15 Feb 2014

Moonlit image wins World Press Photo

7:11 am on 15 February 2014

A moonlit image of migrants trying to get mobile phone signals on a Djibouti beach has won the World Press Photo of the Year award for US photographer John Stanmeyer of the VII Photo Agency.

A jury of 19 awarded the prize for the haunting photograph of African migrants holding their phones to the sky to capture a signal so they can call home, while en route to Europe.

Djibouti is a common stop-off point for migrants in transit from such countries as Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, seeking a better life in Europe and the Middle East.

The picture also won 1st Prize in the Contemporary Issues category and was shot for National Geographic.

"So many pictures of migrants show them as bedraggled and pathetic... but this photo is not so much romantic, as dignified," jury member Susan Linfield said.

"It's a photo that is connected to so many other stories - it opens up discussions about technology, globalisation, migration, poverty, desperation, alienation, humanity," said fellow jury member Jillian Edelstein.

The World Press Photo of the Year 2013:

The World Press Photo of the Year 2013: African migrants on the shore of Djibouti city at night, raising their phones in an attempt to capture a signal from Somalia. Photo: AFP / John Stanmeyer - VII Photo Agency

The World Press Photo jury, presided over by VII Agency founder photographer Gary Knight, spent two weeks judging photos in Amsterdam.

Almost 100,000 images were submitted by 5754 photographers from 132 countries.

Stanmeyer will be awarded a cash prize of 10,000 euros and a camera at a ceremony in Amsterdam in April.