The refugee crisis dominated the submissions with image after image of refugees reaching southern European shores, especially in Greece, refugees walking in groups small and large, crowds of refugees blocked at the borders, crammed into trains, clashing with police. The war in Syria, the Paris attacks in January and November, the devastating earthquake in Nepal and the clashes in the United States set off by police shootings – were all contenders in one of the world's most prestigious photo contests.
The jury of the 59th annual World Press Photo Contest selected an image by Australian photographer Warren Richardson as the World Press Photo of the Year 2015. Richardson’s picture – which also won first prize in the Spot News category – shows refugees crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary, near Horgoš in Serbia and Röszke in Hungary. Taken at night on 28 August 2015, this man and child were part of the movement of people seeking to cross into Hungary before a secure fence on the border was completed.
Jury chair Francis Kohn, photo director of Agence France-Presse, said about the image: "Early on we looked at this photo and we knew it was an important one. It had such power because of its simplicity, especially the symbolism of the barbed wire. We thought it had almost everything in there to give a strong visual of what’s happening with the refugees. I think it’s a very classical photo, and at the same time, it’s timeless. It portrays a situation, but the way it’s done is classic in the greatest sense of the word."
General jury member and deputy photo editor Al Jazeera America Vaughn Wallace 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."
Here, we share some of the winners. See the full list on the World Press Photo website. A warning: some images may be disturbing.