A photo of a gay couple sharing an intimate moment in St Petersburg, Russia, has been selected as the World Press Photo of the Year 2014. The winning picture is part of a larger project by Danish photographer Mads Nissen called Homophobia In Russia.
Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people is becoming increasingly difficult in Russia. Sexual minorities face legal and social discrimination, harassment and even violent hate-crime attacks from conservative religious and nationalistic groups.
World Press Photo of the Year 2014: Mads Nissen, Denmark, Scanpix/Panos Pictures. Jon and Alex, a gay couple during an intimate moment, St Petersburg, Russia. Life for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people is becoming increasingly difficult in Russia. Sexual minorities face legal and social discrimination, harassment and even violent hate-crime attacks from conservative religious and nationalistic groups. Mads Nissen, Scanpix/Panos Pictures
World Press Photo jury chair Michele McNally said: "The winning image needs to be aesthetic, to have impact, and to have the potential to become iconic. This photo is aesthetically powerful, and it has humanity."
Jury member Pamela Chen said: "I was hoping for a picture that was open and multi-layered, not only about a single event, but a global issue. Today, terrorists use graphic images for propaganda. We have to respond with something more subtle, intense and thoughtful."
The contest drew entries from around the world: 97,912 images were submitted by 5,692 press photographers, photojournalists and documentary photographers from 131 countries.
IBTimes UK presents a selection of the winners; see a full gallery at www.worldpressphoto.org/awards/2015 First Prize Spot News Category, Singles: Bulent Kilic, Turkey, Agence France-Presse. 12 March, 2014, Istanbul: Caption: A young girl is pictured after she was wounded during clashes between riot-police and protesters after the funeral of Berkin Elvan, the 15-year-old boy who died from injuries suffered during last year's anti-government protests. Riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at protesters in the capital Ankara, while in Istanbul, crowds shouting anti-government slogans lit a huge fire as they made their way to a cemetery for the burial of Berkin. Bulent Kilic, Agence France-Presse Third Prize Spot News Category, Singles: Bulent Kilic, Turkey, Agence France-Presse. October 23, 2014: Militants of Islamic State (IS) stand just before the explosion of an air strike on Tilsehir hill near the Turkish border in Sanliurfa province. Bulent Kilic, Agence France-Presse First Prize General News Category, Stories: Pete Muller, USA, Prime for National Geographic / The Washington Post. Medical staff at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone, work to escort a man in the throes of Ebola-induced delirium back into the isolation ward from which he escaped. In a state of confusion, he emerged from the isolation ward and attempted to escape over the back wall of the complex before collapsing in a convulsive state. A complete breakdown of mental facilities is a common stage of advanced Ebola. The man pictured here died shortly after this picture was taken. Pete Muller, Prime for National Geographic / The Washington Post Second Prize General News Category, Single: Massimo Sestini, Italy. Shipwrecked people are rescued aboard a boat 20 miles north of Libya by a frigate of the Italian navy on 7 June. After hundreds of men, women and children had drowned in 2013 off the coast of Sicily and Malta, the Italian government put its navy to work under a campaign called "Mare Nostrum" rescuing refugees at sea. Only in 2014, 170,081 people were rescued and taken to Italy. Massimo Sestini Second Prize Spot News Category, Stories: Jérôme Sessini, France, Magnum Photos for De Standaard. A protester calls for medical aid for a comrade shot dead, 19-21 February, Kiev, Ukraine. After several months of violence, anti-government protesters remained mobilised by holding barricades in Kiev's Independence Square, known simply as the Maidan. On Saturday, 20 February, unidentified snipers opened fire on unarmed protesters as they were advancing on Instituska Street. According to an official source, 70 protesters were shot dead. Ukrainian riot police claimed that several police officers were wounded or shot dead by snipers as well. An unofficial source said that snipers opened fire on the police and protesters at the same time in order to provoke both camps. 20 February was the bloodiest day of the Maidan protests, and two days after, President Viktor Yanukovych left the country. Jérôme Sessini, Magnum Photos for De Standaard Second Prize General News Category, Stories: Glenna Gordon, USA. School uniforms belonging to three of the missing girls are seen in Abuja, Nigeria. In her school notebook, Hauwa Nkeki wrote a letter to her brother: "Dear Brother Nkeki, Million of greetings goes to you, thousand to your friend, zero to your enemies." Hauwa is one of the nearly 300 girls who were kidnapped by the Islamic militants Boko Haram on 14 April 2014 from their school dormitory in Chibok, a remote village in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram's name translates roughly to "Western Education is Sinful." The group believes that girls shouldn't be in school and boys should only learn the Koran. Glenna Gordon First Prize General News Category, Singles: Sergei Ilnitsky, Russia, European Pressphoto Agency. 