War, grief and hope: the stories behind the World Press Photo award-winners

Last Updated: June 20, 2024By

Capturing Life: World Press Photo Awards 2024

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Snapping shots that tug at your heartstrings, this year’s World Press Photo awards are a testament to the power of the lens. From the chaos of war-torn Gaza to the poignant struggles of dementia in Madagascar, these images speak volumes about the human experience.

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Mohammed Salem: A Glimpse of Grief

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In the midst of tragedy, Mohammed Salem’s lens freezes a moment of heartbreak. A Palestinian woman, Inas Abu Maamar, cradles her niece’s lifeless body, a victim of an Israeli missile strike in Khan Younis, Gaza. Salem, himself a Palestinian, captures not just a scene, but a profound sense of loss that echoes throughout the Gaza Strip.

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Lee-Ann Olwage: Valim-babena

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In Madagascar, dementia is not just a medical condition; it’s a family affair. Lee-Ann Olwage’s series, “Valim-babena”, delves into the daily life of “Dada Paul” and his granddaughter Odliatemix as they navigate the challenges of dementia. From getting ready for church to moments of shared tenderness, Olwage’s lens sheds light on the often-overlooked struggles of those living with dementia.

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Alejandro Cegarra: The Journey of Resilience

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Migration is more than just a physical journey; it’s a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Through Alejandro Cegarra’s lens, we witness the arduous trek of migrants from Venezuela to Mexico. Drawing from his own experiences, Cegarra’s photographs paint a vivid picture of hope amidst adversity.

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Julia Kochetova: War Is Personal

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War isn’t just about politics and power; it’s about the lives it touches. Julia Kochetova’s multimedia project, “War Is Personal”, offers a raw, unfiltered look at the human cost of the conflict in Ukraine. Through a blend of photojournalism, poetry, and music, Kochetova brings the war home, reminding us that behind every headline, there are stories waiting to be told.

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A Call for Peace

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As these images tour the globe as part of the World Press Photo exhibition, they serve as a powerful reminder of our shared humanity. Fiona Shields, head of photography at the Guardian, aptly describes these photographs as “an argument for peace”, urging us to confront the harsh realities of our world with empathy and compassion.

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In the Face of Danger

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But behind every captivating image lies a story of courage and sacrifice. This past year, journalists faced unprecedented risks, with many paying the ultimate price to shed light on the darkest corners of our world. As we marvel at these award-winning photographs, let us also remember the brave souls who risked it all to capture them.

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From the bustling streets of London to the vibrant energy of Rio de Janeiro, the World Press Photo Exhibition promises to bring these stories to life, reminding us that in an increasingly divided world, it is through the lens of empathy that we find our common ground.

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