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Image of African migrants searching for phone signal is the best press photo of the year

“It is so subtly done, so poetic, yet instilled with meaning, conveying issues of great gravity and concern in the world today.”
Feb 14th 2014, 2:19 PM 27,303 39

imageImage: John Stanmeyer/VII Photo Agency/Originally shot for National Geographic

AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHER JOHN Stanmeyer has won the World Press Photo Contest 2013 for this image of African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture an inexpensive signal from neighboring Somalia.

Djibouti is a common stop-off point for migrants in transit from such countries as Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, seeking a better life in Europe and the Middle East. The picture also won 1st Prize in the Contemporary Issues category, and was shot for National Geographic.

“It’s a photo that is connected to so many other stories—it opens up discussions about technology, globalisation, migration, poverty, desperation, alienation, humanity,”explained on jury member. “It’s a very sophisticated, powerfully nuanced image.

It is so subtly done, so poetic, yet instilled with meaning, conveying issues of great gravity and concern in the world today.

The jury gave prizes in nine themed categories to 53 photographers of 25 nationalities from: Argentina, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA.

By the mid-January deadline, 98,671 images had been submitted by 5,754 photographers from 132 countries.

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Sinead O'Carroll

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