2014 World Press Photo Award winners
After last year's controversy over the winner of the World Press Photo Award all eyes were on this year's selection. Here are some of 2014's winners.
This year's winning photograph by John Stanmeyer has been widely celebrated as a welcome departure from the usual types of images that have been awarded the World Press Photo's ultimate honour. Stanmeyer's image was selected from among 98 671 images submitted by 5 754 photographers from 132 countries.
About the image of African migrants on the shore of Djibouti raising their phones in an attempt to capture signal from neighbouring Somalia, managing director Michiel Munneke said it was an entry that "represents an event, situation or issue of great journalistic importance in that year, and demonstrates an outstanding level of visual perception and creativity."
But concerns arose over the possible conflict of interest in awarding the prize to Stanmeyer given that he and general jury chair Gary Knight are two of the founding members of VII Photo Agency. Among other issues pointed out, their business stands to profit from the decision of the jury led by Knight.
Knight apparently requested to be removed from the panel in the final judging round because of his relationship with Stanmeyer, but World Press Photo rules did not allow for it. This decision has come under fire.
In response to all the criticism David Campbell, secretary to the contest jury, published an article detailing the judging process, thereby making the selection process more transparent than it has ever been in the competition's 57-year history.
Speaking to The British Journal of Photography, David Guttenfelder, a photographer with the Associated Press and also a jury member, said: "The photo is like a message in a bottle; it is one that will last. People will bring their own life experiences to it as they stand in front of it."
In addition to these concerns, the World Press Photo judging panel had to be very careful about confirming the authenticity of the submissions. In February 2013, last year's winner, Paul Hansen, came under fire after allegations surfaced that his image was significantly altered.
This year, the judging panel tightened the rules and an independent digital photography expert from the Netherlands examined all entries that made it to the final round before the jury proceeded to deliberate. This resulted in a staggering 8% of the entries that made it through to the fourth round of the competition being disqualified. "On the one hand, I was really distressed, especially because so much of the post-processing that made these images ineligible was absolutely unnecessary. It was materially minute but ethically significant … It was stupidity," said Knight.
See all the award-winning images here.