The winners of the 2022 World Press Photo Contest have just been announced, recognizing the best photojournalism and documentary photography from the past year. This year, 64,235 photos were entered into the competition by more than 4,000 photographers who were in with a chance of winning a top prize of €5,000.
Now in its 64th year, the competition attracted photographers from 130 different countries. It is regarded as one of the most prestigious photojournalism awards in the world and through powerful images shares the stories of people and places all over the world.
Canadian photographer Amber Bracken was chosen as World Press Photographer of the Year for her photo commemorating the children who died at Kamloops Residential School. These schools would often forcibly remove Indigenous people from their homes and forbid them to speak in their own language and it’s believed more than 4,100 children died from mistreatment and malnourishment. On 19 June 2021, as many as 215 unmarked graves were discovered at Kamloops in Canada and Amber’s photo shows red-dressed hangings on crosses and is a response to the disproportionate violence shown to women and children at these schools.
Rena Effendi, the global jury chair said, "It is a kind of image that sears itself into your memory, it inspired a kind of sensory reaction. I could almost hear the quietness in this photography, a quiet moment of global reckoning for the history of colonization, not only in Canada but around the world."
Another Indigenous group was the focal point for Matthew Abbott, the winner of the World Press Photo Story of the Year for his series Saving Forests with Fire. He documented how indigenous Australians strategically burn land in a practice known as cool burning. Recently, Warddeken rangers have started combining traditional methods with contemporary technology in order to prevent wildfires and decrease CO2 emissions.
The long-term project award went to Brazillian photographer Lalo de Almeida who has been documenting the exploitation of the Amazon Rainforest through deforestation, mining, infrastructural development and other natural resources. Rena Effendi described the project as portraying “something that does not just have negative effects on the local community but also globally”
The final global award was picked up by Isadora Romero from Ecuador for Blood is a Seed - a series of personal stories questioning the disappearance of seeds, forced migration, colonization and the loss of ancestral knowledge. Using expired 35mm film later drawn on by her father, Romero explores how it feels to see land and certain crops disappear.
To see the full list of winning images, head to the World Press Photo Awards 2022 website where you can discover the individual regional winners and find out more information about each project and photographer.