Photo of the Year: A Quiet, Tender Embrace

Mads Nissen took the image of gay Russian couple Alex and Jon
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2015 9:32 AM CST
Jon, 21, and Alex, 25 are a couple. Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) is becoming more and more difficult in Russia.   (World Press Photo / Mads Nissen)

(Newser) – An image that captures "a modern-day Romeo and Juliet story" has been named the World Press Photo of the Year 2014. Danish photographer Mads Nissen took the photo of gay couple Jon and Alex while in St. Petersburg; it's part of his "Homophobia in Russia" project, reports the AP. The New York Times notes this marks the second consecutive year the winner hailed from the "contemporary issues" category (last year's depicted African migrants lifting their phones skyward at night in a bid to to get a cheap signal from nearby Somalia; the year before was more wrenching). Two quotes from jurors that articulate the reasoning:

  • Alessia Glaviano: "Today, terrorists use graphic images for propaganda. We have to respond with something more subtle, intense and thoughtful."
  • Patrick Baz: "I need newcomers to understand that you don't have to go to war, be elbow to elbow with a dozen photographers doing the same thing, and complain later that no one is buying your work. Photographers can always find a story right across the street."
The competition: 97,912 photos from 5,692 photographers from 131 countries; 20% of the images were rejected from the second-to-last round of judging due to post-processing manipulation. Nissen wins a cash prize of $11,330.

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