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World Press Photo Contest unveils 2023 regional winners

The World Press Photo Contest has unveiled the 2023 regional winners, with four category winners selected across six global regions.

The World Press Photo Contest adjusted the format in 2022 to include the preliminary Regional winners, which act as a finalist round before the grand prize winners are announced.

The six global regions include four categories – singles (single photo), Stories (4-10 images), Long-Term projects (24-30 images), and Open Format. Entries are allocated to a region based on where they were shot, rather than the nationality or country where the photographer is based. For example, a German photographer entering images captured in South Africa will be part of the Africa region.

Australia is part of Southeast Asia & Oceania. The five other regions are Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America, and South America.

Each region has its own jury composed of professionals from and/or working in the region with a range of expertise. ‘With the knowledge of the region that each jury member possesses, they were well equipped to judge the stories and be able to put them into a cultural, political and social context.’

Sydney Morning Herald managing photo editor, Mags King, is a juror in the World Press Photo Contest Southeast Asia & Oceania, along with four South East Asian-based professionals.

The purpose is to showcase ‘both prominent and overlooked stories’ from photographers across every inhabited continent. World Press Photo highlights this year’s regional winners as covering everything from ‘devastating documentation of the war in Ukraine and historic protests in Iran, to the realities in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and the many faces of the climate crisis in countries ranging from Morocco to Australia to Peru to Kazakhstan’.

‘To better live up to the word “World” that is part of our name, and in order to offer a more global and better geographic balance of perspectives, we changed the set up of our contest to a regional model.’ said World Press Photo executive director, Joumana El Zein Khoury.

The World Press Photo rolled out the format change after noting in 2021 that only seven percent of entries came from South America, five percent from Southeast Asia and Oceania, and three percent from Africa.

The Regional winners also serve as a feeder system into the grand prizes: the World Press Photo of the Year, Story of the Year, Long-Term Project Award, and Open Format Award.

Australian photographer, Chad Ajamian, won the Southeast Asia & Oceania Open Format category for his series, Australian Floods in Infared.

Flooding along the Hawkesbury River, a major waterway that encircles the Sydney metropolitan region, on 31 March 2022. The flood level reached an average of more than 13 meters and was the catchment’s wettest 9-day period since records began.

‘This series offers a unique perspective on the recent floods that have devastated areas in New South Wales, Australia. Aerial infrared imaging renders vegetation in pinks and reds, contrasting sharply against blues and cyans, which represent water. These images make newly flooded areas easily discernible to post-disaster emergency responders, assisting with response and recovery. The photos in this series were taken during the rounds of devastating floods in New South Wales, Australia, which forced the evacuation of 18,000 people in March 2021. The increased intensity and frequency of flooding in the region is likely an outcome of the global climate crisis.’

Image of a junction in Mogil Mogil, New South Wales, 19 April 2021. Emergency response agencies utilize infrared aerial imagery to determine the extent of damage and can also determine safe ingress routes for response teams. Photo: Chad Ajamian.


A flooded forest in Mungindi, New South Wales, on 19 April 2021. This area forms a natural basin, which can further isolate remote communities for weeks at a time, requiring emergency air supplies of food and medicine. Photo: Chad Ajamian.


A view of the Lachlan River in the town of Forbes, New South Wales, after a flood inundated the town, blocking roads and access routes and damaging crop yields of local farms. 21 November 2021. Photo: Chad Ajamian.

More than 60,000 pictures were entered into the World Press Photo Contest by 3752 photographers. The World Press Photo Contest grand prize results will be announced on April 20.

Below are the six Singles pictures in the running to win the World Press Photo of the Year. The winners’ images can be viewed here.


Sugri Zenabu, a mangazia (female community leader) of the Gambaga “witch camp”, sits encircled by residents in Gambaga, Ghana, on 27 October 2022. Zenabu shows some signs of confusion and memory loss associated with dementia. Photo: Lee-Ann Olwage.

The Big Forget
Lee-Ann Olwage, South Africa, Bob & Diane Fund, for Der Spiegel

New Capital
Nick Hannes, Belgium, Panos Pictures

Here, The Doors Don’t Know Me
Mohamed Mahdy, Egypt

Before It’s Gone
M’hammed Kilito, Morocco, VII Mentor Program/ Visura


Israeli police beat mourners accompanying the coffin of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh to her funeral, in East Jerusalem, on 13 May 2022. Police prohibited people from carrying the coffin on foot through the city, which is customary for notable deaths, as mourners chanted “We sacrifice our soul and blood for you, Shireen”. Photo: Maya Levin.

Shireen Abu Akleh’s Funeral
Maya Levin, United States, Associated Press

The Price of Peace in Afghanistan
Mads Nissen, Denmark, Politiken/Panos Pictures

Woman, Life, Freedom
Hossein Fatemi, Iran

Battered Waters
Anush Babajanyan, Armenia, VII Agency/National Geographic Society


Consoled by her partner Yevgeniy Vlasenko and her mother Lyubov, Yana Bachek cries over the body of her father Victor Gubarev (79), killed while buying bread during the shelling of Kharkiv, Ukraine, on 18 April 2022. Photo: Alkis Konstantinidis.

Yana and Victor
Alkis Konstantinidis, Greece, Reuters

The Siege of Mariupol
Evgeniy Maloletka, Ukraine, Associated Press

Cesar Dezfuli, Spain/Iran for De Volkskrant

Net-Zero Transition
Simone Tramonte, Italy

North and Central America

Alfredo, Ubaldo, and José tend beehives near Wenden in the Arizona desert, United States, on 11 March 2022. Photo: Jonas Kakó.

The Dying River
Jonas Kakó, Germany, Panos Pictures

Maria’s Journey
Carlos Barria, Argentina, Reuters

The Voice of New York is Drill
Ashley Peña, United States, for New York Magazine

Beautiful Poison
Cristopher Rogel Blanquet, Mexico, W. Eugene Smith Grant/
National System of Art Creators FONCA/Getty Images

South America

Workers deal with the environmental disaster caused by an oil spill at Repsol’s nearby La Pampilla refinery at Playa Cavero, Peru, on 21 January 2022. Photo: Musuk Nolte.

Oil Spill in Lima
Musuk Nolte, Peru/Mexico, Bertha Foundation

Alessandro Cinque, Italy, Pulitzer Center/National Geographic

Johanna Alarcón, Ecuador, Magnum Foundation/Panos Pictures

I Can’t Hear the Birds
Fabiola Ferrero, Venezuela

Southeast Asia and Oceania

Resistance fighters from the People’s Defense Forces (PDF) retreat with the body of a comrade, following a clash with the Myanmar military, in Moe Bye, Kayah (Karenni) State, Myanmar, on 21 February 2022. Myanmar authorities had sent reinforcements to the region as fighting with local opposition groups intensified. Photo: Mauk Kham Wah.

Retrieving the Dead
Mauk Kham Wah, Myanmar

Home for the Golden Gays
Hannah Reyes Morales, the Philippines, for The New York Times

Australian Floods in Infrared
Chad Ajamian, Australia

Death of a Nation
Kimberly dela Cruz, the Philippines, W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund, VII Mentor Program


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