A ‘haunting’ image of a refugee handing a baby across the Serbia/Hungary border – captured in moonlight – was today named World Press Photo of the Year 2015.

A man passes a baby through the fence at the Serbia/Hungary border in Röszke, Hungary, 28 August 2015

© Warren Richardson

Australian photographer Warren Richardson beat a record 82,951 entries submitted by 5,775 photographers to top spot.

Explaining how he captured his winning shot, entitled ‘Hope for a New Life’, Richardson said: ‘I camped with the refugees for five days on the border.

‘A group of about 200 people arrived, and they moved under the trees along the fence line. They sent women and children, then fathers and elderly men first.

‘I must have been with this crew for about five hours and we played cat and mouse with the police the whole night.

‘I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone.’

Huang Wen, director of new media development at Xinhua News Agency, and one of the judges, said: ‘It’s a haunting image. You see the anxiousness and the tension in such a mood which is pretty different from those in-your-face images.

‘It’s subtle, and shows the emotion and the real feeling from the deep heart of a father just trying to hand over his baby to the world he was longing to be in.

‘This is really something.’

Vaughn Wallace, deputy photo editor of Al Jazeera America, also on the judging panel, said: ‘This is an incredible image from the refugee crisis of 2015.

‘It’s incredibly powerful visually, but it’s also very nuanced.

‘We’ve seen thousands of images of migrants in every form of their journey, but this image really caught my eye.

‘It causes you to stop and consider the man’s face, consider the child. You see the sharpness of the barbed wire and the hands reaching out from the darkness.

‘This isn’t the end of a journey, but the completion of one stage of a very long future. And so, for me, this had to be the photo of the year.’

‘Rigorous’ judging process
Following controversy surrounding last year’s World Press Photo contest, organisers drew up a new ‘code of ethics’ and today insisted there was a ‘transparent and rigorous verification process’.

Lars Boering, managing director of the World Press Photo Foundation, added: ‘This resulted in many more entries being checked, but fewer problems than last year being found.

‘In ten days we will be releasing a detailed technical report reviewing the verification process, and we will then lead the public conversation on these issues.’

SOME OF THE OTHER WINNING IMAGES FROM WORLD PRESS PHOTO 2015

-- AFP PICTURES OF THE YEAR 2015 -- A wounded Syrian girl looks on at a make shift hospital in the rebel-held area of Douma, east of the capital Damascus, following shelling and air raids by Syrian government forces on August 22, 2015. At least 20 civilians and wounded or trapped 200 in Douma, a monitoring group said, just six days after regime air strikes killed more than 100 people and sparked international condemnation of one of the bloodiest government attacks in Syria's war. AFP PHOTO / ABD DOUMANYA wounded Syrian girl at a makeshift hospital in Douma, Syria, 22 August 2015 © Abd Doumany

Islamic State members ask people to go back to city center at the Turkish Akcakale crossing gate in Sanliurfa province, on June 13, 2015. Turkey said it was taking measures to limit the flow of Syrian refugees onto its territory after an influx of thousands more over the last days due to fighting between Kurds and jihadists. Under an "open-door" policy, Turkey has taken in 1.8 million Syrian refugees since the conflict in Syria erupted in 2011. AFP PHOTO / BULENT KILIC / AFP / BULENT KILIC

Islamic State members ask people to go back to city centre at the Turkish Akçakale crossing gate in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, 13 June 2015
© Bulent Kilic

Furcifer balteatus, a juvenile in a recently burned landscape. Fires are often deadly for chameleons, because they can't move fast enough to escape them. The common practice of burning the landscape at the end of every dry season has affected many species of chameleons, and reduced their populations.
A juvenile Furcifer balteatus in a recently burned landscape. Fires are often deadly for chameleons, because they can’t move fast enough to escape them. The common practice of burning the landscape at the end of every dry season has affected many species of chameleons, both directly via fatalities due to burning and indirectly due to habitat loss; Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar, 16 November 2015
© Christian Ziegler

