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Refugee image wins World Press Photo of the Year

23 February 20160 comments

A compelling and heart-wrenching image of a small child being passed under a barbed wire fence at the border between Serbia and Hungary has won the premier news image award for 2015.

The winning image by Australian photographer Warren Richardson beat out 82,951 other photographs and personifies the larger struggle and heartbreak of the global refugee crisis.

This haunting image by Australian photographer Warren Richardson has won the premier news image award for 2015.

This haunting image by Australian photographer Warren Richardson has won the premier news image award for 2015.

The man and child were part of a movement of Syrian refugees who were attempting to seek refuge in Hungary before a permanent, secure fence replaced the barbed wire fence on the border, according to World Press Photo.

Taken on the night of 28 August 2015, Mr Richardson told World Press Photo that he “camped with the refugees for five days on the border”.

Over 200 people arrived on the night, desperately hiding themselves under the trees along the fence line, so not to be discovered by the police, according to Mr Richardson. Women and children were sent across the border first, followed closed by fathers and elderly men, states Mr Richardson.

Francis Kohn, chair of the general jury and photo director of Agence France-Presse describes examining the photo early in the competition and knowing it “was an important one”.

The power was in the image’s simplicity, for Mr Kohn, and he claims that the photograph had “everything in there to give a strong visual of what’s happening with the refugees” by portraying the situation in a timeless fashion.

For Vaughn Wallace, deputy photo editor for Al Jazeera America, the image forces one to consider the entirety of the situation, due to the “sharpness of the barded wire and the hands reaching out from the darkness”.

Huang Wen, director of new media development at Xinhua News Agency further states the “real feeling from the deep heart of a father just trying to hand over his baby to the world he was longing to be in”.

The image, also winning first prize in the Spot News category, is further described as “haunting” by Mr Wen.

Mr Wallace claims that “we’ve seen thousands of images of migrants in every form of their journey, but this image really caught my eye… this isn’t the end of a journey, but the completion of one stage of a very long future”.

Almost 6000 photographers from 128 countries submitted images for the World Press Photo of the Year 2015.

 

Ruby Brown
AMES Australia Staff Writer