World Press Photo Awards winners announced: Over 73,000 submitted images from 125 countries


posted Friday, April 13, 2018 at 9:00 AM EDT


In the 61st annual World Press Photo Contest, Venezuelan photographer Ronaldo Schemidt took home the grand prize for his image Venezuela Crisis, which is seen below. The World Press Photo Foundation also held its 8th annual World Press Photo Digital Storytelling Contest, with nominated photographers being invited to the World Press Photo Exhibition 2018 in Amsterdam, which opens tomorrow, April 14.

Looking closer at the winning image from Schemidt, the photo also won first prize in the Spot News Single category. It shows José Victor Salazar Balza, age 28, on fire during the violent clashes in Caracas, Venezuela during protests against Venezuela's government and president Nicolás Maduro. Salazar was set on fire when a gas tank of a nearby motorbike exploded and he survived the incident with first- and second-degree burns.

3 May 2017 José Víctor Salazar Balza (28) catches fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela.

Schemidt is a staff photographer for Agence France-Presse, based in Mexico. Of his photo, jury chair and director of photography at Geo France Magdalena Herrera said, "The photo of the year has to tell an event, that is important enough, it also has to bring has to engage and has to show a point of view on what happened in the world this year. [Schemidt's photo is] a classical photo, but it has an instantaneous energy and dynamic. The colors, the movement, and it’s very well composed, it has strength. I got an instantaneous emotion…"

Jury member Whitney C. Johnson, deputy director for National Geographic, added, "It’s quite symbolic, actually. The man, he has a mask on his face. He’s come to sort of represent not just himself and himself on fire, but sort of this idea of Venezuela burning."

Many excellent photos were entered and awarded prizes. You can see a gallery of winning images by clicking here. In total, the contest saw 73,044 submissions from over 4,500 photographers from 125 different countries.