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46 Award-Winning Photos That Show The True Power Of Photojournalism

The heart-stopping image of the assassin that killed the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, is the World Press Photo Of The Year. The image of Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, taken by The Associated Press' Istanbul-based photographer, Burhan Ozbilici, captivated the world in December, and appears to have done the same with the judges in this year's competition.

Judge Mary F. Calvert described the image as "explosive."

"It was a very very difficult decision, but in the end we felt that the picture of the year was an explosive image that really spoke to the hatred of our times," Calvert said. "Every time it came on the screen you almost had to move back because it's such an explosive image and we really felt that it epitomizes the definition of what the World Press Photo of the Year is and means."


The World Press Photo Awards recognize the best single-exposure photos taken in the previous year. This year's contest drew entries from photographers in 125 countries. They submitted 80,408 images in eight categories.


See the rest of this year's winners below.

Some images may be disturbing.

Contemporary Issues, 1st prize singles

Lone activist Ieshia Evans stands her ground while offering her hands for arrest as she is charged by riot police during a protest against police brutality outside the Baton Rouge Police Department in Louisiana, July 9, 2016. Evans, a 28-year-old Pennsylvania nurse and mother of one, traveled to Baton Rouge to protest the shooting of Alton Sterling. Sterling, 37, a black man and father of five, was shot at close range by two white police officers. The shooting, captured on a multitude of cell phone videos, aggravated the unrest coursing through the United States over the use of excessive force by police, particularly against black men.


Contemporary Issues, 2nd prize singles

A woman is supported by two men while crossing a river, as refugees attempt to reach Macedonia on a route that would bypass the border fence, on March 14, 2016. Hundreds of refugees walked out of an overcrowded camp on the Greek-Macedonian border on this day, shortly after the closure of Macedonia's borders, determined to head north despite the dangers of the crossing.

Contemporary Issues, 3rd prize singles


Two Nigerian refugees cry and embrace in a detention center for refugees in Surman, Libya Aug. 17, 2016. The detention center housed hundreds of women escaping precarious conditions. Many claimed they are regularly beaten or sexually assaulted, and received insufficient amounts of food and water at the center. Most of these women were attempting to reach Europe by being smuggled across the Mediterranean in boats setting sail from neighboring Sabratah.

Contemporary Issues, 1st prize stories


A man is treated with milk of magnesia after being pepper sprayed at the police blockade on Highway 1806 near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. Many people were injured when, with temperatures below freezing, police deployed water canons, pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets and percussion grenades.

Contemporary Issues, 2nd prize stories


Marcela, 2, observes her sisters in her mother's lap at the family's home in the rural area of Areia. Twin sisters Heloisa (left) and Heloa (right) were born seven months prior with microcephaly caused by the Zika virus.

Contemporary Issues, 3rd prize stories


Domingo, from Angola, came several years ago to Brazil in search for a better life.

Daily Life, 1st prize singles


At the hospital, Najiba holds her 2-year-old nephew Shabir, who was injured from a bomb blast in Kabul on March 29, 2016. Afghanistan has endured armed conflict since 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded. Afghan civilians are at greater risk today than at any time since Taliban rule, which ended in 2001. According to United Nations statistics, in the first half of 2016, at least 1,600 people died, and more than 3,500 people were injured. Despite billions of dollars spent by the international community to stabilize the country, Afghanistan has seen little improvement in terms of overall stability and human security.

Daily Life, 2nd prize singles


Four students of a gymnastics school in Xuzhou, China, do toe-pressure training for 30 minutes in the afternoon.

Daily Life, 3rd prize singles


An Uyghur woman carries money in her stockings, a common practice. Uygur women, while Muslim, typically do not adhere to the conservative dress code that women in neighboring countries follow.

Daily Life, 1st prize stories


A weathered barber shop in Old Havana, Cuba. In December, days after Fidel Castro's death, his ashes were taken into the countryside, on a route that retraced, in reverse, the steps of the revolution he led in 1959. Towns and villages along the route were emptied of residents as thousands tried to catch a glimpse of Castro's remains. For many, the death of Castro felt like losing a father.

Daily Life, 2nd prize stories


All people are hereditary hunters in this small settlement near Nizhnyaya Tunguska River in Siberia, Russia.

Daily Life, 3rd prize stories


School stops for potato harvest time, which all children should attend. Maria and Alexandra, in a moment of pause. The inhabitants of this secluded and silent community call it the "Isle of Salvation," hidden near a busy road that leads from Moscow to Yaroslavl, Russia. Founded in the early 1990s by an Orthodox priest, it is a unique spiritual, educational and cultural center that currently accommodates 300 boys and girls, many seen as social outcasts.

