The Venezuelan photographer Ronaldo Schemidt of Agence France-Presse received the World Press Photo of the Year award for his image of a man ablaze during a violent protest in Caracas. In an unusual twist, Juan Barreto, also working for Agence France-Presse, took third in the Spot News photos/story category for images made at the same time of the same protester on fire.
The award winners were announced today at the World Press Photo Festival in Amsterdam. The other finalists for the photo of the year award included Ivor Prickett and Adam Ferguson, both freelance photographers for The New York Times, as well as Patrick Brown of Panos Pictures and Toby Melville of Reuters.
Mr. Schemidt made the winning image while covering anti-government protests. When a Molotov cocktail hit a Venezuelan National Guard motorcycle, a demonstrator kicked the bike, which then exploded.Mr. Schemidt turned as a nearby protestor was set ablaze, and he started photographing immediately.
“I wasn't thinking anything in particular at the moment because everything happened so quickly,” he said in a phone interview today.“It was afterward that I was shocked when I realized I saw a man burning.”
Magdalena Herrera, director of photography at Geo France and jury chair, described the winning image as “a classical photo of resistance that is visually striking and has energy.” Mr. Schemidt’s frame was distinctive, she said, and a stronger single image than anyby his colleague Mr. Barretto.