26 August, Donetsk, Ukraine: Damaged goods lie in a kitchen in downtown Donetsk. Ordinary workers, miners, teachers, pensioners, children, and elderly women and men are in the midst of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Artillery fire killed three people and wounded 10 on 26 August 2014. Sergei Ilnitsky, European Pressphoto Agency First Prize Nature Category, Stories: Anand Varma, USA, for National Geographic Magazine. When spores of the fungus land on an ant, they penetrate its exoskeleton and enter its brain, compelling the host to leave its normal habitat on the forest floor and scale a nearby tree. Filled to bursting with fungus, the dying ant fastens itself to a leaf or another surface. Fungal stalks burst from the ant's husk and rain spores onto ants below to begin the process again. Anand Varma, for National Geographic Magazine Second Prize Nature Category, Singles: Ami Vitale, USA, National Geographic. A group of young Samburu warriors encounter a rhino for the first time in their lives in Lewa Downs, Northern Kenya. Most people in Kenya never get the opportunity to see the wildlife that exists literally in their own backyard. Poaching is devastating the great animals of the African plains. Much needed attention has been focused on the plight of wildlife and the conflict between poachers and increasingly militarised wildlife rangers, but very little has been said about the indigenous communities on the frontlines of the poaching wars and the work that is being done to strengthen them. These communities hold the key to saving Africa's great animals. Ami Vitale, National Geographic First Prize Sports Category, Singles: Bao Tailiang, China, Chengdu Economic Daily. Argentina player Lionel Messi comes to face the World Cup trophy during the final celebrations at Maracana Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His team lost to Germany 1-0, after a goal by Mario Götze in extra time. Bao Tailiang, Chengdu Economic Daily Second Prize Sports Category, Singles: Al Bello, USA, Getty Images. Odell Beckham (#13) of the New York Giants makes a one-handed touchdown catch in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA. Al Bello, Getty Images First Prize Portraits Category, Singles: Raphaela Rosella, Australia, Oculi. Laurinda waits in her purple dress for the bus that will take her to Sunday School in Moree, New South Wales, Australia. She is among the many socially isolated young women in disadvantaged communities in Australia facing entrenched poverty, racism, trans-generational trauma, violence, addiction, and a range of other barriers to health and well-being. Raphaela Rosella, Oculi Third Prize Portraits Category, Stories: Paolo Verzone, Italy, Agence Vu. Cadet in the Koninklijke Militaire Academie in Breda, The Netherlands. Paolo Verzone, Agence Vu First Prize Long-Term Projects: Darcy Padilla, USA, Agence Vu. Family Love 1993-2014 – The Julie Project, 28 January 1993, San Francisco, California, USA. "I first met Julie on January 28, 1993. Julie, 18, stood in the lobby of the Ambassador Hotel, barefoot, pants unzipped, and an 8 day-old infant in her arms. She lived in San Francisco's SRO district, a neighbourhood of soup kitchens and cheap rooms. Her room was piled with clothes, overfull ashtrays and trash. She lived with Jack, father of her first baby Rachel, and who had given her AIDS. Her first memory of her mother is getting drunk with her at six and then being sexually abused by her stepfather. She ran away at 14 and became drug addict at 15. Living in alleys, crack dens, and bunked with more dirty old men than she cared to count. 'Rachel,' Julie said, 'has given me a reason to live.' For the next 21 years I photographed Julie Baird and her family's complex story of poverty, AIDS, drugs, multiple homes, relationships, births, deaths, loss and reunion." Darcy Padilla, Agence Vu Second Prize Daily Life Category, Singles: Åsa Sjöström, Sweden, Moment Agency / INSTITUTE for Socionomen / UNICEF. Twin brothers Igor and Arthur hand out chocolates to their classmates to celebrate their ninth birthday in Baroncea, Moldova. When they were two years old, their mother travelled to Moscow to work in the construction field and later died. They have no father. They are among thousands of children growing up without their parents in the Moldovan countryside. Young people have fled the country, leaving a dwindling elderly population and young children. Åsa Sjöström, Moment Agency / INSTITUTE for Socionomen / UNICEF Second Prize Daily Life Category, Stories: Sarker Protick, Bangladesh. John wears his grandson's bowler hat Story: It was in the afternoon. I was sitting on my grandpa's couch. The door was slightly open, and I saw light coming through, washed out between the white door and white walls. All of a sudden it all started making sense. I could relate what I was seeing with what I felt. John and Prova, my grandparents. Growing up, I found much love and care from them. They were young and strong. As time went by, it shaped everything in its own way. Bodies took different forms and relations went distant. Grandma's hair turned gray, the walls started peeling off and the objects were all that remained. Everything was contained into one single room. They always love the fact that I take pictures of them because then I spend more time with them, and they don't feel lonely anymore. After Prova passed away, I try to visit more so John can talk. He tells me stories of their early life, and how they met. There are so many stories. Here, life is silent, suspended. Everything is on a wait; A wait for something that I don't completely understand. Sarker Protick, Bangladesh Second Prize Contemporary Issues Category, Singles: Ronghui Chen, China, City Express. Wei, a 19-year-old Chinese worker, wearing a face mask and a Santa hat, stands next to Christmas decorations being dried in a factory in Yiwu, China, as red powder used for colouring hovers in the air. He wears six masks a day and the hat protects his hair from the red dust, which covers workers from head to toe like soot after several hours of work. Ronghui Chen, City Express Third Prize Contemporary Issues Category, Stories: Tomas van Houtryve, Belgium, VII for Harper's Magazine. Students in a schoolyard, El Dorado County, California, United States. Several thousand people have been killed by covert US drone strikes since 2004. The photographer bought his own drone, mounted a camera and travelled across the US looking for similar situations as mentioned in strike reports from Pakistan and Yemen, including weddings, funerals, and groups of people praying or exercising. He also flew his camera over settings in which drones are used to less lethal effect, such as prisons, oil fields and the US-Mexico border. Tomas van Houtryve, VII for Harper's Magazine