The photo series “Thoughts of Flight” by Fereshteh Eslahi received third prize in the 2021 sports stories category, while Newsha Tavakolian’s single photo “Ceremony to Mourn Qasem Soleimani in Tehran” won third prize in the General News section.
Eslahi’s series depicts Saeid Ramin, a former professional traceur – a practitioner of parkour – who lives in the Iranian town of Gachsaran. He fell in a parkour competition seven years ago, injuring the spinal cord in his neck. His injury when he fell was so severe that he could only blink and doctors said he wouldn’t even be able to sit in a wheelchair. Saeid couldn’t afford extended hospital treatment, but with the help of his family, he improvised rehabilitation equipment in his yard, and despite the doctors’ predictions, was able to regain the mobility of his hands. Saeid regained more of his abilities and is now able to manage a wheelchair. He still likes to do things other people are afraid of.
Eslahi is a graduate of the University of Tehran with a master’s degree in theater art and has been working as a photojournalist with Iranian news agencies since 2014.
Newsha Tavakolian’s single photo shows women mourning during a commemoration service for Lieutenant-General Qassem Soleimani in Tehran on 4 January 2020 just one day after his assassination.
Tavakolian is a self-taught photojournalist and documentary photographer, working with Magnum Photos.
General Soleimani was assassinated along with a number of his comrades at Baghdad airport in a U.S. airstrike. Millions of Iranians attended his funeral ceremonies. The Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei called him a living martyr of the revolution before his assassination.
“The First Embrace”, a single photo by Danish photographer Mads Nissen, was named World Press Photo of the Year.
The photo shows 85-year-old Rosa Luzia Lunardi, who is embraced by a nurse, at Viva Bem care home, São Paulo, Brazil.
This was the first hug Rosa had received in five months. In March, care homes across the country had closed their doors to all visitors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing millions of Brazilians from visiting their elderly relatives. Carers were ordered to keep physical contact with the vulnerable to an absolute minimum. At Viva Bem, a simple invention, ‘The Hug Curtain', allowed people to hug each other once again.
“Habibi”, photo series by Italian photographer Antonio Faccilongo was the winner of the World Press Photo Story of the Year award.
The photo series tells the story of Palestinian Nael Al-Barghouthi, who was arrested in 1978 after an anti-Israel commando operation. He was released in 2011, married Iman Nafi, but re-arrested in 2014, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He has spent more than 40 years in prison—the longest-serving Palestinian inmate in Israeli jails. Meantime his wife keeps all her husband’s clothes and belongings in place in their home in Kobar, near Ramallah, Palestine.
The winners of the World Press Photo of the Year and the World Press Photo Story of the Year awards receive prizes of €5,000 each.