World Press Photo 2009 – Anthony Suau wins premier award

World Press Photo 2009 – The Winner

The international jury of the 52nd annual World Press Photo Contest have selected a black-and-white image by American photographer Anthony Suau as World Press Photo of the Year 2008.

The picture shows an armed officer of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department moving through a home in Cleveland, Ohio, following eviction as a result of mortgage foreclosure. Officers have to ensure that the house is clear of weapons, and that the residents have moved out. The winning photograph, taken in March 2008, is part of a story commissioned by Time magazine. The story as a whole won Second Prize in the Daily Life category of the contest.

Jury chair MaryAnne Golon said: “The strength of the picture is in its opposites. It’s a double entendre. It looks like a classic conflict photograph, but it is simply the eviction of people from a house following foreclosure. Now war in its classic sense is coming into people’s houses because they can’t pay their mortgages.

Fellow juror Akinbode Akinbiyi commented: “It is a very ambiguous image. You have to go into it to find out what it is. Then all over the world people will be thinking ‘this is what is happening to all of us’.”

Juror Ayperi Ecer said: “We have something here which visually is both clear and complex…It’s not about issues – 2008 is the year of the end of a dominant economic system. We need a new language, to learn how to illustrate our lives.”

The jury gave prizes in 10 theme categories to 63 photographers of 27 nationalities from: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, El Salvador, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and USA.

A total of 96,268 photographs were submitted to be judged, representing an increase of 19.5% since last year. The number of participants was also a record, a total of 5,508 photographers sent in their work, which is a rise of 9.7% compared to 2008.

The participants represent 124 different nationalities. Entries by photographers from Asia increased by 14% from last year, photographers from China and India leading the numbers, with 490 (2008: 400) and 208 (2008: 165) participants respectively. European photographers are traditionally strongly represented in the contest. This year there were significant increases in the number of photographers from certain countries, such as Italy with 306 (251) and Poland with 104 (81).

The members of the 2009 jury were:

MaryAnne Golon, USA, consulting photography editor

Akinbode Akinbiyi, Nigeria, photographer, writer and curator
Patrick Baz, France/Lebanon, regional photo-manager, the Middle East, Agence France-Presse
Peter Bialobrzeski, Germany, photographer Laif
Olivier Culmann, France, photographer Tendance Floue
Erin Elder, Canada, digital media manager The Globe and Mail
Per Folkver, Denmark, photo editor in chief Politiken
David Friend, USA, editor of creative development Vanity Fair
Ayperi Karabuda Ecer, Sweden/Turkey, vice president pictures Reuters
Volker Lensch, Germany, head of photo department Stern
Ricardo Mazalan, Argentina, photographer The Associated Press
Arianna Rinaldo, Italy, photo editor D La Repubblica delle Donne and editor-in-chief OjodePez
Sujong Song, South Korea, freelance photo editor

Daphné Anglès, France/USA, European picture coordinator The New York Times
Stephen Mayes, UK, managing director VII Photo Agency
Anthony Suau, USA, for Time

Anthony Suau, the author of the World Press Photo of the Year 2008, will receive his award during an awards ceremony in Amsterdam on Sunday 2 May 2009. The award also carries a cash prize of 10,000 euro. In addition, Canon will donate Anthony Suau a Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera.

The awards ceremony is preceded by a three-day program of lectures, discussions and screenings of photography. The exhibition of prizewinners will be shown at the Oude Kerk from 4 May to 28 June and will subsequently visit over 100 locations around the world. For a provisional exhibition schedule see:

World Press Photo receives support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery and is sponsored worldwide by Canon and TNT.

Editors please note:
A selection of the winning images is available on our online press download area Please register once for access.

Please contact Ms. Sasja de Bie or Viktor Malafeev at or tel:+31 (0)20 676 6096, for additional information and requests for interviews with jury members and/or winners.

The complete gallery:


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