This year’s World Press Photo shows a veiled woman holding a wounded relative in her arms. It was taken by Samuel Aranda in Yemen, where violent confrontations erupted last year between supporters and detractors of President Ali Abdallah Saleh, and resulted in many wounded and dead. Demonstrators called for Saleh to step down, and since then he has left the country. Mid October, the Spanish photographer travelled there on assignment for the New York Times. “I was expecting Yemen to be like Iraq in 2004 or Pakistan or Afghanistan – where you can’t go out at night and lots of people dislike foreigners,” said Mr. Aranda. “Here it’s the opposite,” he added. “They love foreigners.” Though the woman in Aranda’s picture is veiled, and it’s impossible to see her expression, her suffering is evi
dent. This impression is largely due to the resemblance to the famous Pietà subject of Christian art, which shows Mary the mother of Jesus mourning over her dead son. “In the Western media, we seldom see veiled women in this way, in such an intimate moment. It is as if all of the events of the Arab Spring resulted in this single moment – in moments like this,” jury member Nina Berman comments.
Yuri Kozyrev’s work can also be compared to a classic painting: in March 2011, the Noor photogra pher documented Libyan rebels in the city of Ras Lanuf for the Times. His photograph is reminiscent of the 1830
painting “Liberty Leading the People” by Eugène Delacroix; and, the strong composition of Ray McManus’s sports photo has the feel of a battle scene. For the 55th time, the 19 member jury honours a total of 57 photographers from 24 nations in nine different categories. 5247 photographers from 124 countries submitted 101,254 pictures for the World Press Photo 2012 award. The winner, Samuel Aranda, receives prize money amounting to 10,000 euros.