Panos photographer Mads Nissen has won the prestigious World Press Photo of the Year award with an image of Jon and Alex, two young gay men in St Petersburg, Russia, sharing an intimate moment. The image is part of Mads’ ongoing project about the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) people living in Russia where recent legislation has clamped down on any overt expression of peoples’ sexual orientation and violence against LGBT people has increased dramatically.
Adrian Evans, Director of Panos Pictures, says: “With this award World Press Photo recognises the importance of long form photojournalism, shining a light on issues that don’t make the front pages. We are at a point in time where the media needs photo journalists more than ever. Massive congratulations to Mads.”
WPP say: The jury of the 58th annual World Press Photo Contest has selected an image by Danish photographer Mads Nissen as the World Press Photo of the Year 2014. Nissen is a staff photographer for the Danish daily newspaper Politiken and is represented by Scanpix and Panos Pictures. The picture shows Jon and Alex, a gay couple, during an intimate moment in St Petersburg, Russia. Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people is becoming increasingly difficult in Russia. Sexual minorities face legal and social discrimination, harassment, and even violent hate-crime attacks from conservative religious and nationalistic groups.
The photo also won first prize in the Contemporary Issues category.
Comments on the winner by the jury:
Jury chair Michele McNally, director of photography and assistant managing editor of The New York Times, said: “It is an historic time for the image… the winning image needs to be aesthetic, to have impact, and to have the potential to become iconic. This photo is aesthetically powerful, and it has humanity.”
Pamela Chen commented:
“We were looking for an image that would matter tomorrow, not just today. The winning image demonstrates what a professional photographer can do in a daily life situation, setting a professional standard for story-telling in life. This is a contemporary issue, it is daily life, it is news, it has spot news resonance, it has general news resonance, but it also brings up the issue in a very deep and challenging way. It is quite universal.”
Alessia Glaviano said:
“The photo has a message about love being an answer in the context of all that is going on in the world. It is about love as a global issue, in a way that transcends homosexuality. It sends out a strong message to the world, not just about homosexuality, but about equality, about gender, about being black or white, about all of the issues related to minorities.”
View World Press Photo winning images