Press photo award for 'haunting' image of migrants

A haunting image of migrants passing a baby underneath a razor-wire fence on the Serbian-Hungarian border won the prestigious World Press Photo award for 2015 — even though it had never been published.

Australian freelance photographer Warren Richardson made the moonlit image on August 28 and said he offered it to two news organisations, neither of which responded.

Jury members, however, saw something special in the black-and-white image. Vaughn Wallace, deputy photo editor for Al Jazeera America, said the image is “incredibly powerful visually, but it’s also very nuanced.”

The photo, he said, “causes you to stop and consider the man’s face, consider the child. You see the sharpness of the barbed wire and the hands reaching out from the darkness.”

Refugees arriving by boat near the village of Skala on Lesbos, Greece
Refugees arriving by boat near the village of Skala on Lesbos, Greece

Richardson said he did not carry any equipment to transmit his images while he spent days camping near the Hungarian border crossing at Roszke to document the passage of the migrants fleeing conflict, poverty and persecution in the Middle East and Africa. He said the delay in sending out his images from his home in Budapest may have been to blame for the lack of interest.

The image won top prize in the contest, which drew 82,951 images from 5,775 photographers. It also won the Spot News Singles category.

Several winners in the news categories focused on the migrant crisis and one of its root causes, the devastating civil war in Syria.

This shot of Colima volcano in Mexico exploding with lightning, ballistic projectiles and incandescent rockfalls, was one of the winners at the World Press Photo awards, as were the others on this page and on today’s back page
This shot of Colima volcano in Mexico exploding with lightning, ballistic projectiles and incandescent rockfalls, was one of the winners at the World Press Photo awards, as were the others on this page and on today’s back page

But the contest provided an eclectic mix of other subjects ranging from wrestlers in Senegal to ice hockey players in Russia, and from people diving with whales to orangutans climbing trees.

And Japanese photographer Kazuma Obara won the People Stories category for a series of pictures shot on old Ukrainian film depicting the life of a woman affected by radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

  • Also see page 38.


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