During its recent gala in Amsterdam, the World Press Photo organisation announced the winners of its 61st annual photography contest. Despite fierce competition, the jury was forced to select just a handful of images from more than 73,044 photos by 4,548 photographers across 125 different countries. This year’s grand prize was awarded to Venezuelan photographer Ronaldo Schemidt, earning him the title of Press Photographer of the Year.
Taken by Schemidt for Agence France-Presse (AFP), the winning image is entitled Venezuela Crisis. It shows 28-year-old José Víctor Salazar Balza during a violent clash with anti-riot police at a protest against president Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela. The young man was set on fire after a motorbike exploded next to him. Balza survived the incident but was left with first and second degree burns covering his body.
A powerful image, this year’s finalist is, nonetheless, less controversial than 2017’s prize winner, which showed the moment an off-duty Turkish police officer shot dead the Russian Ambassador to Turkey. At the time, the organisation was accused of sensationalising an act of terror. From Myanmar to Nigeria, the rest of this year’s striking selection documents a year of shocking events around the world. You can check out some of the finalists below.