General News, 1st prize singles


The Iraqi Special Operations Forces search houses of Gogjali, an eastern district of Mosul, looking for Daesh members, equipment, and evidence on Nov. 2, 2016.

General News, 2nd prize singles


An 11-year-old girl from Nigeria (left), who said her mother died in Libya, cries next to her 10-yearold brother aboard a rescue boat, on July 28, 2016. The children had sailed for hours in an overcrowded rubber boat with other refugees during a rescue operation on the Mediterranean Sea, about 23 kilometers north of Sabratha, Libya.

General News, 3rd prize singles


A scene from Quezon City Jail, one of the Philippines' most overcrowded prisons. Conditions are getting worse as police wage an unprecedented war on crime. There are 3,800 inmates at the jail, which was built six decades ago to house 800, and they engage in a relentless contest for space. Men take turns to sleep on the cracked cement floor of an open-air basketball court, the steps of staircases, underneath beds and hammocks made out of old blankets.

General News, 1st prize stories


Heavy rain pours as police operatives investigate in an alley where Romeo Joel Torres Fontanilla, 37, was killed by two unidentified gunmen riding motorcycles in the early morning in Manila, Philippines.

General News, 2nd prize stories


A family flees the fighting in Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, as oil fields burned in Qayyara, Iraq, on Nov. 12, 2016.

General News, 3rd prize stories


Soon after he surrendered, an ISIS fighter is violently dragged by Libyan fighters affiliated with the government in Tripoli while they shout and threaten to lynch him on Dec. 5, 2016. Few minutes later, he was found in the same place shot dead multiple times.

Long-Term Projects, 1st prize


Civilians escape from a fire at a house destroyed by an air attack in Luhanskaya village, Ukraine.

Long-Term Projects, 2nd prize


Two young women, having enjoyed a drink at a party, dance together. Although unrelated men and women are forbidden to socialise, many people ignore these strictures in the privacy of their own homes.

Long-Term Projects, 3rd prize


Kelly Freeman arrives at her wedding reception in Dubois, Kansas.

Nature, 1st prize singles


A sea turtle entangled in a fishing net swims off the coast of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, on June 8, 2016. Sea turtles are considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Unattended fishing gear is responsible for many sea turtle deaths.

Nature, 2nd prize singles


A wild leopard strolls through Sanjay Gandhi National Park, a protected area in the northern part of Mumbai City, India, on Sept. 24, 2016. The leopard is on its nocturnal prowl in the adjacent human settlements in search of food, which in these areas is typically dogs or pigs.

Nature, 3rd prize singles


A carpet of monarch butterflies covers the forest floor of El Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary, in Michoacan, Mexico, on March 12, after a strong snowstorm. The storm hit the mountains of Central Mexico, creating havoc in the wintering colonies of monarch butterflies just as they were starting their migration back north to the USA and Canada.

Nature, 1st prize stories


A black rhino bull is seen dead, poached for its horns less than eight hours earlier at Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, South Africa. It is suspected that the killers came from a local community approximately 5 kilometers away, entering the park illegally, shooting the rhino at a water hole with a high-powered, silenced hunting rifle.

Nature, 2nd prize stories


Ye Ye, a 16-year-old giant panda, lounges in a massive wild enclosure at a conservation center in Wolong Nature Reserve. Her 2-year-old cub, Hua Yan ("Pretty Girl") was released into the wild after two years of "panda training." Her name, whose characters represent Japan and China, celebrates the friendship between the two nations.

Nature, 3rd prize stories


Fallow deer walk in the silence of the night.

People, 1st prize singles


Five-year-old Maha and her family fled from the village Hawija outside Mosul, Iraq, seven days earlier. The fear of so-called Islamic State and the lack of food forced them to leave their home, her mother says. Now Maha lays on a dirty mattress in the overcrowded transit center in DebagaĂŻ's refugee camp. "I do not dream and I'm not afraid of anything anymore," Maha says quietly while her mother's hand strokes her hair. After two years under Islamic State control, Iraqi and Kurdish troops launched an operation in October 2016 to retake Iraq's second-largest city and ISIS stronghold: Mosul. This was a task that would prove far more difficult than most people imagined.

People, 2nd prize singles


Hellen, 41, lives with a mental health problem. Her illness developed later in life. In developing countries, over 80 percent of people living with mental health problems do not receive treatment. In African countries, treatment often comes in the form of prayer from a pastor or traditional healer. Modern medicine is available to very few. A mental health problem often means relegation to the margins of society; life in mental health facilities often doing more harm than good, and comes attached with crippling social stigma. Cultural beliefs and associations that link mental disorders to witchcraft are deeply rooted in some communities.


