International Business Times UK is pleased to announce that Goran Tomasevic of Reuters is our 2016 Agency Photographer of the Year. He also won our readers' poll .(Toby Melville of Reuters was placed second, and Louisa Gouliamamki of AFP third. Jack Taylor of Getty Images won Essay of the Year for his Notting Hill Carnival photos.)

The Serbian photographer, who has spent much of the last 25 years covering wars around the world, was once again right in the middle of the action all year, capturing detailed photos that go beyond the news stories to show the personalities and idiosyncrasies of the people caught up in them. He told us that he became a war photographer because war was all around him: "I became a professional photographer in Serbia and there was a conflict in my country. I started in 1991 and immediately covered the war in Yugoslavia and I just sort of continued. I still find covering war is the most challenging thing to do, so I'm still doing it."

He carried in doing it it throughout 2016, filing incredible pictures of the battle to oust Islamic State (Daesh/Isis) militants from both Sirte and Mosul.

IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
Goran Tomasevic
Goran Tomasevic
Goran Tomasevic
Mosul
Goran Tomasevic
Mosul attacks
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic

We phoned him to tell him he had won our award, and asked how he managed to get such in-your-face photos. He told us he had a lucky break in the Libyan coastal town of Sirte: he had previously met some of the fighters back in 2011, during the battle to oust Muammar Gaddafi's forces from Misrata. "Five years later," he said, "lots of the fighters from Misrata were travelling with me, and that made my assignment much easier.

"It was kind of classic rebel-style warfare – everything looks pretty much disorganised at first look, but then you realise it's not really like that. They don't wear uniforms – they would wear flip-flops on the battlefield, but they would have some chain of command and objectives. So they look funny, but they know what they're doing. And they fight. They fight quite hard," Tomasevic told us.

IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
21 July 2016: Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government fire weapons during a battle with IS fighters in SirteGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
25 July 2016: A pro-government fighter wearing flip-flops fires a mortar round towards Isis positions in SirteGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
25 July 2016: A pro-government fighter walks on a beach in Sirte during a break in the fightingGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
31 July 2016: A pro-government fighter holding a bunch of grapes fires a rife at Islamic State fighters during a battle in SirteGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
31 July 2016: Fighters of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government run for cover during a battle with Islamic State fighters in SirteGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
31 July 2016: Fighters of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government move towards Islamic State fighters positions during a battle in SirteGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
31 July 2016: A fighter of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government carries a wounded fighter during a battle with Islamic State fighters in SirteGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
2 August 2016: A fighter of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government fires a shell with a Soviet-made T-55 tank at Islamic State fighters in Sirte, LibyaGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
3 August 2016: Fighters of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government manoeuvre a Soviet-made T-55 tank on a beach after firing shells at Isis fighters in SirteGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
4 August 2016: Fighters of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government fire a rocket at Islamic State fighters in SirteGoran Tomasevic/Reuters

We asked Tomasevic what equipment he uses. "I carry the same equipment on most assignments. On a daily basis, I work with three cameras and three lenses, so that if one camera dies at least I will have two others. In Sirte, I was lucky to find people I knew from the past so they gave me a trailer where I could sleep near Sirte and I made, a base there and moved to the front line every day with a backpack and my cameras."

In a previous interview, Tomasevic had said he'd like to be in Sirte for the end of the fighting, but it dragged on for months. The city was finally liberated in early December, when Tomasevic had just finished covering another war – this time in Mosul. "Yeah, that's how it goes with news and agencies , he told us. "There are always more important stories ... stories where the pictures will be more widely published, and we have to follow that. However, I believe that sadly the Libya story is not finished and I will be back there in the future. I really hope they don't have another war – they are wonderful people, but they have all these troubles."

IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
20 October 2016: An Iraqi special forces soldier fires his rifle during clashes with Islamic State fighters in Bartella, east of MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
20 October 2016: An Iraqi special forces soldier fires a cannon at Islamic States fighters in Bartella, east of MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
22 October 2016: A Christian militiaman holds up a cross in front of Iraqi special forces soldiers in Bartella, east of MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
26 October 2016: A detained man accused of being an Islamic State fighter sits in front of newly displaced men near a checkpoint in Qayyara, east of MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
27 October 2016: An Iraqi soldier stands next to a detained man accused of being an Islamic State fighter, at a check point in Qayyara, south of MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
11 November 2016: Men drag the body of an Islamic State fighter before burying him near Karamah, south of MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
14 November 2016: Iraqi special forces soldiers fire weapons at Islamic State fighters in MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
14 November 2016: A man lifts his clothing to show an Iraqi soldier he is not armed as he crosses from the Islamic State-controlled part of Mosul into the Iraqi-controlled part of the city on Goran Tomasevic/Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
16 November 2016: A man cries over a body of a baby killed by a mortar round fired by Islamic State fighters in MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
17 November 2016: People run in panic after a coalition air strike hit Islamic State fighters' positions in the Tahrir neighbourhood of MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters

