The votes are in, and the World Press Photo of the Year 2011 award goes to Samuel Aranda from Spain.
Aranda, who was on assignment for The New York Times in Yemen, shot his image of a woman holding a wounded relative in her arms during clashes in Sanaa, Yemen, on 15 October 2011. The woman was inside a mosque being used as a field hospital by demonstrators who were clashing against the rule of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Some 5,247 photographers from 124 countries entered the World Press Photo 2011 competition, now in its 55th year, submitting a staggering 101,254 pictures by the mid-January deadline.
The World Press Photo 2011 jury gave prizes in nine themed categories to 57 photographers of 24 nationalities, hailing from Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the USA.
Jury member Koyo Kouoh said of Aranda’s picture: “It is a photo that speaks for the entire region. It stands for Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, for all that happened in the Arab Spring. But it shows a private, intimate side of what went on. And it shows the role that women played, not only as care-givers, but as active people in the movement.”
Fellow World Press Photo 2011 jury member Aidan Sullivan added: “The winning photo shows a poignant, compassionate moment, the human consequence of an enormous event, an event that is still going on. We might never know who this woman is, cradling an injured relative, but together they become a living image of the courage of ordinary people that helped create an important chapter in the history of the Middle East.”
The judging is conducted at the World Press Photo office, where all entries are presented anonymously to the jury, who discuss and debates their merits over a period of two weeks. The jury operates independently of the World Press Photo organisation.
The World Press Photo contest is open to professional press photographers, photojournalists and documentary photographers.