People, 3rd prize singles


A woman strokes a girl's head as she rests on her lap whilst sitting on a sofa in a police station in Camaguey, Cuba, on Feb. 12, 2016, with a portrait of Fidel Castro hanging above them. Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was a Cuban revolutionary and politician who governed the Republic of Cuba as prime minister from 1959 to 1976, and then as president from 1976 to 2008.


People, 1st prize stories

Port of Progreso, where Koreans first arrived in the Yucatan peninsula. Their final stop was Merida, where they were sold off to the highest bidders as slaves.


People, 2nd prize stories

On Dec. 28 each year, the "Floured War" takes place in Ibi in the province of Alicante, Spain. During the festival, the citizens are divided into two groups: the "Enfarinat" (the floured) group simulates a coup d'etat and a second group tries to calm the rebellion. The teams play with flour, water, eggs and colored smoke bombs. The 200-year-old tradition is known as "Els Enfarinats," marking the biblical Massacre of the Innocents by King Herod.

People, 3rd prize stories


Zach Garrett, part of the U.S. archery team at the 2016 Rio Olympics, is photographed at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. This was Garrett's first Olympics.

Sports, 1st prize singles


Jockey Nina Carberry flies off her horse Sir Des Champs as they fall at The Chair fence during the Grand National steeplechase during day three of the Grand National Meeting at Aintree Racecourse on April 9th 2016 in Liverpool, England.

Sports, 2nd prize singles


Gael Monfils of France dives for a forehand in his fourth-round match against Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia, during the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park, Australia, on Jan. 25, 2016. The Australian Open holds the record for the highest attendance at a Grand Slam event.

Sports, 3rd prize singles


Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles as he looks back at his competition, whilst winning the 100-meter semifinal sprint, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bolt is regarded as the fastest human ever timed. He is the first person to hold both the 100-meter and 200-meter world records since fully automatic time became mandatory.

Sports, 1st prize stories


Muddy York Rugby Football Club players Michael Smith, left, Devin McCarney, center, and Jean Paul Markides are photographed during a rehearsal for their performance at the annual team fundraiser drag show on Saturday, Nov. 5, in Toronto. Fundraisers, along with sponsorships, play a major role for the team's season budget. Each player pays an annual fee to the club that covers the uniforms, practice facilities and Rugby Ontario fees. Muddy York helps players who can't afford the payment, with an exemption.

Sports, 2nd prize stories


The chess player concentrates just a few moments before the start of the next round of a tournament. Chess, for some, represents a world of strong emotions, adrenaline and stress. This series focuses especially on the youth tournaments held across several cities in the Czech Republic in 2016. The youth tournaments aim to motivate young people, replacing electronic devices with real-world interpersonal communication and entertainment.

Sports, 3rd prize stories


With the aid of chains purchased at the hardware store and deadlift straps, Lindsay performs cleans under the watchful eye of her coach Jenny Jeffries. "It's been an important relationship for me," says Jeffries, who was admittedly affected by her mother's disabilities following a car accident. "How could it not, seeing Lindsay doing what she's been doing her whole life."

Spot News, 1st prize singles


Lawyers help their injured colleagues after a bomb explosion in Quetta, Pakistan, on Aug. 8, 2016. Seventy people were killed when a bomb exploded outside a civil hospital, where a crowd of lawyers and journalists had gathered to mourn Bilal Anwar Kasi, a senior lawyer who had been assassinated hours earlier.

Spot News, 2nd prize singles


A Syrian girl cries out as a wounded child lies next to her at a makeshift hospital on Sept. 12. She had been injured in reported government airstrikes on the rebel-held town of Douma, east of Damascus.

Spot News, 3rd prize singles


A car bomb explodes next to Iraqi special forces armored vehicles as they advance toward Islamic State-held territory in Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. The Iraqi Special Operations Forces, also known as the Golden Division, is the Iraqi unit that leads the fight against the Islamic State with the support of the airstrikes of the Coalition Forces. They were the first forces to enter the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in November 2016.

Spot News, 1st prize stories


Gallery goers cower after Mevlut Mert Altintas shot Andrei Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, at an art gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016.

Spot News, 2nd prize stories


Syrian men carrying babies make their way through the rubble of destroyed buildings following a reported airstrike on the rebel-held Salihin neighborhood of Aleppo on Sept. 11, 2016.

Spot News, 3rd prize stories


Eritrean migrants seen cramped in the hold of a large wooden boat, which carried approximately 540 men women and children, mostly Eritreans.


46 Award-Winning Photos That Show The True Power Of Photojournalism...