World Press photo win

15 February 2014

Competitions, Industry news

VII Photo has announced that John Stanmeyer, a founding member of the VII Photo agency, has been awarded the World Press Photo of the Year 2013. The winning photo, announced in Amsterdam last week, depicts African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an inexpensive signal from neighboring Somalia.

The image — chosen from among more than 98,000 photos by an international jury of 19 professionals — was also awarded first prize in the category Contemporary Issues in this year's contest. It was shot for National Geographic in February 2013 and published in December 2013 as part of the feature story "Out of Eden." Click here to read more on National Geographic's website.

"This image represents me, you, all of us, trying to reconnect back home to our loved amidst this perpetual movement of global migration we are facing. In this case, it's connected to poverty and migrants' need for opportunity and hope," said Stanmeyer.

Two other VII photographers — Marcus Bleasdale and Maciek Nabrdalik — were also awarded World Press Photo prizes in this year's contest. Marcus won 3rd Prize, Stories, Contemporary Issues for his whaling series 'Last of the Vikings.' Maciek won 2nd Prize, Singles, Contemporary Issues for a single image titled 'Nicolette at the Orphanage.' Their winning images can be seen below.

"John is one of the most passionate and detail-oriented photographers that I know," said Nick Papadopoulos, VII's interim CEO. "His commitment to stories, to important issues that need to be told, is absolutely unparalleled and is one of the leading traits of the VII photographers. I am personally honored to be working with such inspiring and passionate photographers, who have collectively won hundreds of top awards, and continue to lead the pack."


Jillian Edelstein, jury member from the UK/South Africa said: "It's a photo that is connected to so many other stories—it opens up discussions about technology, globalization, migration, poverty, desperation, alienation, humanity. It's a very sophisticated, powerfully nuanced image. It is so subtly done, so poetic, yet instilled with meaning, conveying issues of great gravity and concern in the world today."

Susan Linfield, jury member from the USA said: "What we're looking for in the winning image is the same quality you would look for in a great film or in literature—the impression that it exists on more than one level, that it makes you think about things you haven't thought about. You begin to explore the layers not only of what's there, but of what isn't there. So many pictures of migrants show them as bedraggled and pathetic…but this photo is not so much romantic, as dignified."

David Guttenfelder, jury member from the USA said: "The photo is like a message in a bottle, it is one that will last for all of us. People will bring their own life experiences to it as they stand in front of it."

The full set of winners and their images is available here.