It must be nerve-wracking, being a war correspondent. Does he get scared? "Yes, I get scared sometimes. Everyone gets scared. But it's about self control and thinking on your feet and managing to think straight in a difficult situation. It's about how you handle yourself. It's very difficult to predict and yet you have to predict and you have to know how to react. There is no time for thinking just then, just time for an instant reaction. I always say it is enough to be unlucky once."

IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
19 November 2016: Iraqi special forces soldiers pose for a photograph next to the hanging body of an Islamic State fighter in MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
23 November 2016: Boys play football in front of oilfields that were set alight by fleeing Islamic State fighters in Qayyara, south of MosulGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
23 November 2016: A boy stands in front of oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters in Qayyara, south of Mosul, IraqGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
23 November 2016: A boy blackened by soot holds food left over by workers trying to extnguish oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters in Qayyara, south of MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
23 November 2016: An oil worker smokes a cigarette in front of oilfields burned by Islamic State fighters in Qayyara, south of MosulGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
25 November 2016: A statue of the Virgin Mary, damaged by Islamic State fighters, is seen at a church in Qaraqosh, east of MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
26 November 2016: A flag of Imam Hussein is seen on top of a vehicle of Iraqi special forces soldiers in MosulGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Mosul
27 November 2016: Members of an Iraqi Special forces intelligence team talk to suspected Islamic State fighters in MosulGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Mosul
27 November 2016: A woman holds up a white flag as she runs to greet her relative in MosulGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Mosul
27 November 2016: A woman holds up a white flag as she greets her relative in MosulGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Mosul
27 November 2016: Two men hold hands as they cross a street while Iraqi Special forces search for Islamic State fighters in MosulGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
Mosul
27 November 2016: Men sit on the ground as an Iraqi Special forces intelligence team check their ID cards as they search for Islamic State fighters in MosulGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
28 November 2016: Iraqi soldiers search a house during clashes with Islamic State fighters in Al-Qasar, southeast of MosulGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Mosul
29 November 2016: An Iraqi soldier uses his rifle to hold up a helmet as a decoy during clashes with Islamic State fighters in Al-Qasar, south-east of MosulGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters

Tomasevic, who is based in Nairobi, also covered various conflicts in Kenya, as well as Uganda's turbulent elections and further clashes in Iraq.

IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
15 February 2016: A protester gestures after he saw a dead protester in Kampala, during the build-up to Uganda's presidential elections. Police fought running battles with opposition supporters, raising concern over the role of the security forces in the electionGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
16 February 2016: Supporters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye ride motorbikes in front of riot police in Kampala, UgandaGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
18 February 2016: People from the Karamojong tribe wait in line to vote in front of a polling station during the presidential elections in a village near town of Kaabong in Karamoja region, UgandaGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
19 February 2016: A Ugandan soldier removes a burning barricade during clashes in KampalaGoran Tomasevic/ Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
21 February 2016: Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye speaks during a news conference at his home at the outskirts of Kampala. He was placed under house arrest after disputing the results of an election that put President Yoweri Museveni back into office for a fifth termGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
16 May 2016: Policemen beat a protester inside a building during clashes in Nairobi, KenyaGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
Goran Tomasevic
17 May 2016: A man stands in a building earmarked for demolition in the Mathare neighbourhood of Nairobi, KenyaGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
24 April 2016: A Kurdish gunman kicks a door as he searches for Shia militiamen during clashes in Tuz Khurmato, near Kirkuk in IraqGoran Tomasevic/Reuters
IBTimes photographer of the year Goran Tomasevic
24 April 2016: A Kurdish gunman looks towards Shia militiamen's positions during clashes in Tuz Khurmato, IraqGoran Tomasevic/Reuters

We asked him if he felt 2016 was a particularly violent year. He replied that from his point of view, it was a successful year as it gave him great photo opportunities, "but not as successful as 2011 in Libya and 2011 and 2012 in Syria. And other years. I have been quite busy in the last 20 years!"