World Press' Photo of Year Is Heartbreaking

AP photog wins for picture of pregnant woman being carried out of shelled Ukraine hospital
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 20, 2023 4:31 AM CDT
Updated Apr 20, 2023 7:21 AM CDT
This Is the World Press Photo of the Year
Part of a series titled Battered Waters that won the World Press Photo Long Term Projects award by photographer Anush Babajanyan for National Geographic Society; it shows visitors photographing the Rogun Dam, being built in Tajikistan to provide hydroelectric power, on 22 March 2022.   (Anush Babajanyan, VII Photo for National Geographic Society/World Press Photo via AP)

AP photographer Evgeniy Maloletka won the World Press Photo of the year on Thursday for his harrowing image of emergency workers carrying a pregnant woman through the shattered grounds of a maternity hospital in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol in the chaotic aftermath of a Russian attack. The Ukrainian photographer’s March 9, 2022, image of the fatally wounded woman, her left hand on her bloodied lower left abdomen, drove home the horror of Russia’s brutal onslaught in the eastern port city early in the war. The 32-year-old woman, Iryna Kalinina, died of her injuries a half-hour after giving birth to the lifeless body of her baby named Miron. “For me, it is a moment that all the time I want to forget, but I cannot. The story will always stay with me,” Maloletka tells the AP.

“Evgeniy Maloletka captured one of the most defining images of the Russia-Ukraine war amid incredibly challenging circumstances. Without his unflinching courage, little would be known of one of Russia’s most brutal attacks,” said AP Senior VP and Executive Editor Julie Pace. AP Director of Photography J. David Ake added: “It’s not often that a single image becomes seared into the world’s collective memory.” Maloletka and AP video journalist Mystyslav Chernov, who also is Ukrainian, arrived in Mariupol just as Russia’s Feb. 24, 2022, invasion sparked Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II. They stayed for more than two weeks, chronicling the Russian military pounding the city and hitting hospitals and other civilian infrastructure. The pair were the only international journalists left in the city when they finally managed a risky escape.

Maloletka said he and Chernov believed it was important to remain in Mariupol, despite the danger, "to collect the people’s voices and collect their emotions and to show them all around the world.” A series of photos by Maloletka from besieged Mariupol also won the European regional World Press Photo Stories award that was announced in March. Maloletka’s images from Mariupol also have been honored with awards including the Knight International Journalism Award, the Visa d’or News Award, and the Prix Bayeux Calvados-Normandie. "I think it is really important that specifically a Ukrainian won the contest showing the atrocities against civilians by Russian forces in Ukraine," he said. "It is important that all the pictures we were doing in Mariupol became evidence of a war crime against Ukrainians."

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Other global winners:

  • Mads Nissen of Denmark won Photo Story of the Year for his series for Politiken and Panos Pictures, titled “The Price of Peace in Afghanistan."
  • Anush Babajanyan of Armenia won the Long-Term Project award for “Battered Waters” for VII Photo and National Geographic Society.
  • Egyptian photographer Mohamed Mahdy won the Open Format award for “Here, The Doors Don’t Know Me.”

The four winners were selected from more than 60,000 entries submitted by 3,752 entrants.

(More photography stories.)

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