NZARA, SOUTH SUDAN: Michael Oryem, 29, is a recently defected Lord's Resistance Army fighter who's former L.R.A group is involved in the poaching of Ivory in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Garamba is a former base of operations for the LRA and a major source of financing for the notorious group. Oryem is seen with 2 of 6 ivory tusks that he hid and then led the Ugandan forces to inside the border region of the Central African Republic. He claims that the LRA killed many elephants in Garamba National Park in the DRC and that he was ordered by Joseph Kony, the LRA's notorious leader, to bring the ivory to him in Darfur, South Sudan. Ivory is now a real means of financing for the LRA, it is used for both food and weapons supplies and is traded to the Sudanese Army who transports it north to Khartoum. Oryem was abducted by the group when he was 9 and lived with them for over 17 years in the wild. He was made a commander in the group at the age of 12. The LRA is infamous for the killing and abduction of thousands of civilians across multiple countries. He defected and is now a recent new member of the Ugandan Army, UPDF, African Union force hunting the LRA.A Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighter holds two ivory tusks. Ivory is a means of financing the LRA and is used for both food and weapon supplies. Near, Sudan, 17 November 2014
© Brent Stirton

BEAVER CREEK,COLORADO,USA,08.FEB.15 - ALPINE SKIING - FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, Birds of Prey, Alpine combined, downhill, men. Image shows Ondrej Bank (CZE). Ondrej Bank (CZE) crashed during the downhill race of the alpine combined at the FIS World Champioships 2015 in Beaver Creek. Keywords: crash. Photo: GEPA pictures/ Christian WalgramCzech Republic’s Ondrej Bank crashes during the downhill race of the Alpine Combined at the FIS World Championships in Beaver Creek, Colorado, USA, on 15 February 2015
© Christian Walgram

© Anuar Patjane Floriuk - Whale Whisperers.webDivers observe and surround a humpback whale and her newborn calf whilst they swim around Roca Partida in the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico, 28 January 2015
© Anuar Patjane Floriuk

3—Gumda, Nepal. Saturday, May 09, 2015: Nepalese villagers look on as they watch a helicopter picking up a medical team, dropping aid at the edge of a makeshift landing zone on May 9, 2015 in the village of Gumda, Nepal. On the 25th of April, just before noon local time, as farmers were out in fields and people at home or work, a devastating earthquake struck Nepal, killing over 8,000 people and injuring more than 21,000 according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Homes, buildings and temples in Kathmandu were destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude quake, which left over 2.8 million people homeless, but it was the mountainous districts away from the capital that were the hardest hit. Villagers pulled the bodies of their loved ones from the rubble by hand and the wails of grieving families echoed through the mountains, as mothers were left to bury their own children. Over the following weeks and months, villagers picked through ruins desperate to recover whatever personal possessions they could find and salvage any building materials that could be reused. Despite relief teams arriving from all over the world in the days after the quake hit, thousands of residents living in remote hillside villages were left to fend for themselves, as rescuers struggled to reach all those affected. Multiple aftershocks, widespread damage and fear kept tourists away from the country known for its searing Himalayan peaks, damaging a vital climbing and trekking industry and compounding the recovery effort in the face of a disaster from which the people of Nepal continue to battle to recover.Nepalese villages watch a helicopter picking up a medical team, dropping aid at the edge of a makeshift landing zone in Gumda, Nepal, 09 May 2015
© Daniel Berehulak

8—Kathmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, April 28, 2015: Flames rise from burning funeral pyres during the cremation of earthquake victims, at the Pashupatinath temple on the banks of Bagmati river on April 28, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. On the 25th of April, just before noon local time, as farmers were out in fields and people at home or work, a devastating earthquake struck Nepal, killing over 8,000 people and injuring more than 21,000 according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Homes, buildings and temples in Kathmandu were destroyed in the 7.8 magnitude quake, which left over 2.8 million people homeless, but it was the mountainous districts away from the capital that were the hardest hit. Villagers pulled the bodies of their loved ones from the rubble by hand and the wails of grieving families echoed through the mountains, as mothers were left to bury their own children. Over the following weeks and months, villagers picked through ruins desperate to recover whatever personal possessions they could find and salvage any building materials that could be reused. Despite relief teams arriving from all over the world in the days after the quake hit, thousands of residents living in remote hillside villages were left to fend for themselves, as rescuers struggled to reach all those affected. Multiple aftershocks, widespread damage and fear kept tourists away from the country known for its searing Himalayan peaks, damaging a vital climbing and trekking industry and compounding the recovery effort in the face of a disaster from which the people of Nepal continue to battle to recover.Flames rise from burning funeral pyres during the cremation of earthquake victims at the Pashupatinath Temple on the banks of Bagmati River, Kathmandu, Nepal, 28 April 2015
© Daniel Berehulak