14 Feb 2018 – 13:24

Fiery Venezuela image wins AFP photographer top award nod

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 03, 2017 A demonstrator catches fire during clashes with riot police within a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. AFP / RONALDO SCHEMIDT


The Hague: A searing image of a Venezuelan protester who caught fire during clashes with riot police has won AFP photographer Ronaldo Schemidt a nomination for the World Press Photo of the Year award.

The picture by the Mexico-based photographer for Agence France-Presse is among six images taken by five photographers nominated for the prestigious annual prize, the World Press Photo Foundation in Amsterdam revealed Wednesday.

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The winner will be announced on April 12, and recognise the photographer “whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance in the last year”, it said.

The four other finalists include Patrick Brown of Panos Pictures, for his shocking shot of the bodies of drowned Rohingya refugees; Adam Ferguson of the New York Times with a sombre veiled portrait of one of the Boko Haram victims and Reuters photographer Toby Melville, with his image of a passerby comforting an injured woman after the Westminster Bridge attack in London.

Rounding out the nominees is Ivor Prickett, also from Panos Pictures, who has two of his shots taken in the Iraqi city of Mosul in the running for the prestigious title.

In this file photo taken on May 06, 2017 The Venezuelan AFP photographer RonaldoSchemidt is seen during coverage of an opposition protest in Caracas. AFP / Cristian Hernandez


“The best visual journalism is not of something, it is about something. It should matter to the people to whom it speaks,” said Lars Boering, managing director of the World Press Photo Foundation.

Schemidt, 46, is Venezuelan, although he left the country 18 years ago, and told AFP getting such “recognition is important to me.”

“It doesn’t matter whether my pictures stay on my computer or get published worldwide, but this (nomination) means people will see what’s happening” in Venezuela.

Best of visual journalism

Some 42 photographers from 22 countries have been nominated in each of the eight categories.

The winner of the World Press Photo of the Year will receive 10,000 euros in cash and a selection of Canon camera equipment.

A total of 4,548 photographers from 125 countries submitted 73,044 images, which have been judged by a panel chaired by Magdalena Herrera, director of photography for Geo France.

AFP has picked up several other nominations, including Schemidt whose powerful image is also in the spot news category; Juan Barreto, who has two pictures of the same Venezuelan protest in the spot news stories category, and Oliver Scarff running in the sports singles category with his photo of an annual event known as the the Royal Shrovetide Football match in England.

Last year’s award went to Associated Press photographer Burhan Ozbilici, for his shocking image of a Turkish policeman who assassinated the Russian ambassador at the opening of an Ankara exhibition.

But the decision set off a controversy, as it caught the exact moment of a murder.

“It was a very, very difficult decision, but in the end we felt that the picture of the year was an explosive image that really spoke to the hatred of our times,” acknowledged 2017 jury member Mary Calvert.