two polar bears on arctic landscape interact with two red flags at night

Reflecting Raw Realities: World Press Photo 2020 Winners

For over six decades, the World Press Photo Foundation has changed the narrative of visual story-telling on an international scale.

Their annual contests bring the highest quality of photojournalism to a global audience, exposing the most raw realities of our ever-changing landscape.

Their 2020 Photo Contest winners present stark images that effectively connect the world to stories that matter. 

“Straight Voice” © Yasuyoshi Chiba, Japan. World Press Photo of the Year, 1st Place.

World Press Photo of the Year:

First Place

Title: Straight Voice

Photographer: Yasuyoshi Chiba (Japan)

During a blackout in Khartoum, Sudan, a young man, illuminated by mobile phones, recites protest poetry.

Fellow demonstrators chant slogans that call for civilian rule, representing the pro-democracy struggle in the country that lasted for eight months in 2019.

On August 17th, 2019, the movement was successful in signing a power-sharing agreement with the military.

World Press Photo of the Year:


Title: Nothing Personal - the Back Office of War

Photographer: Nikita Teryoshin (Russia)

Nothing Personal - the Back Office of War” © Nikita Teryoshin, Russia. World Press Photo of the Year, Nominee.

At the International Defence Exhibition and Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, a businessman locks away a pair of anti-tank grenade launchers at the end of an exhibition day.

One of the biggest arms trade-fairs in the world, defense ministers, military chiefs of staff and key government decision-makers attend this event on behalf of various Middle Eastern countries.

Hong Kong Unrest” © Nicolas Asfouri, Denmark. World Press Photo Story of the Year, Nominee.

World Press Photo Story of the Year:


Title: Hong Kong Unrest

Photographer: Nicolas Asfouri (Denmark)

On the first day police used live ammunition against demonstrators in Hong Kong, a woman holds up an umbrella as a symbol of protest.

This day, October 1st, represented the 70th anniversary of the declaration of the People’s Republic of China and was marked by movements against government proposals to amend existing legislation and allow extradition to mainland China.

World Press Photo Story of the Year:

First Place

Title: Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt

Photographer: Romain Laurendeau (France)

“Kho, the Genesis of a Revolt” © Romain Laurendeau, France. World Press Photo Story of the Year 2020.

In Algiers, Algeria, Ultra fans sing during a football match in the 5 July 1962 Stadium.

Football stadiums have become places where the Algerian youth can protest through song after the government banned street demonstrations in 2001.

For many young men in Algeria, football is a means of escape from the trials of poor living conditions in the country. 

“Lake Victoria Dying” © Frédéric Noy, France. Environment, Singles, Third Prize.

Environment, Singles:

Third Prize

Title: Lake Victoria Dying

Photographer: Frédéric Noy (France)

Before going fishing with a colleague in Murchison Bay, Uganda, a fisherman - who works illegally on Lake Victoria - refloats the boat that he keeps hidden all day.

Fishing on Lake Victoria economically supports more than 3 million people across Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Yet, the 60,000 square kilometer lake is threatened by waste-water and agricultural pollution, land clearance around the banks, and industrial exploitation, jeopardizing the livelihoods of more than 30 million people who depend on its natural resources. 

General News, Stories:

Second Prize

Title: Chile: The Rebellion Against Neoliberalism

Photographer: Fabio Bucciarelli (Italy)

“Chile: The Rebellion Against Neoliberalism” © Fabio Bucciarelli, Italy. General News, Stories, Second Prize.

During the most extensive civil unrest in Chile’s recent history, women in Santiago perform the protest song ‘Un Violador en tu Camino’ (A Rapist in your Path), that came to be used across South America after going viral.

Chilean women used demonstrations against economic inequality to draw attention to human-rights and sexual offences against female protestors by security forces.

“Japan’s Veteran Rugby Players” © Kim Kyung-Hoon, South Korea. Sports, Stories, Third Prize.

Sports, Stories:

Third Prize

Title: Japan’s Veteran Rugby Players

Photographer: Kim Kyung-Hoon (South Korea)

At 86 years old, Ryuichi Nagayama (center) is Fuwaku Rugby Club’s oldest active player. He is pictured here practicing before a match in Kumagaya, Japan.

Founded in 1948, Tokyo’s Fuwaku Rugby Club is one of around 150 Japanese clubs that host competitive, full-contact matches for players over the age of 40.

Japan’s enthusiasm for this sport was heightened as the country held the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with match attendance breaking previous World Cup records. 

Portraits, Singles:

Second Prize

Title: Black Drag Magic - Portrait of a Drag Artist and Activist 

Photographer: Lee-Ann Olwage (South Africa)

“Black Drag Magic—Portrait of a Drag Artist and Activist” © Lee-Ann Olwage, South Africa. Portraits, Singles, 2nd Place.

Drag artist and activist, Belinda Quqamba Ka-Fassie, poses at a shisanyama - a community space where women cook and sell meat - in Khayelitsha, near Cape Town, South Africa.

Collaborating to decolonize drag culture and find a particularly African expression of drag, Belinda, the photographer, and other black, queer, gender non-conforming and transgender people worked on a project to combat community-wide discrimination surrounding this topic.

“Pangolins in Crisis” © Brent Stirton, South Africa. Nature, Stories, 2nd Place.

Nature, Stories:

Second Place

Title: Pangolins in Crisis

Photographer: Brent Stirton (South Africa)

On the outskirts of Guangzhou, China, a man reaches for a pangolin that is about to be prepared for a meal.

Pangolins, scaly-skinned mammals that are sometimes mistaken for reptiles, range through Asia and parts of Africa.

With at least one million estimated to have been poached in the last ten years, pangolins are currently the most illegally traded animals in the world.

Contemporary Issues, Singles:

Second Place

Title: Bushfire Evacuation Center 

Photographer: Sean Davey (Australia) 

“Bushfire Evacuation Center” © Sean Davey, Australia. Contemporary Issues, Singles, 2nd Place

At a temporary evacuation center in Bega, New South Wales, Australia, Abigail Ferris (in mask) plays with her friends.

After being evacuated from a nearby camping spot on New Year’s Eve, Abigail and her family were one of the thousands of families impacted by the devastating bushfires that the region suffered this season.

Click below to see previous winners of the World Press Photo competition. 

*partially sourced @


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