Congratulations to John Stanmeyer, american photographer and photojournalist! His outstanding photo of African migrants is World Press Photo of The Year 2013. The silhouettes of people at the shores of Djibouti, raising their cellphones to capture a mobile signal from Somalia, give another perspective of migration in Africa. The tenous link to relatives abroad is a strong symbol – on the one hand side for the daily life of migrants, as Djibouti is one of the stop-off points for people in transit from other African countries.
But this photograph makes a visual difference: Without denying the hard facts of migration, it is in its strong and emotional impression a symbol of hope and humanity.
Update 15.2.2014 – via John Stanmeyer’s Instagram: »This photograph of Somalis trying to „catch“ a signal is an image of all of us as we stand at the crossroads of humanity, where we must ask ourselves what is truly important, demanding our collective attention in a global society where the issues of migration, borders, war, poverty, technology and communication intersect.« John Stanmeyer about his photograph.
Update 20.2.2014 – See the video and listen to John Stanmeyer’s „story of the photo“ – click on the photo above.
Talking about a different view also means to have a closer look at a second photograph of the contest – by Taslima Akther from Bangladesh: Her photo of a dead couple, captured in a collapsed garment factory at Dhaka, is among the awarded images. It is one of the most impressing, heart wrenching photos illustrating grief and dead. Having been criticized as deeply disturbing and blamed as respectless, »The Final Embrace« is a hauntingly beautiful photograph, which gives a human face to the tragedy of Dhaka.
Third of my personal favorites among the winners is Peter van Agtmael’s touching series »Healing Bobby«. Van Agtmael, Magnum photographer, portrayed Bobby Henlin, who suffered burns on more than a third of his body, when his Humvee hit an explosive device near Baghdad/Iraq.
»If I can share my story and help somebody else…I don’t care if it’s a room of 100 or 1500…if one person out of that room changes their life for the better because of my story…oh my god…I gotta keep doing this.« Bobby Henlin in the documentary film »Healing Bobby«, directed by Peter van Agtmael.