The winning image from the World Press Photo Awards 2018 shows José Victor 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.
Photographer Ronaldo Schemidt is a staff photographer for Agence France-Presse, based in Mexico. The image was selected from the six shortlisted photographs.
Chair of the jury Magdalena Herrera, director of photography for Geo France said about the image, “It’s a classical photo, but it has an instantaneous energy and dynamic. The colours, the movement, and it’s very well composed, it has strength. I got an instantaneous emotion…”
Speaking about the judging process, Herrera also 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.”
The annual contest is free to enter, drawing entries from around the world. 4,548 photographers from 125 countries submitted a total of 73,044 images this year. 42 photographers from 22 countries were awarded in eight categories.
A panel from across the globe was chosen to judge the awards, which was revealed at the Awards Show in Amsterdam. The jury is independent, and all entries were presented to them anonymously.
For his winning image, Schemidt wins €10,000, along with a selection of equipment from awards sponsor Canon.
The prize-winning photographs are assembled into an exhibition that will travel to 100 different locations in 45 countries. The exhibition is seen by 4 million people annually. The winning images will also appear in the annual yearbook, which is available in a variety of languages. The first World Press Photo Exhibition 2018 takes place in Amsterdam, before travelling on to Rome.
UK visitors can see the exhibition at Edinburgh in August, while a host of other worldwide locations can be viewed at the World Press Photo website.
Other shortlisted photographers were Patrick Brown (Australia), Adam Ferguson (Australia), Toby Melville (UK) and Ivor Prickett (Ireland).
For more information, and to see more winning images, visit the World Press Photo website.