Portraits of girls enlisted to be suicide bombers for Boko Haram won in the People/Stories Category
Another Nigerian story is among the winners. Jesco Denzel’s photo of a tourist-laden boat navigating its way through Makoko won first prize in the Contemporary (Singles) Category.
The two photos tell stories of an ailing country and the human cost of the tragedies that have dominated our news in the past few years.
The former photo, taken by Ronaldo Schmeidt of Agente France Presse, features a calm yet pressing photo of Falmata, 15, had been kidnapped by Boko Haram.
The militant group assigned her a suicide bombing mission in Maiduguri, Borno. While strapped with explosives, she found help and escaped from the group’s grip.
The Makoko story is another that has taken greater proportions in the last few years as Lagos State’s rapid expansion collects more human casualties.
The fishing village is romanticised as evidence of the tenacity and adaptability of Nigerians who have made a home in one of the least ideal conditions you will find.
However, while the boats carry white tourists in to aggrandise suffering with social media posts, the village remains threatened by the city’s desire to become what successive governors have called a ‘mega-city’ when pertinent problems like waste disposal and overcrowding persist.
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Displacement from the village will cost them their livelihood and displace a people who have lived there for centuries, but as a wise man once said, “Lagos gets rid of poverty by getting rid of the poor”.
The winners at the World Press Photo Awards were announced on Thursday, April 12, 2019, at the World Press Photo Festival in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Among the most notable photos was, a photo of José Víctor Salazar Balza, a protester who caught fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela.
Venezuelan photographer Ronaldo Schemidt of Agence France-Presse won the overall World Press Photo of the Year award for that image that has been referred to as “Burning Man”.
Astonishingly, another photo of the same protester taken at the same time by Juan Barreto, also working for Agence France-Presse, took third in the Spot News photos/story category.
The World Press Photo Awards are given out every year by the World Press Photo Foundation, a non-profit founded in 1955.