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Its aim being to “connect the world to the stories that matter”, the World Press Photo exhibition is a major fixture in the calendar here – 45,000 visitors attended the show in Budapest in 2018. This year, the exhibition also showcases winners from the 2019 Digital Storytelling Contest.
The subjects in the photos, and the stories they tell, range from heart-warming to heart-breaking. Meet Bob is one of the cheerier series, a photo journey of a rescued Caribbean flamingo named Bob. Injured after flying into a hotel window, Bob has since been habituated to humans, and has become an ambassador for a group called FDOC, which educates locals about protecting island wildlife.
Sarah Blesener’s series Beckon Us From Home won first place in the Long-Term Projects category, showing images side-by-side of Russian and American youth in military training activities. Students in America stand for the Pledge of Allegiance, the American flag prominent in the background. In Dmitrov, Russia, students are photographed laughing backstage, before a singing and marching competition in their school’s gymnasium.
Refugees from Central America are the focus for Pedro Pardo’s series, which won third place. Here a mother is photographed, straddling the border fence that separates Mexico and the United States, handing her young child to the father waiting below.
The World Press Photo of the Year, captured by John Moore, features another distressing image of immigrants attempting entrance into the United States. As toddler Yanela Sanchez cries, her mother is taken into custody by US border officials. The photo was taken in McAllen, Texas on 12 June.
First place in the Nature, Stories category features the ancient practice of falconry in the Arab world. This photo shows an endangered female saker falcon with her chicks in Mongolia. Also in the collection by Brent Stirton are images of the humans who care for and train these magnificent creatures.
Three models pose around curious local onlookers, in the photograph by Finbarr O’Reilly that won first place in the Portraits category. Dakar, Senegal is a growing hub of Franco-African fashion, and the annual Dakar Fashion Week includes a street show open to all, attended by thousands. Here, the models are wearing outfits by designer Adama Paris.
Finally, mention must be made of renowned Hungarian wildlife photographer Bence Máté, who abandoned a photo shoot of bears in Transylvania to capture frogs desperately suffering after having their limbs chopped off for a human delicacy. The much-acclaimed Máté won top prize in the Nature category.