Swedish photographer Paul Hansen of the “Dagens Nyheter” daily wins the World Press Photo of the Year Award at the 56th World Press Photo Contest.
Paul Hansen is a Swedish photojournalist who has been working for the daily publication “Dagens Nyheter” since 2000. His passion for photojournalism has granted him many awards, such as two first place awards from the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA), and the Photographer of the Year title by Pictures of the Year International (POYi) in 2010 and 2013, as well as Photographer of the Year in Sweden. On 15 February, one of his photographs received the grand title of World Press Photo of the Year at the 56th World Press Photo Contest.
The story behind the winning photograph
Paul Hansen took the picture on 20 November 2012, capturing a heart-breaking scene in which a father and his two children are being carried to a mosque for their burial ceremony. Suhaib Hijazi and brother Muhammad were murdered while their house was attacked by an Israeli missile in Gaza City.
The photograph shows their bodies wrapped in white funeral shrouds, as they are carried by a group of grieving men through an alley way in Gaza.
What makes the image so powerful is the variety of expressions that go from grief to anger, combined with the fragile bodies of the two victims. To make the contrast even greater, the image is bathed in the light of a sunny, otherwise beautiful weather. The mix of these antithetic elements, along with the powerful scene, is what made the jury decide upon the image as Photo of the Year, selected from numerous photographs that covered the situation in Gaza, a very important story in 2012.
“I’ve always said that a picture should engage with the head, the heart and the stomach. Some pictures engage on all three levels. This picture for us on the jury reached us on these three levels. It just leapt off the screen for us, repeatably”, said Santiago Lyon, chair of the jury and vice president and director of photography at The Associated Press.
Winner photograph chosen from over 100,000 entries.
This year’s jury was comprised of 19 members who gathered in Amsterdam from 2 to 14 February to judge the photographs entered in the competition. There were nine categories: contemporary issues, observed portraits, staged portraits, daily life, sports action, general news, sports feature, nature and spot news. Each of these categories had first, second and third prizes, plus Honorable Mentions. The grand prize, World Press Photo of the Year, granted Paul Hansen a cash prize of €10,000 and a professional DSLR camera and lens kit donated by Canon.
The winning photographs will be displayed at an exhibition that will travel through over 45 countries. The Netherlands will host the first exhibition on 27 April, in Amsterdam.