Controversial photo of political assassination wins 2017 World Press Photo of the Year
The World Press Photo Foundation has announced the winners of the 60th annual World Press Photo Contest.
Turkish photographer Burhan Ozbilici has won the prestigious 2017 World Press Photo of the Year with a confronting image captured in the seconds after Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was assassinated at the opening of an exhibition at an art gallery in Ankara. Off-duty police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş shot and killed Karlov and wounded three other people before he was killed by officers in a shootout.
“It was a very very difficult decision, but in the end we felt that the picture of the Year was an explosive image that really spoke to the hatred of our times," explained jury member Mary F. Calvert.
"Every time it came on the screen you almost had to move back because it’s such an explosive image and we really felt that it epitomises the definition of what the World Press Photo of the Year is and means.”
Not everyone agreed with the selection, with Jury member Stuart Franklin critical of the decision in an opinion piece published in The Guardian.
“An image depicting a premeditated murder, staged at a press conference to maximise publicity, is World Press Photo of the Year,” he wrote. “Placing the photograph on this high pedestal is an invitation to those contemplating such staged spectaculars: it reaffirms the compact between martyrdom and publicity.”
Franklin, who voted against the image, wrote: “It’s a photograph of a murder, the killer and the slain, both seen in the same picture, and morally as problematic to publish as a terrorist beheading."
The 2017 contest drew entries from around the world with 5,034 photographers from 125 countries submitting 80,408 images.
The jury gave prizes in eight categories to 45 photographers from 25 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Italy, Pakistan, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Syria, New Zealand, Turkey, UK, and USA.
Australian photographers again featured prominently in the awards with Daniel Berehulak awarded first prize stories in the General News category, and Cameron Spencer awarded second prize singles in the Sports category.
The premier award carries a cash prize of 10,000 Euros and a selection of Canon camera equipment.
The prize-winning photographs are shown in an exhibition that travels to 45 countries and is seen by more than 4 million people each year.
See all the winners and awarded photos at: worldpressphoto.org