American photographer John Stanmeyer wins 2013 World Press Photo of the Year

By Daniel S Levine,

A photograph by American photographer John Stanmeyer won the prestigious World Press Photo of the Year prize. His photo shows African migrants in Djibouti, holding their cell phones up to the moon-lit night sky as they try to get better signals.

“It’s a photo that is connected to so many other stories—it opens up discussions about technology, globalization, migration, poverty, desperation, alienation, humanity. It’s a very sophisticated, powerfully nuanced image,” jury member Jillian Edelstein said at a press conference in Amsterdam Friday. “It is so subtly done, so poetic, yet instilled with meaning, conveying issues of great gravity and concern in the world today.”

According to the Associated Press, there are 19 jury members who have to pick 538 award winners in 18 categories from 100,000 submissions. Its top prize is considered a prestigious award for any photojournalist.

Stanmeyer is a member of the VII photo agency and took the winning photo for National Geographic. It shows migrants in Djibouti, where many travel on their way to Europe or the Middle East in the hope of work and a better life.

“This photo is poetic, it connects to all of us,” Stanmeyer told the AFP. “It's just people trying to call loved ones. It could be you, it could be me, it could be any one of us.”

Stanmeyer’s prize is $14,000, which he will receive during a ceremony in Amsterdam in April. You can check out the other winners at World Press Photo.org.

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