The 2018 World Press Photo of the Year Contest Winners

0001_Ronaldo Schemidt_Agence France-Presse
Winner, World Press Photo of the Year: Venezuela Crisis, by Ronaldo Schemidt, Agence France-Presse. May 3, 2017: José Víctor Salazar Balza (28) catches fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolas Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela. The image also won 1st prize, Spot News single image. © Ronaldo Schemidt, Agence France-Presse

A striking image of a Venezuelan protester engulfed by flames has won the 2018 World Press Photo of the Year Contest. The annual award honors the photographer whose visual creativity and skills made a picture that captures or represents an event or issue of great journalistic importance in that year.

The jury awarded the top prize to Ronaldo Schemidt’s picture, entitled ‘Venezuela Crisis’. It shows José Víctor Salazar Balza (28) on fire amid violent clashes with riot police during a protest against President Nicolás Maduro, in Caracas, Venezuela. Salazar was set alight when the gas tank of a motorbike exploded. He survived the incident with first- and second-degree burns. 

Schemidt (b. 1971) is a staff photographer for Agence France-Presse, based in Mexico. This image also won first prize in the Spot News Single category. 

Magdalena Herrera, director of photography Geo France and chair of the jury, said: "The photo of the year has to tell an event, that is important enough, it also has to bring questions… it has to engage and has to show a point of view on what happened in the world this year." 

Jury member Whitney C. Johnson, deputy director of photography National Geographic, said: "It’s quite symbolic, actually. The man, he has a mask on his face. He’s come to sort of represent not just himself and himself on fire, but sort of this idea of Venezuela burning."

Jury member Bulent Kiliç, chief photographer Turkey Agence France-Presse, added: There is one small detail in the picture. There was a gun on the wall. It reads “paz’. It means peace. That also makes this picture strong.”

The contest is free to enter and drew entries from around the world: 4,548 photographers from 125 countries submitted 73,044 images. The judging process involved four specialized juries and a General Jury, and took place in several rounds over a three-week period in January.

The criteria for judging entries were a combination of news values, journalistic standards, and the photographer's creativity and visual skills. In the case of stories and long-term projects, the edit of the material submitted is also taken into account.

A total of 42 photographers from 22 countries were awarded in eight categories. The prize-winning photographs have been assembled into an exhibition that will travel to 100 locations in 45 countries and is expected to be seen by more than four million people. See all the winners in this Newsweek gallery

0002_Ryan M
2nd prize, Spot News single image: Car Attack, by Ryan M. Kelly, The Daily Progress. August 12, 2017: People are thrown into the air as a car plows into a group of protesters demonstrating against a Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in Virginia, USA. © Ryan M. Kelly, The Daily Progress
0003_Goran Tomasevic_Reuters
3rd prize, Spot News single image: Mideast Crisis Iraq Mosul, by Goran Tomasevic, Reuters. March 3, 2017 An Iraqi Special Forces soldier some moments after shooting dead a suspected suicide bomber, during the offensive to retake Mosul. © Goran Tomasevic, Reuters
0004_David Becker_Getty Images
1st prize, Spot News stories: Massacre in Las Vegas, by David Becker, Getty Images. October 1, 2017: People scramble for shelter after gunshots ring out at the Route 91 country music festival in Las Vegas. © David Becker, Getty Images
0005_Toby Melville_ Reuters
2nd prize, Spot News stories: Witnessing the Immediate Aftermath of an Attack in the Heart of London, by Toby Melville, Reuters. March 22, 2017: A passerby comforts an injured man lying in the road after an attack on pedestrians at Westminster Bridge in London, U.K. © Toby Melville, Reuters
0006_Juan Barreto_Agence France-Presse
3rd prize, Spot News stories: Demonstrator Catches Fire, by Juan Barreto, Agence France-Presse. May 3, 2017: 
Víctor Salazar catches fire after a motorcycle explodes, during a street protest is Caracas, Venezuela. © Juan Barreto, Agence France-Presse
0007_Neil Aldridge
1st prize, Environment single image: Waiting For Freedom, by Neil Aldridge. September 21 2017: A young southern white rhinoceros, drugged and blindfolded, is about to be released into the wild in Okavango Delta, Botswana, after its relocation from South Africa for protection from poachers. © Neil Aldridge
0008_Thomas P
2nd prize, Environment single image: Attack of the Zombie Mouse, by Thomas P. Peschak. A juvenile gray-headed albatross on Marion Island, South African Antarctic Territory, is left injured after an attack by mice from an invasive species that has begun to feed on living albatross chicks and juveniles. © Thomas P. Peschak
0009_Thomas P
3rd prize, Environment single image: March 11, 2017: A historic photograph of an African penguin colony, taken in the late 1890s, is a stark contrast to the declining numbers seen in 2017 in the same location, on Halifax Island, Namibia. The colony once numbered more than 100,000 penguins. © Thomas P. Peschak
00010_Kadir van Lohuizen_NOOR Images
1st prize, Environment stories: Wasteland, by Kadir van Lohuizen, NOOR Images. January 21, 2017 People wait to sort through waste for recyclable and saleable material, as a garbage truck arrives at the Olusosun landfill, in Lagos, Nigeria. © Kadir van Lohuizen, NOOR Images
00011_Luca Locatelli_for National Geographic
2nd prize, Environment stories: Hunger Solutions, by Luca Locatelli, for National Geographic. March 3, 2017: Agricultural greenhouses in the Westland region of the Netherlands, which with 80 percent of its cultivated land under glass is known as the country’s ‘greenhouse capital’.
 © Luca Locatelli, for National Geographic
00012_Daniel Beltra
3rd prize, Environment stories: Amazon: Paradise Threatened, by Daniel Beltrá. February 5, 2017 Scarlet ibises fly above flooded lowlands, near Bom Amigo, Amapá, Brazilian Amazon. © Daniel Beltrá