violence

March Against Police Violence, John J. Kim
November 25, 2015 Lamon Reccord stares down a police sergeant during a march against police racial violence. The protest was one of a number that occurred throughout the year, following episodes elsewhere in the country where police were accused of using excessive force against black men, often involving fatal shootings.

Photographer: John J. Kim, the United States, Chicago Tribune
Taken: Nov. 25, 2015, in Chicago, Illinois, United States. 

A protestor stares down a police sergeant at a march against police racial violence. This protest was one of many that took place following the release of a video showing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot to death by a Chicago police officer.

Daily Life, ­3rd prize stories: Citizen Journalism in Brazil’s Favelas

Citizen Journalism in Brazil’s Favelas, Sebastián Liste
February 8, 2015. Complexo do Alemão, viewed from Papo Reto headquarters.

Photographer: Sebastián Liste, Spain, Noor Images for The New York Times Magazine
Taken: Feb. 8, 2015, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Complexo do Alemão, one of the largest urban shantytowns (favelas) in Rio, viewed from Papo Reto headquarters. Papo Reto (‘straight talk’) is a collective of favela residents who grew frustrated with the lack of traditional media coverage in their neighbourhood. They seek to fill this void by gathering and distributing images and reports via social media.

General news, ­1st prize singles: IS Fighter Treated at Kurdish Hospital

IS Fighter Treated at Kurdish Hospital, Mauricio Lima
IS Fighter Treated at Kurdish Hospital, 1 August, Hasaka, Syria.

Photographer:  Mauricio Lima, Brazil, for The New York Times    
Taken: August 1, 2015, in Al-Hasaka, Syria

A doctor rubs ointment on the burns of a 16-year-old fighter from the militant group Daesh, also known as ISIS, in front of a poster of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

People, ­1st prize singles: Waiting to Register

Waiting to Register, Matic Zorman
October 7, 2015. Refugee children covered in rain capes wait in line to be registered.

Photographer: Matic Zorman, Slovenia
Taken: Oct. 7, 2015, in Preševo, Serbia 

Refugee children waiting in line to be registered.

People,­ 3rd prize singles: Lost Family Portraits

Lost Family Portraits, Dario Mitidieri
December 15, 2015. A Syrian family in a refugee camp in the Beqaa Valley stands beside a chair representing a missing family member.

Photographer: Dario Mitidieri, Italy, for The Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD) 
Taken: Dec. 15, 2015 in Beqaa Valley, Lebanon

A family stands beside a chair representing a missing family member, in front of a black backdrop set up inside a refugee camp in Beqaa Valley, Lebanon.

Spot News,­ 3rd prize singles: Gang-­related Violence

Gang­ related Violence, Niclas Hammarström
April 4, 2015. A man lies dead after a gang shoot-out in San Pedro Sula.

Photographer: Niclas Hammarström, Sweden.
Taken: April 4, 2015, in San Pedro Sula, Honduras

A man is left dead after a gang shoot-out. Armed soldiers stand to the side looking onwards.

Spot News,­ 2nd prize singles: March Against Terrorism in Paris

March Against Terrorism in Paris, Corentin Fohlen
January 11, 2015 People demonstrate their solidarity with victims of terrorist attacks, and voice support for freedom of speech, at the end of a rally at the Place de la Nation in Paris.

Photographer: Corentin Fohlen, France
Taken: January 11, 2015, in Paris, France

Demonstrators take to the streets of Paris following the Charlie Hebdo shooting to show solidarity with the victims of terrorist attacks. The French government said the turnout was the highest on record in the country's capital.